By virtually all standards, including his own, Emperor Maximilian II (1527�1576) was a failure. His challenges were many, his achievements few. So Paula Sutter Fichtner begins the introduction to this book, the first full biography in English of Maximilian. The Habsburg leader, though gifted, was never able to drive the Turks from Hungary, rationalize his government, or reunite Christendom or even its German components. By bringing the failures of Maximilian�s reign into clear focus, Fichtner illuminates the abilities and qualities of this complex man as well as the weaknesses of the expanded Habsburg empire and the problems of ruling in an age of confessional turmoil. Fichtner examines the dynamics of military, institutional, cultural, and family affairs in the early modern Habsburg empire and considers the reasons why Maximilian was unable to shape them to his own purposes. She describes a man of tolerant disposition who allowed Protestants free exercise of their religion yet struggled both publicly and privately with the difficult religious currents of his time. From her extensive research in the primary sources, she provides a fresh portrait of Maximilian, his role in Reformation history, and his era of war, religious division, political conflict, and administrative stress.
Author Biography: Paula Sutter Fichtner is professor of history emerita from Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of Protestantism and Primogeniture in Early Modern Germany, published by Yale University Press.