A definitve biography of the tragic and romantic empress, in its exhaustive study of every bit of evidence and every angle of her life and interests. Gossip and hearsay are weighed and the truth, in so far as possible, presented. From the childhood -- natural, happy -- to the tumultuous wooing of the young emperor who was supposed to woo her sister; through the bitter years of her struggle with her mother-in-law's jealousy and insistence on her rights; through her gallant fight for the Hungarians; through her reluctance to take as active a part as demanded of her in Austrian and court affair -- one gets a picture of a tragic figure, hewing out a rough road for herself, broken at the end. The substance is all there -- unfortunately the telling seems somewhat pedantic and lacking fire. There is singular lack of colorful ""costume biography"" this season -- this should help fill that need.