- Series: Works of Joseph Roth
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: The Overlook Press; 3rd Print edition (August 1, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1585673269
- ISBN-13: 978-1585673261
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 139 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $4.89 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Radetzky March (Works of Joseph Roth) Paperback – August 1, 2002
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Epic . . . brilliantly achieved.”
- The New York Times
“A masterpiece . . . The totality of Joseph Roth's work is no less than a tragédie humaine achieved in the techniques of modern fiction. No other contemporary writer, not excepting Thomas Mann, has come close to achieving the wholeness . . . that Lukács cites as our impossible aim.”
- Nadine Gordimer
“One of the most readable, poignant, and superb novels in twentieth-century German: it stands with the best of Thomas Mann, Alfred Döblin, and Robert Musil.”
- Harold Bloom
“Deeply moving . . . in terms of an evocation of a certain mindset and a certain feeling of estrangement, it's really great.”
- Jennifer Szalai, The Book Review podcast by the New York Times
“One of the best books I've ever read. This is one I'll be thinking about for a long time. . . . The story it tells is a universal one . . . It is a story about the effect of time on all human institutions and ways of seeing the world. It's impossible to read Radetzky without wondering if our own liberal democratic institutions and ways of ordering our experiences are declining as surely as the Austro-Hungarian monarchy . . . This is going to be a book that takes time to absorb. I cannot recommend it to you strongly enough.”
- Rod Dreher, The American Conservative
“A nostalgic yet deeply moving portrait of a decaying civilization.”
- The Federalist (named a Notable Book of the year)
About the Author
Joseph Roth was born in 1894 in a small Galician town on the eastern borders of the Hapsburg Empire. After serving in the Austro-Hungarian army from 1916 to 1918, he worked as a journalist in Vienna and in Berlin. He died in Paris in 1939, leaving behind thirteen novels as well as many stories and essays.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
o Joseph Trotta: an obscure officer in the infantry with a peasant background who, through a quirk of fate, saves the life of the Emperor. In response, the Emperor elevates Trotta to the nobility and a sinecure in government. But this Trotta is uncomfortable with his apotheosis to national hero, which is a distortion and glamorization of a simple and spontaneous deed.
o Franz Trotta: This Trotta, the beneficiary of his father’s fame and position, is a stuffy but respected civil servant in a small town and embodies the style and methods of the Empire. He is a true believer in both its social codes and well-ordered and hierarchical society. He means well. But he eventually regrets subsuming his responsibilities as a father within his role of government executive.
o Carl Joseph Trotta. The grandson and son, Carl is a lieutenant in the army in the waning days of the Empire. Through Carl’s life, a reader sees how the heroic codes and style of the Empire that his grandfather resisted and that his father embodied have calcified into dangerous nonsense and an obsolete political system that cannot survive.
In telling this generational story, Roth focuses on the relationship between Franz and his dutiful son, who tries but fails to find a fulfilling role in the Austro-Hungarian system. The scion Carl is a slightly passive but normal young man who has reckless, but still normal, adventures with sex and alcohol. But, from the start, Carl isn’t really up to his remote father’s expectations.
Roth uses a three-part structure in TRM to explore the dilemmas of young Carl Trotta. In the first, he shows the demoralized Carl growing up and trying to find a place in his father’s rigid world. The brilliant Roth ends this section with a tragic demonstration of the obsolete social codes of the Empire. In Part-Two, Roth transfers the innocent but louche Carl to a remote outpost near the Russian border, where alcohol, gambling, and an improbable affair nearly destroy him but also help him find his way. Part-Two ends with a show of the doddering Kaiser, still enjoying the pageantry of the army, operating as the head of state. In Part-Three, Roth shows a great social event that Carl’s military superiors think will both alleviate the boredom of a remote posting and affirm the stature of the army. Instead, this great event inadvertently reveals the divisions in the crumbling Empire, as the Great War, cold-blooded and arbitrary in Roth’s hands, begins.
Roth writes with lots of insight, is funny, and creates very rich sentences and descriptions. The dilemmas of his characters are fully persuasive and tied seamlessly into a great historical web, where their choices range from admirable to futile. THE RADETZKY MARCH, BTW, ends with a fabulous twist, which suggests that the Trotta clan was, in a way, a curse on the Empire.
This is a tremendous novel and maybe a masterpiece. Highly recommended.
Roth skillfully traces how the noble family grows weaker and weaker in terms of discipline and upholding the old standards. So, as the Empire declines, so too do the von Trottas personally. The principal character is Carl Joseph who goes from a disciplined young man into one undergoing several crises, just as the Empire is facing its challenges. As a military officer, he is stuck out near the Russian border where the main activity of his regiment's officers is drinking and gambling themselves into debt. Roth's point is that the paralysis of such regiments is a prime reason the impact of war was so devastating.
Interestingly, many wonder how the polyglot Empire could survive from 1867-1918, and especially under Franz Joseph. Ironically, from the novel's perspective, Franz Joseph was the principal reason this diverse collection of various races and cultures remained loyal; all amazingly worshiped the Emperor and his ineffective administration. But as war approaches this weakened government, Roth shows how nationalism and pressures for more economic equality undermined even the affection for Franz Joseph. As one character well puts it, the Empire "is disintegrating while still alive."
So Roth traces parallel disintegration in the family with that afflicting the Empire of which it is a tiny part. Failure to obey the rules and uphold the old values is a disease at both levels. Franz Joseph has become "an old man from an old era," as things spin out of control, just as Carl Joseph's personal world explodes. It is no surprise that things fall flat when war comes--how could it be otherwise with the extent of personal and institutional rot present? Roth continues the saga in "The Emperor's Tomb (1938), which I intend to read next. Incidentally, Nadine Gordimer has contributed a helpful introduction to the book.
At the center of the novel is the aimless and dissolute Carl Joseph, who know he is unable to live up to his father's plans for him and so loses himself in alcoholism, gambling, and illicit love affairs. Yet Carl Joseph is not an unsympathetic figure, merely a weak one. Roth's great gift is to make Carl Joseph's world seem at once very distant from us and utterly familiar, so perfect are the details of setting and psychological characterization.
This novel is one of the great ones. It is right up there with Tanizaki's "The Makioka Sisters" in its rendering of a world about to disappear forever.