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Radetzkymarsch (Von Trotta Family)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  4,488 Ratings  ·  400 Reviews
Joseph Roth's 1932 novel, The Radetzky March, starts with an accident that creates a dynasty. When an infantry lieutenant steps in front of a bullet intended for the young Franz Joseph, the Austro-Hungarian emperor rewards him with wealth, promotion, and a knighthood. Almost overnight, Joseph Trotta is "severed" from his ancestors, and his family is transformed from unrema ...more
Paperback, 452 pages
Published 2010 by Insel (first published 1932)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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
A young Slovenian steps out of line during the Battle of Solferino, places his lowly hands on the Emperor Franz Joseph, and hurls him to the ground. Will he get the death penalty? No, he is rewarded as he himself has just taken the bullet meant for the Emperor. He is now Captain Joseph Trotta and ennobled by the addition of ‘von Sipolje’ to his name, and he has received a decoration: the Order of Maria Theresa. He has just changed his family’s future.

Joseph marries, has children. However, due to
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard Derus
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 March is 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 t
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heartstopping
So..I mean...
I'm as surprised as you are.

My particular edition of this book, a 1974-yellowed Penguin Modern Classics edition with pages falling out, boasts what is perhaps the most boring back summary ever written:
Grandfather, son and grandson are equally dependent on the [Austro-Hungarian] empire, it begins, the first for his ennoblement; the second for the civil virtues that make him a meticulous servant of admini...oh wait....did everyone STOP READING??! Well I DON'T FRICKIN BLAME YOU this
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bechdel-fail
It's very difficult to describe the pitch of this book, its approach to the military and administrative life of the Austro-Hungarian empire in the years before WWI. I'm tempted to use the word 'camp', which Susan Sontag delineates as 'failed seriousness'. It is not quite satire, because it is too sincere, but it is certainly not serious in the sense except in its pathetic, touching sincerity. All of the Trottas and almost everyone else in the book has this quality. The significant exception is t ...more
May 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bitchin
There is a lot said about the gifted but unappreciated, the genius who dies without recognition, or the capable man who never fulfils his potential. Are these tragedies? Perhaps. But I’ve often thought the greater sadness, the bigger tragedy, is the simple man, or more specifically, the mediocre man, elevated, despite his lack of abilities, beyond his appropriate station. How does the unimaginative man, the middling man, who has little of worth to offer, approach a world that expects something w ...more
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: haruspices
Shelves: own, fiction

When I picked this up at a sidewalk sale, I'd heard of it, and its author, but several novelists named Roth were swirling around in my head (not Philip, I know him well). For example, I didn't know Henry from Joseph. Maybe those were the only two swirling.

Joseph Roth was a Jewish Austrian, born in East Galicia in 1894. He served in the Habsburg army in the First World War; who knows, perhaps that's why he already looked like an old man at age 26:

He lived and worked in Vienna and Berlin, and when
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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
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
Es mi primer Joseph Roth y me alegro de haber comenzado por La marcha Radetzky (1932), uno de los hitos de la narrativa en lengua alemana. Joseph Roth era tan autocrítico que, al terminar esta novela, no estaba satisfecho con el resultado, y ni siquiera su buen amigo Stefan Zweig logró convencerle de que había escrito una obra maestra.

Joseph Roth es tan buen escritor que consigue que brille un personaje que solo aparece cuatro veces en toda la novela; un personaje que carga en sus espaldas el p
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lyn Elliott
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a remarkable book and will stay with me. I need to be with my computer at home after our current travels to review it
Re-visit via radio:

BBC BLURB: Dramatised by Gregory Evans

A dramatisation of Joseph Roth's most celebrated novel.

Piano and Trumpet played by Peter Ringrose

Directed by Marc Beeby


Literary critic Harold Blom described Joseph Roth's The Radetzky March as "One of the most readable, poignant and superb novels in twentieth century German".

This is the story of the Trottas, a family of Slovenian peasants ennobled when Lieutenant Joseph Trotta saves Emperor Franz Joseph's life a
David Lentz
Jun 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The formal, rousing, martial Radetsky March is descriptive of the culture that pronounced Joseph Trotta a baron and made extraordinary demands on the next two generations.

Discipline and honor weigh heavily on officials of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Life is regimented. Sentiment restrained. Meals are punctual. Hats and gloves are worn and carried according to protocol. Clothing is compactly folded. Duels may be required.

In keeping with the formality of the times, the main characters are oft
"He saw the golden radiance streaming from the procession and he did not hear the dark beating of the vultures' wings. For they were already circling over the two-headed eagle of the Habsburgs-vultures-, the eagle's brotherly foes."
Jul 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
This book describes the end of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire through the lives of the Trottas family. The grandfather comes from a family of peasants but during the Battle of Solferino saves Emperor Franz Joseph's life and becomes a hero. His son enters public administration and becomes a District Captain. His son, Carl Joseph enters the army as a Lieutenant. None of the three are particularly brilliant or special. They all share a life that was weighed down by the duties of privilege.
The book c
Justin Evans
Jul 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Mi sono ritrovata immalinconita e rattristata alla fine di questo romanzo, che più che una storia è un’atmosfera, un lento sfiorire, un appassire senza neanche aver vissuto. L’agonia di un mondo che non era né equo, né auspicabile, ma che aveva, tuttavia, una sua intrinseca bellezza, per la quale non è disdoro provare una punta di rammarico.

Vivissimo il dolore e l’inadeguatezza dei personaggi, che pagano a caro prezzo l’essere dovuti essere diversi da se stessi in un momento in cui non c’era più
Erwin Maack
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
É impossível conceder seis estrelas. Todos os anteriores estavam superestimados. Maravilhoso como Goethe. Mesmo patamar de competência apesar da diferença dos séculos.
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
“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
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*Trad Sara Cortesia - Newton Compton*
Ah che capolavoro.
Ah come mi manca l'impero austro-ungarico.
Ah come sono ignorante in storia europea di fine ottocento e inizio novecento.
Che è comunque uno dei periodi più gustosi, perché si sente proprio che qualcosa sta cambiando, è la nostra origine, è l'origine del nostro mondo tecnologico e "globalizzato".

Questo librino non è un affresco storico. Non solo.
È la storia di un disfacimento. Di una cesura della storia, della vita, della realtà.
L'Europa di pr
James Murphy
Jan 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Cristina - Athenae Noctua
La maturazione della fascinazione per La Marcia di Radetzky è stata lenta , perché ha seguito l'andamento irregolare di queste spinte contrapposte e l'alternanza sulla scena dei capricci di Joseph, del cerimoniale di Franz e delle incombenze di Francesco Giuseppe. In qualche passaggio, addirittura, Roth mi sembrava dilungarsi davvero troppo su snodi insignificanti della storia, dimenticando di raccontarci la storia, non offrendoci reali spunti di progressione. Poi ho capito che l'azione in sé er ...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 the Austro-Hungarian empire and is now Ukraine. Roth was born into a Jewish family. He died in Paris.
More about Joseph Roth...

Other Books in the Series

Von Trotta Family (2 books)
  • The Emperor's Tomb

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“A lot of truths about the living world are recorded in bad books; they are just badly written about.” 246 likes
“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.” 33 likes
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