Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914

Frederic Morton


Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914

Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914

  • Title: Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914
  • Author: Frederic Morton
  • ISBN: 9780020353003
  • Page: 178
  • Format: Paperback



Thunder at Twilight is a landmark of historical vision, drawing on hitherto untapped sources to illuminate two crucial years in the life of the extraordinary city of Vienna and in the life of the twentieth century It was during the carnival of 1913 that a young Stalin arrived on a mission that would launch him into the upper echelon of Russian revolutionaries, and it wasThunder at Twilight is a landmark of historical vision, drawing on hitherto untapped sources to illuminate two crucial years in the life of the extraordinary city of Vienna and in the life of the twentieth century It was during the carnival of 1913 that a young Stalin arrived on a mission that would launch him into the upper echelon of Russian revolutionaries, and it was here that he first collided with Trotsky It was in Vienna that the failed artist Adolf Hitler kept daubing watercolors and spouting tirades at fellow drifters in a flophouse Here Archduke Franz Ferdinand had a troubled audience with Emperor Franz Joseph and soon the bullet that killed the archduke would set off the Great War that would kill ten million With luminous prose that has twice made him a finalist for the National Book Award, Frederic Morton evokes the opulent, elegant, incomparable sunset metropolis Vienna on the brink of cataclysm.


Recent Comments "Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914"

The book was OK and in giving it two stars I am not criticizing the historical facts presented, but I question some of the conclusions drawn. The book ends with an afterword of sweeping generalizations about the behavior of humanity. This pushed my tentative three-star rating down to two. I found the language of the book pretty rather than clear. In a book of non-fiction I am looking for clarity. All too often I would ask myself what the author was trying to say. The lines are filled with innuen [...]

I can think of few other books, save Edmund Wilson's To the Finland Station and Andrei Biely's St. Petersburg, that so brilliantly captured the spirit of a time, bringing key figures to life and recreating a vibrant sense of being there. In this case the scene is Vienna, on the eve of the Great War. I was captivated.In part this may have been because Thunder at Twilight was the antithesis of the rather dry biography I'd just finished (The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh by Linda Colley). Where Colley [...]

This is the kind of history book where you can't really tell how much creative liberty the author is taking. A character will do something like "walk into the early morning sunshine, the day's newspaper tucked under his arm, whistling a tune from the latest opera that has been all the rage in cafe conversation." While this makes for a fun and readable narrative, it does make me feel kind of suspicious the whole time. That being said, the author does a very good job of creating a mood, and I actu [...]

"Thunder At Twilight" is not the only book Frederic Morton has written about Vienna. The other book, "A Nervous Splendor", preceded this book, and deals with the years 1888/1889. In many ways, this book is a continuation of "A Nervous Splendor", so for completeness sake, I would definitely recommend "A Nervous Splendor" as well, but "Thunder At Twilight" can easily be read as a stand-alone book, too.Both books are incredibly similar. They deal with two years out of the lives of prominent Vienna [...]

I read this book sometime around my final year in college and my first year in grad school. I loved it.The list of characters who were in Vienna in 1913 and 1914 is amazing: Hitler, Stalin, Trotsky, Lenin, Freud, Carl Jung, Tito, and of course the Austrian rulers (Franz Joseph and Franz Ferdinand) and the assassin of the latter.Freud by this time was an old man; he had made his contribution to civilization, and now was involved in a struggle against his former student, Jung, over the development [...]

I have a fixation with the years leading up to WWI. The idealism of the pre-war years reminds me of the late 1960s - the progressives honestly believed that they were going to change the world - not in decades, but NOW! They believed in equality for all, but were engulfed by a larger desire for nationalism, racial hate, and grand leaders. The War ended all a certain type of idealism, and that type of decentralized, leaderless idealism went underground until the 60s.This book has all of that AND [...]

This was my third time reading this book, and it was just as marvelous as I recalled. In the 1930s, Frederic Morton's family fled Vienna to escape the Nazis, but during the 19th century, they were good Jewish subjects of the Habsburg Monarchy--in fact, Morton's family owned a factory that stamped out Habsburg military decorations. The book covers Vienna in the two years just before the outbreak of the First World War. Naturally, one of the prime subjects is the Heir to the Throne (Thronfolger), [...]

