Suggested Reading List
A Nervous Splendor, Vienna 1888-1889
Author: Frederic Morton
Description: A portrait of Vienna at the end of the 19th century, this book focuses on Crown Prince Rudolph, his devastating suicide and the rich texture of gossip and daily life at the Habsburg Court. It captures the political ferment, intellectual creativity, gaiety and despair of fin-de-siecle Austria.
A Time of Gifts
Author: Patrick Leigh Fermor
Description: Fermor effortlessly interweaves anecdote, history and culture in this exuberant account of a walk from Holland, up the Rhine and down the Danube, through Germany, Prague and Austria in 1933. Written not in the moment, but 40 years later, the accumulation of time and experience give the book particular poignancy.
Baroque and Rococo Art
Author: Germain Bazin
Description: An excellent illustrated survey of Baroque and Rococo art and architecture, this volume in the acclaimed "World of Art" series is a good companion to the golden age of Middle Europe.
Between the Woods and the Water
Author: Patrick Leigh Fermor
Description: Fermor continues with youthful adventures in Hungary and Romania, culminating with his arrival at the Iron Gates on the Danube.
Author: John Lukacs
Description: Written by a distinguished historian and native son, this richly detailed portrait of the city at its zenith includes hundreds of illustrations.
Bury Me Standing
Author: Isabel Fonseca
Description: This marvelous portrait of the Roma, also known as the Gypsies, offers insight into their music, foods, religions and folk traditions, and also examines their influential but complex relationship with Eastern Europe.
Cathedrals and Castles, The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages
Author: Alain Erlande-Brandenburg
Description: This pocket-size encyclopedia of the art, architecture and culture of the Middle Ages features hundreds of drawings, color illustrations and a brief chronology.
Central Europe Map
Author: Freytag & Berndt
Description: This colorful regional European map, like the sister map Europe Grand Tour (EUR185), covers from Paris and Amsterdam to Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, Rome and Dubrovnik.
Author: Claudio Magris
Description: Mixing history, personalities and literature, Magris traces the course of the Danube from its source in the heart of the Austro-Hungarian empire through the Balkans to the Black Sea in this anything but conventional travelogue, first published in 1986.
Death at La Fenice
Author: Donna Leon
Description: The first of the tremendously good Guido Brunetti mysteries, all set in the author's beloved Venice, in which a famous conductor is found dead at the celebrated theater of the title.
Fodor's Venice's 25 Best
Description: This shirt-pocket guide includes an excellent map of the city center and essential information.
Frommer's Budapest Day by Day
Author: Robert Smyth
Description: This illustrated pocket guide, ideal for a short visit, features excellent suggestions for everything from food and hotels to sightseeing and shopping. With a separate foldout map of the city center.
Frommer's Prague Day by Day
Author: Mark Baker
Description: This handy, compact guide includes a separate fold-out map of the city center and detailed itineraries for experiencing the best of Prague.
Frommer's Vienna Day by Day
Author: Teresa Fisher
Description: With hand-picked recommendations and highlights, this compact guide offers the "must see" attractions of Vienna for a shorter visit.
In a German Pension
Author: Katherine Mansfield
Description: Mansfield's first published work, which pierces the bourgeoisie at a Bavarian spa town in 13 interconnected stories. Frau Fischer, the narrator, is wonderful -- and entertaining.
La Bella Figura, A Field Guide to the Italian Mind
Author: Beppe Severgnini
Description: Italians themselves love this guide to the Italian character, which addresses their never-ending passion for beauty, disorder and high emotion. Severgnini opens the book with a snapshot of the hubbub at Malpensa Airport, then moves on to Tuscany, Rome, Naples and Sardinia.
Lonely Planet Central Europe
Author: Lonely Planet
Description: With dozens of maps, color photographs and sections on history and culture, this practical guide introduces Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and their neighbors.
Author: Peter Gay
Description: This concise, entertaining portrait delves into Mozart's complex relationship with his father, his daunting role as a child prodigy and his exploration of new musical territory.
The Danube, A Cultural History
Author: Andrew Beattie
Description: Beattie gives a comprehensive overview of the Danube’s role as a vital shipping artery and a uniting thread through the region’s turbulent history.
The German Way
Author: Hyde Flippo
Description: This clever A-to-Z guide to quirks, attitudes, behavior and customs is a terrific resource for travelers seeking insight into why the Germans, Austrians and Swiss do what they do.
Author: Gordon A. Craig
Description: A gifted historian, Craig explores the complex paradoxes of German identity in this masterly portrait of German life, past and present, with chapters on religion, money, Jews, women, literature and society, Berlin and language.
The Habsburgs, Embodying Empire
Author: Andrew Wheatcroft
Description: The Habsburgs ruled over more diverse peoples and cultures than any other European dynasty since the Roman period. With skillful scholarship and engaging style, Wheatcroft reveals the history of this family of eccentric monarchs.
The Third Man and the Fallen Idol
Author: Graham Greene
Description: A haunting tale and penetrating portrait of Vienna after World War II, "The Third Man" is the result of Greene's collaboration with Carol Reed on the classic movie. "The Fallen Idol" is a separate tale of intrigue set in Britain.
The World of Venice
Author: Jan Morris
Description: Morris displays her talent for research, anecdote and well-wrought prose in this spirited history of a beloved city.
Vienna, A Traveler's Literary Companion
Author: Donald Daviau
Description: Organized by neighborhood, these 15 alluring tales introduce both the city and its writers, including Arthur Schnitzler, Robert Musil, Stefan Zweig and even Franz Kafka, who had a long and complicated association with the city.