Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914

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Vienna in 1913 was the place to be – the center of the world. Anyone who was anyone wanted to be there, and was – politicians, aristocrats, artists, revolutionaries. Freud, Trotsky, Lenin, and Hitler all rubbed elbows in this cultural milieu. At the head were the Austrian emperor, Franz Joseph, and the Archduke Franz Ferdinand; assorted generals and officials rounded out the mix, each with his own, frequently competing agenda. Although all seemed glitz and glamor, the Austrian empire was decaying, breaking apart; the aristocracy desperately tried to ignore the problems with frenetic attention to insignificant details. World War I was the result.

This is an interesting facet of World War I history. Concentrating specifically on Vienna gives insight into the warring personalities that led to the ultimate breakdown of the empire. The intriguing focus on the Archduke’s wife Sophie holds her as a model for the rot at Austria’s core: just as the aristocracy refused to recognize her (as she was not from the ‘right family’), they refused to recognize the need for governmental changes for the common people. The book moves quickly and brings together many different but salient threads of history in an insightful and novel way; it’s an important addition to World War I scholarship.


Reviewed By:

Author Frederic Morton
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 416 pages
Publisher Da Capo Press
Publish Date 2014-Mar-25
ISBN 9780306823268
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2014
Category History
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