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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.
The final years of the Hapsburg dynasty juxtaposed against the lives of the Trotta family.
Before WW1, the Royal families of Europe could not foresee the growing discontent of... Read more
A fantastic book, although quite depressing. With as much human and historical interest as any of the great war novels, like "War and Peace. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Arthur L.
The slow and tedious pace of garrison military life pre WWI is depicted as an influence on the society and attitudes of the time. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Robert E. Kain
Actually, this book is a reminder of the outbreak of the first world war in 1914. The people have changed, but the human remains as it always was. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Hans Alfred Loeffler
Characters are all 2 dimensional. Good flavor of the times. Dialogue not believable. Perhaps his reputation comes from other books.Published 3 months ago by PERRY HOOKMAN
Unusual stories of the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire as experienced by minor members of the military establishment. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jean T.
story of a military family in the era of Emperor Franz Josef, bound by custom, class loyalty and love of country.
A sweeping, evocative and unsparing historical portrayal
I can see why The Radetsky March , written by Joseph Roth in 1932, is regarded as a masterpiece. The author’s writing is truly poetic with touches of irony and trenchant... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bonzo
This book came highly recommended by many. After reading it, I'll be more careful trusting those who urged it on me.Published 8 months ago by JGC1010