Summary: Because its alliances were fragile, its purposes obscure, and its results broadly disappointing, the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) is often treated—in contrast to the significant struggles of 1701-13, 1756-63, and 1791-1815—as one of those less consequential conflicts that kept bedeviling Europe between 1648 and 1815. However, there are reasons for looking past the confusions over its alliances, its purposes, and its fruits, and in the process Dr. Browning will argue that, for Europe itself (and disregarding the world of empires), the War of the Austrian Succession was a signally important continental conflict, blocking the hegemonic ambitions of France, inaugurating the era of German dualism, bringing political stability to Italy, and foreshadowing the coming age of democratic revolutions.
Reed Browning was born in 1938 in New York City. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. He also studied at the University of Vienna. He taught at Amherst College from 1964 to 1967 and then spent forty years teaching at Kenyon College. He retired in 2007. During his years at Kenyon he served stints as provost and (more briefly) as acting president. He is the author of three books on British/European history—The Duke of Newcastle (1975), Political and Constitutional Ideas of the Court Whigs (1982), and The War of the Austrian Succession (1994); and he has written two books on baseball history—Cy Young: A Baseball Life (2000) and Baseball’s Greatest Season: 1924 (2003). Mr. Browning lives with his wife Susan in Granville, Ohio.