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ODU History Professor Maura Hametz Co-Authors Bestselling Book

By Jessica Ambrose

Academic writing and bestsellers do not usually go hand in hand.

This is not the case, however, for Old Dominion University history professor Maura Hametz and Heidi Schlipphacke, who previously worked at ODU in the world languages and literatures department.

They co-authored the book "Sissi's World," which sold out in record time and earned the No. 1 spot in recent releases in European literature on Amazon for four days. Though it was released in July, the book is still being printed and sold on demand, and a paperback version set to be released next year.

"Sissi's World" follows the life and legacy of Habsburg Empress Elisabeth of Austria, one of the most popular women in European history. It explores her life and the fascination with the empress, who was born a Bavarian duchess in 1837. The book is comprised of essays that bring together of scholarly perspectives on her life and memory.

Despite being a scholarly book, the success of "Sissi's World" stems from from the stardom and glamour of the empress' life. Much like contemporary times, there was a preoccupation with glitz and glamour, and the empress does not disappoint. The book examines her fame and charisma, and their association with leadership throughout time.

"Heidi and I were attracted to it because of Sissi's understudied fame - the ubiquitous popular images of her and exhibits dedicated to her," Hametz said.

Though she was popular, the empress wasn't well-studied in scholarly literature and writings, something Hametz and Schlipphacke set out to rectify.

The book is still available for purchase on Amazon and Bloomsbury.com.

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