The second time I've read this book. The author has a real gift for evoking the politics and culture of Vienna in 1913-14, where not only the empire's rulers but the nascent communist movement leaders, Hitler and Freud all reside. Morton (the author) describes the events leading to the asassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a young Serbian disgruntled by the Austro-Hungarian empire's rule over his country. You see how the personalities involved, as well as the geopolitical balance of power [...]

This stuff is too good for fiction! It's difficult to imagine so much going on in one city at one time, but that's the beauty of history for you, and Morton tells it with a wonderful sense of style. Ultimately, the book focuses on the Austria-Serbia conflict that mushroomed into WWI, but interjected into it comes the Freud-Jung fallout, spy scandals, struggles within the Austrian aristocracy, Karl Kraus' poignant social writings, and the burgeoning careers of the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, [...]

I can't think of a book that better captures an era than this one. It reads like a novel and captures the decadence and evil underbelly of the world's most cosmopolitan city before World War I. There's Jung & Freud battling it out, Hitler failing as an artist & dodging the German draft; Lenin & Trotsky & Stalin skulking about; the Kaiser & and the Emperor doing their tap dances; the operas and the actors; the war-mad generals and the pacifist, angry Crown Prince; the poverty [...]

I love this book. It has stayed with me forever. I have it and the sister volume, Nervous Splendor. Both live in my house and remind me that host pry repeats itself and that politicians and monarchs have no particular historical memory. thunder takes place in Vienna. It is the beginning of the end of the 20th century. Franz Josef is hunted in early autumn, preoccupied with the kill and eager to be rid of Von Wilhelm's toad, signs the declaration of wargns away millions of lives in a stroke of th [...]

Great book. Not as good as the first one, A Nervous Splendor, but good. I definitely learned a lot. Anyone interested in history would enjoy this. The author has a great way of making strict facts read like fiction.

Good narrative non-fiction. Vienna 1913-14 leading up to World War I. I read this just after we returned from Austria and Germany where we visited Vienna, and other places in the book like Schoenberg Castle. A must read first person account for history lovers of this period.

A popular treatment, too "popular" for my tastes There are better places to spend my time on.

Morton weaves together the stories of some of the most famous personages of the twentieth century who all happened to be in Vienna in 1913/1914. They include Trotsky, Freud, Hitler. Stalin, Viktor Adler, and others. They are, for the most part, the characters who will forge the new world, as the twilight of the old is turned to darkness. What I enjoyed most about this book, though, were the little comments here and there as to what people were doing, what they were reading, and what they were li [...]

An excellent read explaining the series of events leading to World War I. The author brings 1913/14 Vienna to life and ties together threads not only of that present-time, but also the future. The author is a masterful storyteller, explaining how the Vienna of that period shaped people like Trotsky, Hitler, Lenin, etc. He also does a fine job explaining the fall of Habsburg in general, and how Vienna tried to hold on to the past for as long as it could, despite the changes engulfing all of Europ [...]

Nostalgia kills.

My budding interest in the Habsburgs comes from two friends, one I went to grad school with and writes me about her investigations--also suggesting that we go to Vienna which I'd love to do--and one whose mother was Austrian and is trying to capture that side of her heritage.Two things really struck me while reading this book:(1) How little I know of European history outside of the UK and Russia (which I know pretty well) and Germany and France (about which I know something) and Sweden and Norwa [...]

Thunder at Twilight offers a detailed history – really almost an exposé – of the conditions of Viennese life that preceded the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which, as we all know, indirectly led to the First World War. The book is extraordinarily well-researched; the author even goes so far as to relay to us the weather on days of particular importance, and to describe which writers and operas were popular at the time. In other words, it creates a very large picture of Viennese [...]

Es werden wenige Klischees ausgelassen. Man erfährt einiges über das Wetter vor hundert Jahren und auch sonst sehr viel und man muss sich aber dafür interessieren. In Miramar Treffen Franz Ferdinands mit Kaiser Wilhelm, der wieder einmal als sehr kindischer Mann beschrieben wird und seine Freude hat an Uniformen und Schiffen und Dolchen, für den alles ein Spiel ist, Fortsetzung der Bubenspiele, Erfüllung der Bubenträume. Michelangelos Moses, Kokoschkas Windsbraut. Finis Austriae.

