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He had been driven from the paradise of simple faith in Emperor and Virtue, Truth, and Justice, and, now fettered in silence and endurance, he may have realized that the stability of the world, the power of laws, and the glory of majesties were all based on deviousness.As World War I approaches and the monarchy's limitations become apparent, Trotta's son and grandson become even further removed from this paradise. They continue to follow the codes of honor and duty, though such behavioral guides become pointless, even burdensome, in a world shorn of simple faith in an emperor. Trotta's grandson Carl Joseph finds his military career overwhelmed by bad horsemanship, alcohol dependency, frivolous roulette and baccarat debts, and misguided love affairs--the kinds of flaws, he thinks, that are inevitable without the self-assurance and practical knowledge that he would have gained had he earned (rather than inherited) his position. Not long ago, he thinks wistfully, his family lived as peasants "in dwarfed huts, making their wives fertile by night and their fields by day." It is here that the Trottas' demise is at its most poignant, as the focus of the narrative shifts from the loss of status to the far more devastating loss of purpose.
In both style and temperament, Roth's novel stands between the 19th and 20th centuries, and the three Trottas could be seen as part of a progression that stretches back to Tolstoy's Prince Andrei and looks ahead to the Mathieu of Sartre's Les Chemins de la Liberté trilogy. Although The Radetzky March illustrates why the monarchy was doomed, and isn't blind to the new nations and ideologies on the horizon, Roth is more interested in his characters' psychology than their politics. And their central difficulty--the bewildering meaninglessness that follows the dissolution of an ideal--has been a fundamental 20th-century dilemma. The Trottas are, in Roth's stunning phrase, "homesick for the Kaiser." One need only substitute "the Chairman" or "Marxism" or "God" to understand the novel's lasting resonance. --John Ponyicsanyi --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Evocation of a time and place-of the end of a culture; a society-the omen and then crashing entry to the twentieth century of bloody nationalism, war, and genocide. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ira Springer
The novel Radetsky March by Joseph Roth is an intimate depiction of the cultural milieu of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from the Battle of Solferino (1859) to the beginning of The... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Stephen Schwartz
Well written and a fast read. Having just traveled to the areas of Eastern Europe where the Hapsburg reigned, it gave me great insight into the end of their dynasty and the start... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Albert Evans
This book and its sequel are classics of Central European historical fiction. I cannot say enough about the work other than to state that it languishes in a shadow of which it... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Curious
This man can write! The subject matter is the end of the Hapsburg Empire, but I was carried along by the richness of the prose. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Joel Marks
Well written interesting perspective on life amidst the Austrian upper class military leading up to WW I.Published 7 months ago by MBW66
Brilliant portrait of another time through the lens of a family experiencing the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Want to read more of his work. Highly recommend!Published 7 months ago by davidson