The Radetzky March
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The Radetzky March (Von Trotta Family #1)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  2,087 ratings  ·  196 reviews
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

By one of the most distinguished Austrian writers of our century, a portrait of three generations set against the panoramic background of the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire. Translated by a three-time winner of the PEN Translation Prize.
Hardcover, 333 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Everyman's Library (first published 1932)
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Jeffrey Keeten
“That was how things were back then. Anything that grew took its time growing, and anything that perished took a long time to be forgotten. But everything that had once existed left its traces, and people lived on memories just as they now live on the ability to forget quickly and emphatically.”


There are eras when time seems to stand still and the period before the beginning of World War I was one of those times for the Austro-Hungarian empire. The empire was in decline, but not yet aware that...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 4* of five

The Book Report: The book description from Amazon is unusually cryptic. It says:
The Radetzky March, Joseph Roth's classic saga of the privileged von Trotta family, encompasses the entire social fabric of the Austro-Hungarian Empire just before World War I. The author's greatest achievement,The Radetzky Marchis an unparalleled portrait of a civilization in decline, and as such, a universal story for our times.”

My Review: The Trotta family, beneficiaries of the gratitude of the...more
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Well. What can I say? If the world were split into meat and two veg on the one hand, and love pudding on the other, you’d need to be of the former, dangling garden variety to appreciate the Radetzky March, fully: with a Virginia sticking out of your mouth, perhaps.

Barracks, guns, uniforms, wars, duels of honour, brothels, male on male love- ins (true friendship, people, only that!), absence of any female characters (unless they are the wives of Colonels looking for a little diversion during the...more
I want to single out The Radetzky March as my favorite book of 2011. It is the story of the fall of the Austrian Empire as reflected in the fortunes of the Trotta family through three generations. Our story largely centers around young Carl Joseph von Trotta of the third generation and his father, the District Captain of W. To get to that story, however, Roth compresses into the first 35 pages or so, a beautifully patterned and nuanced story of Carl Joseph's forebears. That is, first the story o...more
One of many endorsements that lured me to this, Brodsky's remark that "there is a poem on every page of Roth's" has the ironic effect of making Roth sound like a prose writer prone to elaborate poetic digressions, though, at least in this novel, he's relentlessly focused and economical. By 'poems' Brodsky means imagery whose sharp cut and compression, whose organic and abrupt strangeness ideally fits the swiftness of Roth's narration:

The officers went about like incomprehensible worshippers of s
4.5 stars - a fine book, often moving, albeit sometimes to the point of melodrama - flashes of modernist brilliance, but at times quite conventional -- occasionally one can sense Roth is striving for effect, sometimes achieving it brilliantly, sometimes... not quite... an important treatment of the death of the Austo-Hungarian Empire.
After reading consecutively Nabokov's Ada and then Beckett's Molloy and Malone Dies, it was very nice to fall back into a book where the prose is so restrained, so gently laid down, so musical, so functional while still, in each paragraph, maintaining lovely poetic arcs. This was a slow, elegiac novel about the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian empire through the experiences of the Trotta family, a dynasty that came into being when the progenitor saved the Kaiser's life by chance at the Bat...more
David Lentz
I really admire the craftsmanship manifest in the disciplined writing of Roth in this work. The writing is vivid and each sentence is densely packed with focused editing so that the narrative reads much as a military march by, say, Sousa would play. The story concerns three generations of military men rebelling against a mediocre fate, beginning with heroism at the Battle of Solferino and culminating in the final days of the great Hapsburg Empire. The novel is about the relationship of these mil...more
Justin Evans
Pretty good, but I'm surprised by the universal praise that gets lavished on it. H. Bloom says it "stands with the best of Thomas Mann." Um.... no, it doesn't come anywhere near that. Maybe I just came in with the wrong expectations. For some reason I was expecting some high modernism; what I got was some pretty solid realism with occasionally beautiful images and analogies, the odd philosophical aside and some use of the present tense. Thomas Mann? Er, no.

I'm also willing to believe that I sho...more
Joseph Roth was an Austrian novelist who was born in 1894 and died of chronic alcoholism in Paris in 1939.

