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.
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 gives the book particular poignancy.
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.
Cadogan Guide Vienna, Prague and Budapest
Author: Cadogan Guide
Description: Three authors teamed up for this in-depth cultural guide to the history, architecture, artistic heritage and sights of these three capital cities.
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.
Danubia, A Personal History of Habsburg Europe
Author: Simon Winder
Description: Winder, author of Germania (GER270), considers the legacy of the Habsburg Europe in this charmingly digressive history and travelogue.
Dvorak and His World
Author: Michael Beckerman
Description: A fascinating view of the Czech composer's personal life and his influence on the world around him.
Gottland, Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechosovakia
Author: Mariusz Szczygiel
Description: A cultural history told through a collection of stories about human survival during Czechoslovakia’s 80-year existence. Szcygiel focuses on artists, writers and performers who responded with craftiness when confronted with the absurdity and pressures of their eras.
Kingdom of Auschwitz
Author: Otto Friedrich
Description: Otto Friedrich's slim book is an intensely personal account of the infamous Auschwitz death camp. He covers the entire history of Auschwitz in short chapters punctuated with eyewitness accounts and testimonies.
Mozart, A Life
Author: Paul Johnson
Description: Challenging myths surrounding Mozart’s health, religion and relationships, biographer Paul Johnson shows the great composer’s lasting impact on the musical world with insight.
Open Letters, Selected Writings: 1965 - 1990
Author: Vaclav Havel, Paul Wilson (Editor)
Description: This inspired anthology of writings by the Czech poet-president Vaclav Havel collects 25 essays, letters and speeches written between 1965 and 1990, including those that directly influenced the Polish Solidarity movement.
Prague in Black and Gold, Scenes from Life in a European City
Author: Peter Demetz
Description: Both a history and an accessible guide to the neighborhoods and architecture of the city.
Prague, A Traveler's Literary Companion
Author: Paul Wilson (Editor)
Description: This anthology of 24 vivid stories by Czech writers, both contemporary and well-known, brings the city, history, spirit and people to life.
The Habsburgs, Embodying Empire
Author: Andrew Wheatcroft
Description: With skillful scholarship and engaging style, Wheatcroft reveals the history of this family of eccentric monarchs.
The Hare With Amber Eyes
Author: Edmund De Waal
Description: Edmund de Waal unfolds the story of his remarkable family, a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who "burned like a comet" in early 20th-century Paris and Vienna.
The Haunted Land, Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism
Author: Tina Rosenberg
Description: In this groundbreaking book, a journalist reports on how the newly democratized people of East Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic have confronted the horrors of their former governments.
The Magic Lantern, The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague
Author: Timothy Garton Ash
Description: With a chapter each on Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin and Prague, this eyewitness account by an astute journalist and historian shows these vibrant cities during a time of great change.
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.