- Unknown Binding
- Publisher: Woodstock (1995) (1995)
- ASIN: B00507LGPQ
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,306,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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THE RADETZKY MARCH
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Top Customer Reviews
Roth's masterpiece touches us as he deftly depicts the disillusionment that inevitably replaces the once-elevated code of honor of an outdated Empire. The book's style, that of an omniscient author reminiscent of nineteenth-century aesthetics, complements its subject. Here is a glimpse of a world where military and social rank dictate behavior, where women are seductresses regardless of social pretenses, where servants are endowed with unquestioning loyalty, where Jews live on the fringes of society yet must also subscribe to its rigorous decorum. Yet, as the exploits of the youngest von Trotta illustrate, this world has become decadent in its rigidity.
For the von Trottas, as for the Hapsburgs themselves, this discovery comes at a time when one cannot escape its consequences. For it is the rhythms of the Radetsky March, along with the portrait of the Hero of Solferino (whose heroism is not all that it was made out to be) that shaped even the youngest von Trotta and remain forever in the background, preventing a return to the family's peasant heritage and the romanticism of a more idyllic existence.
Roth's book is well worth the read. It is especially endowed with a gentle irony that bespeaks compassion without indulging in sentimentality. For those of us still trying to understand what formed the Western world of the twentieth century, it abounds with all the poignant music, imagery, and people of pre-World War I conditions in Eastern Europe.
Written in wonderfully deft and gently ironic prose, it chronicles three generations of a peasant family raised to the aristocracy through a heroic act. By choosing such protagonists, Roth is able to successfully contrast the naive, innocent faith in the monarchy of the Trottas against the actual moral and social collapse of AH society.
However, unlike many a novelist, while Roth clearly understands why citizens grew disillusioned with pre-WW I society, he also notes the price paid by those who are disillusioned. Thus, while all the flaws of Viennese society are decried (corruption, anti-Semitism, incompetence), Roth evokes a genuine sympathy for a time when faith in society still existed.
As the 20th century has been a perpetual and--given communism, fascism, nationalism et al.--failed search for some way to reconstruct the myths that held society together (which were destroyed by WW I), Roth's novel is as timely as ever.
Treat yourself to this sad, touching novel which should be far better know than it is. Roth is one novelist who saw and understood.
The Overlook version, however, has a few small flaws. The translation can sometimes be rough, although it is generally very fine. Neugroschel, the translator, leaves some words untranslated and makes some uncharacteristic translation errors. A "Rittmeister" was a captain in the Austro-Hungarian calvary, which few people would know. His soldiers play a card game called "tarot." This is not correct. As most readers know, tarot cards are a fortune-telling device. "Tarok" (with a "k") was the most popular card game among the Austrian elite in the 19th century. The editors also mislabeled the title of the cover photo, leaving out the "Franz" in "Franz Joseph I."
Moreover, the introduction by Nadine Gordimer can be a distraction. Ms. Gordimer may be a Nobel Prize winner, but she is not a scholar of pre-World War I Austria or of Austrian literature. Her introduction is merely one writer's musings on another writer. It might enhance one's understanding if one has never heard of Roth before. For those who do know him, it says nothing new.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Profound and important 20th century novel, will add to your sense of what happened and why.Published 2 months ago by Margaret Boe Birns
Follows the rise and decline of an east European family amid the final decay of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Beautiful and insightful descriptions of moments and personalities.Published 3 months ago by E. D. B. 3
In the awesome THE RADETZKY MARCH, Joseph Roth uses males in three successive generations of the Trotta family to examine the social and military ethos of the Austro-Hungarian... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ethan Cooper
Its a historical novel, written by someone who lived during those times. It probably gives one a greater idea of exactly what life was like during the last days of the Hapsburg... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Carl J. Mistlebauer
Rarely do I put a book down after getting 2/3 through it, but this was the exception. The characters were flat and pathetic. Read morePublished 8 months ago by LiveLaughLove
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 13 months ago by Ira Springer