Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ten top books about Austria-Hungary

Sean McMeekin is an assistant professor of history at Koç University. His latest book is July 1914: Countdown to War.

At the Guardian, McMeekin named a top ten list of books about Austria-Hungary, including:
The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig

Sent off to the publisher from Brazil the day before Zweig and his wife killed themselves, this is one of history's most moving suicide notes. Although composed against the backdrop of Nazi ascendancy (roughly from 1934 to 1942), which forced the Jewish Zweig into exile, the author's real elegy is for the Austria-Hungary of 1914, before the Great War wrecked its civilisation and Europe's alongside it (Zweig, a pacifist, spent the war in Switzerland). Similar in spirit to Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, Zweig mostly avoids sentimentality, which is remarkable in the circumstances. A wonderful memoir, which perfectly captures the textures and rhythms of life in the Dual Monarchy. One can almost taste the strudel.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue