What do Stalin, Trotsky, Hitler, Tito, Freud, the Emperor Franz Joseph and the Archduke Franz Ferdinand have in common? They were all in Vienna during the carnival of 1913, living within a square mile of each other. Here, in this laboratory of cultural, social and political experiment, some of the key figures of the 20th century met and collided: Stalin on a mission for the revolution, Trotsky publishing the first edition of Pravda - and establishing a feud with Lenin in nearby Hapsburg; Hitler, still just a failed artist, spouting tirades at fellow drifters in the flophouse; Tito, a car mechanic, taking dancing and fencing lessons; and Freud, completing an essay he would use in his duel with Jung. He called it Totem and Taboo, and it dealt with the myth - ancient and prophetic - of the slaying of a prince by the crowd. As, just 20 months later, the bullet that killed the Archduke would set off the war that killed 10 million more. The author explores the coincidence and seedbed of disaster, in a perspective that includes a mercurial Churchill, the posturings of Kaiser Wilhelm and the waverings of Tsar Nicholas.
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Frederic Morton was born in Vienna and lives in New York. As both novelist and historian, he has twice been nominated for the National Book Award.From Publishers Weekly:
In an astonishing work of literary energy and historical insight, the author of The Rothschilds brings us the backstage dynamics that preceded the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, the deed that precipitated WW I. Morton captures both the elegant decadence of Emperor Franz Joseph's Vienna, and the potent spirits of those revolutionary thinkers who, all in Vienna at some time during the two years before the war, would blow away the past and create modernity. There were Stalin, Trotsky and Lenin; Freud and Jung; the glowering Hitler; Kafka, Wittgenstein and Karl Kraus; and a small band of Serb nationalists, one of whom fired the shot that catapulted Franz Joseph, Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas into a war they didn't want but couldn't prevent, and that reduced them to puppets.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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