This novel begins on a decidedly ironic note when the Kaiser knights a young Austro-Hungarian soldier, Trotta, for allegedly saving the Kaiser’s life, thereby creating a vast gulf between the soldier and his family and friends by lifting him into an aristocracy for which he is not prepared. Moving rather quickly through two more generations, the story begins to linger on the figure of Carl J...more
I had to give this book three stars because, in spite of an intriguing plot and felicitous design, it has a very serious flaw. The flaw is in Roth’s portrayal of his central characters. Most of them, to borrow E.M. Forster’s typology, are flat, meaning they’re predictable and never evolve beyond a two-dimensional shell. Carl Joseph and his father are prime examples. Nothing they do is indicative of full-blooded human beings. It’s almost impossible to have any sympathy for them. Frau von Taussig...more
James Murphy
This was a reread, first read about 1983. And underappreciated at that time. I say that because I loved this reading. The Radetzky March is a novel about decline, the decline of a family paralleled by the quiet death of the Hapsburg Empire. The Trotta family members, whose story this is, serve the Emperor Francis Joseph in civil and military capacities. Their story is his and the empire's story, his degeneration is their degeneration. Several traits give this novel its strength and endurance ove...more
Den "Radetzkymarsch" muss man nicht mehr loben. Auch Rezensionen mit neuen Erkenntnissen sind nicht mehr zu erwarten. Wenn man, wie ich, nicht regelmäßig, sondern eher selten (also so gut wie gar nicht), Klassiker liest, ist es zunächst ein bisschen gewöhnungsbedürftig, in die Welt der Armeeröcke, Garnisonen, gewichsten Stiefeln und der Ordonnanzen einzutauchen, aber dann, auf Seite 278 (dtv-Taschenbuch-Ausgabe), trifft man plötzlich auf alte Bekannte aus der Jetztzeit:

„Es war dem Bezirkshauptma...more
Joseph Roth's novel takes its name from a march by Johann Strauss Senior who composed the rollicking tune, and a hundred years ago you could hear it in market towns the length and breadth of the Empire. The story follows the destiny of a family of humble Slovenian origins who rise to prominence through valor on the battlefield. Ennobled by the Emperor, the Trottas become part of the establishment, but by this stage, the cosmopolitan empire is beginning to come apart at the seams. The author's ab...more
This is a damn good book but make sure you read the Michael Hoffmann translation. I started reading a translation by some other dude at first (the yellowish one with horses on the cover and an intro by Nadine Gordimer) and I was like no way this is Joseph Roth's masterpiece, this is real clunky. But then I scored the Michael Hoffmann translation (the reddish one with an old-timey dude in uniform) and all was well -- this book's reputation seemed deserved. Really, anything translated by Michael H...more
A little of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, even on its way out, goes a long way. It was a pot in which the ingredients didn't melt: Austrians, Czechs, Slovenes, Slovaks, Hungarians, Romanians, northern Italians, southern Poles, the ethnicities that made the end of Yugoslavia so lethal, and people or two who are still nationless--the kind of vast swath of earth united, apparently, so that the Habsburg Emperors would have an Empire (having given up Spain and its colonies, the Netherlands, etc.). The...more
Kate Sherrod
"A word, a word so easily spoken; it is not spoken."

I am developing a minor obsession with the literature of the 19th and early 20th century Hapsburg Empire, and I can't quite put my finger on why, or how it started, unless it was when I read about Robert Musil in Philip Ball's amazing Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another. Ball's interest was in Musil's unfinished two-volume novel, The Man Without Qualities, and its depiction of a mathematician's dispassion for the world, which doesn't...more
“La marcha de Radetzky” de Joseph Roth narra el fin del Imperio austro-húngaro a través de la historia de tres hombres de la misma familia pero de tres generaciones distintas. Es una elegía a un mundo que desapareció definitivamente con el estallido de la primera guerra mundial, el mundo del antiguo régimen, cuyas costumbres y mentalidad también quedaron totalmente anihilados. En esta novela, la Historia en mayúscula va entretejida magistralmente con la historia particular de estos tres hombres,...more
Written in 1932 by Joseph Roth, the under-appreciated Austrian-Jewish writer who died young of alcoholism in Paris a few years later, The Radetzky March depicts the waning of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the years before World War I. It begins in 1859, at the Battle of Solferino, when a peasant-born lieutenant saves the life of the young Kaiser, Franz Joseph I, and is rewarded with elevation to the nobility. The novel follows successive generations of the now-aristocratic von Trotta family int...more
A poetic, sociological novel about three men in the Trotta family belonging to different generations but who each served the Emperor in a different way. Through their lives we view the disintegration of an empire - historical events are present only as they are reflected in their lives.
Roth describes the calm before the storm (WWI), the nostalgia for a lost past and anxiety about a homeless future can be felt in his eloquently written scenes, in the thoughts of they younger lieutenant Trotta and...more
Carey Combe
Amazing, but depressing book. I loved the small details about a lost world and its people who lived in the past and the writing was absolutely superb. I often wanted to put it down as I was reading it during a 'fun' weekend and wanted a more upbeat and easier read but couldn't let it go. A classic that I'm very glad I read, but don't think I could ever re-read.
From BBC Radio 4 - Classical Serial:
The end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, as seen through the lives of three generations of the Trotta family. Dramatised by Gregory Evans.

