Saturday, June 10, 2017

European RC #7

I read this book for the European Reading Challenge

A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889 - Frederic Morton

This popular history tells the sad story of Crown Prince Rudolf and Mary Vetsera, but also describes the ups and downs of Viennese luminaries such as Theodor Herzl, Emperor Franz Joseph, Gustav Klimt, Johann Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Arthur Schnitzler, Hugo Wolf, Sigmund Freud, Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner not to mention the horrible Kaiser Wilhelm and Rudolf Schonerer. Especially interesting is the author’s overview of cultural malaise of fin de si├Ęcle Vienna. The author is first a novelist, so the literary touches may trouble lovers of footnotes and skeptics who ask “How do you know what he was thinking.” But the pleasant style and lively anecdotes are easy to read on a summer day, if that is one’s mood. This was rated as one of 10 best books about the Austro-Hungarian Empire in that cool Top 10 series by the Guardian. Any reader looking to broaden her cultural knowledge will be pleased by this book.

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