An elegant and literary account of the outbreak of the First World War from the perspective of Habsburg Vienna in all its cultural and intellectual vigour, marking the end of an old order and the not-quite beginning of something new, the consequences of which lead to the Second World War and are still felt today in Europe, more so than ever in 2016 it seems. It's top-down history, occasionally a bit fanciful, yet the story Morton tells so eloquently (with a few instances of overly purplish prose [...]

Who was Archduke Franz Ferdinand?Every man and his dog knows the answer to that one. His assination in 1914 sparked the Great War. But why? And who was he really? What kind of man? In what kind of place?Thunder at Twilight sets out to answer those questions, introducing you along the way to the scheming young Josef Djugashvili (newly auto-pseudonym-ed as Stalin), the worldly Trotsky, the boorish Hitler, the meglomaniacal, notably anti-semitic Freud, and the grand old Grand Duke Franz Josef, FF's [...]

I love reading history. I started reading this book before my trip to Vienna last week, and completed during my trip there. The book focused on the 18 months before the start of WWI, in other words, the beginning of the modern world. The interesting part about this book is that, around the main theme of politics in Austrian Empire, the author also included many historically significant characters who happened to be in or around Vienna during that period. These people include Freud, Hitler, Stali [...]

I semi-enjoyed this book despite itelf. First my issues with it, lack of creativity and overbilling. This book is all about Vienna from 1913 to 1914. I looked up the author's other book A Nervous Splendor. It's about Vienna from 1888 to 1889. I guess he found his niche. Write about something else. This just seems like a lack of creativity to me which annoys me. Second off, the back of the book talks about Stalin, Trotsky, Hitler, and Franz Ferdinand. Stalin spent two days in Vienna, the author m [...]

In Thunder at Twilight, Frederic Morton offers an extraordinary window seat on the people inhabiting fin de siecle Habsburg Vienna. His book shows us the glorious, if decadent, multicultural civilization that was destroyed with the onset of World War I. In 1913-14, the people who would have the most influence on the twentieth century, including Freud, Mach, Wittgenstein, Emperor Franz-Josef, Tito, Stalin, Hitler, and Trotsky, all lived within a few square miles of each other. By using an impress [...]

_Thunder at Twilight_ is a compelling portrait of Vienna, and by extension Austria-Hungary and Europe, in the last year before the cataclysm of the Great War. Morton, an American with Austrian-Jewish heritage, follows several plot-lines, all of which converge thematically in one way or another with the war's outbreak. Sigmund Freud endures illness while he quietly plots against his errant disciples; Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin lay the groundwork for revolution in Russia; Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand, [...]

This book gives impressionistic sketches of Vienna in the run-up to World War I. It covers not only the political maneuvering going on around the aged Emperor, Franz Joseph, but the social and cultural highlights of Viennese society. Sigmund Freud was practicing psychiatry there, developing his psychoanalytic theories. People to be significant in history later on spent time living there, including the likes of Adolf Hitler, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin & Vladimir Lenin. Morton deftly paints a [...]

I am basing my rating on my reading of the book twenty years ago. It was life changing, which may sound a bit dramatic! I realized that literary art and history could intertwine. I would read passages over, not for the information but to revel in the words. The book also helped clarify the events leading up to WWI--something I had found confusing in my history classes. I wrote a letter to Frederic Morton, one of the only times I've written to an author. The other author I wrote to (who will be n [...]

A worthy sequel to Morton's earlier work, "A Nervous Splendor," which chronicles the events leading up to the suicide of Crown Prince Rudolf, the original heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, "Thunder at Twilight" chronicles the months leading up to the assassination of the next in line, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and the opening salvos of the First World War. The cast of characters residing in and around Vienna during the waning days of the Habsburg Empire would, for better or worse, shape the d [...]

A disappointment after 'A Nervous Splendor' but nevertheless a fascinating exploration of pre-War Vienna. Morton is a thorough (if romantic) historian with a flair for drama, he tells the story of the beginnings of WWI as if it hadn't already occurred, as if he were telling the story for the first time. One can't help but mourn the final curtain call of Imperial Europe as the future of each ruling monarch (Nicholas I of Russia, Wilhelm II of Germany, Franz Josef of Austria) becomes painfully cle [...]


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    Published :2018-09-03T06:52:55+00:00