A Vienna reading list

Compiled by George Graham Trask
November 10, 2013

This list is the result of requests made of me by various attendees at our IES 1959-64 Vienna Reunion in late October 2013. I thank my friends who have suggested many of these titles. Titles with an asterisk are ones I have read. Titles with links are ones I can especially recommend to you.

General History:

The Austrians: A Thousand-Year Odyssey, by Gordon Brook-Shepherd.

The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans, and the Battle for Europe, by Andrew Wheatcroft.

The Siege of Vienna: The Last Great Trial Between Cross & Crescent, by John Stoye.

Mozart in Vienna, 1781-1791, by Volkmar Braunbehrens.

Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna, by Adam Zamoyski.

Vienna, 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna, by David King.

*A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888-1889 by Frederic Morton.

*Fin-De-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture, by Carl E. Schorske.

The Habsburgs, by Andrew Wheatcroft.

Twilight of the Habsburgs: The Life and Times of Emperor Francis Joseph, by Alan Palmer.

*The Radetzky March, by Joseph Roth.

*The Vertigo Years: Europe, 1900-1914, by Philipp Blom.

*Thunder At Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914 by Frederic Morton.

*The Long Fuse: An Interpretation of the Origins of World War I, by Laurence Lafore.

The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World, by Greg King and Sue Woolmans.

The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914, by Margaret MacMillan.

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914, by Christopher Clark.

July 1914: Countdown to War, by Sean McMeekin.

*The Economic Consequences of the Peace, by John Maynard Keynes.

*Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age, by Modris Eksteins.

*Before the Deluge: A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, by Otto Friedrich. Not about Vienna, but essential to understanding the era.

*The Setting of the Pearl: Vienna under Hitler, by Thomas Wyer.

*After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation, by Giles MacDonogh.

Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II, by Keith Lowe.

Understanding Vienna: Pathways into the City, by Heinz Fassmann, Gerhard Hatz and Joseph Patrouch.

Vienna: The Past in the Present, written by two scholars long associated with IES Wien, Inge Lehne and Lonnie Johnson.

History of Jews in Vienna and elsewhere in Europe:

The Jews of Vienna, 1867-1914: Assimilation and Identity, by Marsha L. Rozenblit.

Vienna and the Jews, 1867-1938: A Cultural History, by Steven Beller.

On the Eve: The Jews of Europe Before the Second World War, by Bernard Wasserstein.

*Hitler in Vienna, 1907-1913: Clues to the Future, by J. Sydney Jones.

*Hitler’s Vienna: A Portrait of the Tyrant as a Young Man, by Brigitte Hamann.

*Hitler’s Private Library: The Books that Shaped his Life, by Timothy W. Ryback.

*The World of Yesterday: An Autobiography, by Stefan Zweig,

The Vienna Paradox: A Memoir by Marjorie Perloff.

Last Waltz in Vienna: The Destruction of a Family, 1842-1942, by George Clare.

Alma Rose: Vienna to Auschwitz, by Richard Newman and Karen Kirtley.

Fugitive Pieces: A Novel, by Anne Michaels.

Everything is Illuminated: A Novel, by Jonathan Safran Foer.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak.

Lost Lives, Lost Art: Jewish Collectors, Nazi Art Theft, and the Quest for Justice, by Melissa Muller, Monica Tatzkow and Ronald Lauder.

A Century of Wisdom: Lessons from the Life of Alice Herz-Sommer, the World’s Oldest Living Holocaust Survivor by Caroline Stoessinger and Vaclav Havel.

*The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance, by Edmund de Waal.

*Good Living Street: The Fortunes of my Viennese Family, by Tim Bonyhady.

*The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million, by Daniel Mendelsohn. This is a profound look at what happened.

*Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy, by Viktor E. Frankl. A concentration-camp survivor who became a world-famous psychiatrist, he taught us this subject at IES in 1961.

*Vienna’s Conscience: Close-Ups and Conversations after Hitler, by Richard Winter, Susan Winter Balk and Gregory Weeks. I especially recommend this book for what it reveals about modern-day antisemitism in Vienna.

Art and Architecture:

*The City as a Work of Art: London, Paris, Vienna (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), by Donald J. Olsen.

*Vienna: Art and Architecture by Rolf Toman, Achim Bednorz and Gerald Zugmann. This is the definitive work on this subject, covering Viennese art and architecture from the beginning to the present.

*Sacred Spring: God and the Birth of Modernism in Fin de Siecle Vienna, by Robert Weldon Whalen.

*The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, by Anne-Marie O’Connor.

Vienna 1900: Klimt, Schiele, and Their Times: A Total Work of Art by Christian Meyer, Franz Smola, Beate Susanne Wehr and Barbara Steffen.

The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, from Vienna 1900 to the Present, by Eric Kandel.


*The Third Man, a 1949 British movie, starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli and Trevor Howard, is considered to be one of the greatest film noirs of all times with scenes we remember of Vienna in 1961 and haunting zither music.

*Before Sunrise, a 1995 U.S. movie, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, is a romantic classic that has spawned two sequels, *Before Sunset (2004) and *Before Midnight (2013). A young man and woman meet on a train and wind up spending one evening in conversation together in Vienna. The sequels tell what happened afterwards in nine-year intervals.

Web sites:

*Links to numerous relevant web pages about Vienna:

*The rise of Adolf Hitler: Hitler is Homeless in Vienna

*About Karl Lueger

*History of the Jews in Vienna

*Jews in the Land of the Waltz: Jewish Vienna, by Judie Fein

*Vienna street named for anti-Semitic mayor (Karl Lueger) renamed

Vienna: Can a city come to terms with its past?

*Austria’s Jews wary of quiet rise in anti-Semitism, New York Daily News

Resistance in the Third Reich:

What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-1933, by Joseph Roth

*In the Garden of Beasts, by Erik Larson.

*Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra, the Life and Death of an American Woman in Nazi Germany, by Shareen Blair Brysac.

*The Red Orchestra: The Soviet Spy Network inside Nazi Europe, by V.E. Tarrant.

*Red Orchestra: The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends who Resisted Hitler, by Anne Nelson.

*Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, by Annette Dumback and Jud Newborn.


One thought on “A Vienna reading list”

  1. Fantastic bib, George, thanks a lot! And thanks again for a wonderful extended weekend in Wien. I always knew that Vienna had great music. In October, I discovered it has a juicy history as well. Here’s encouraging all alums to return to a city that has not lost its charm and beauty. If anything, it’s better than ever!

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