Loved it, now I must read the printed version of this book.
Nostalgie d’un paradis perdu et angoisse d’un avenir sans patrie s’inscrivent au coeur de ce chef d’oeuvre de Joseph Roth. Probablement l’un des meilleurs ouvrages du 20ème siècle, à classer du côté de l’Homme Sans Qualité de Musil, il décrit le destin de la famille Trotta à travers trois générations dans une Autriche-Hongrie qui agonise. Un écriture exquise accompagne ce roman épique où il est question de guerre, de mort, de duels, d’alcool, d’amour et de douleur. J’ai une tendresse particulièr...more
Set before the first world war, the radetzky march follows three generations of a family. The main emphasis is on the son and grandson and their relationship.
The story of the rise and fall of a moderate family, whose demise mirror the Austrian-Hungarian reign had a tremendous impact on me.
I say this because Roth chose to center all the burdens plaguing the empire in the story of young man by the name of Carl-Joseph.
The book firstly taught me the inability to escape ones destiny. People are
born and die. Empires flourish and die so is the fate of all things in nature.

The Radetzkymarsch in the novel which was more in tune with the death and loss of grea...more
Sep 11, 2008 J. rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ..millenarians, antiquarians, austro-hungarians..
Deliberately slow and methodical portrait of the Hapsburg empire, its glories, grandeur, oversights and failures. By the time we reach the death of heir-to-the-throne Franz Ferdinand and inescapable Great War, author Roth has guided us through multiple layers of his society, diverse angles on the era and the empire, all via characters representing the various levels.

Reminiscent of Lampedusa, Musil, Mann & Schnitzler at various points, we get the keynote personae and events as we go:
the Duel...more
The Radetzky March is justly famous for inspiring nostalgia for the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. As such, one might expect the book to be overly sentimental or romantic. But it isn't so. The book, which follows the lives of the son and grandson of an Austrian soldier who once saved Emperor Franz Joseph's life, portrays the Empire as something decaying, doomed, and more than a little absurd. The first half of the book has more the feel of a comic novel, though the comic elements are gradually rep...more
Brendan Hodge
Roth's novel, written in the 1930s, is set in the closing days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and in some ways the empire itself seems as much a character as the human ones. It follows the lives of the three members of the von Trotta family: The grandfather is elevated to the nobility after he steps in front of the younger emperor Franz Joseph and stops a bullet that would have hit him in the Battle of Solferino. The father becomes a regional administrator, more accustomed to his class than his...more
Set in the last days of the Austro-Hungarian empire, just before World War I, the imminent dissolution of the empire is mirrored in the fortunes of a career military family, whom we follow over three generations. The seemingly immutable regime of Kaiser Franz Joseph is manifested in the (to current eyes) almost comical rigidity of the military life, though ultimately even the most constricted characters feel love and loss.
Really very moving and the fact that its German-Jewish author fled perman...more
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Joseph Roth was born and grew up in Brody, a small town near Lemberg in East Galicia, part of the easternmost reaches of what was then Austro-Hungarian empire and is nowadays Ukraine. Roth was born into a Jewish family. He died in Paris, France.
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“That was how things were back then. Anything that grew took its time growing, and anything that perished took a long time to be forgotten. But everything that had once existed left its traces, and people lived on memories just as they now live on the ability to forget quickly and emphatically.” 18 likes
“A lot of truths about the living world are recorded in bad books; they are just badly written about.” 4 likes
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