Author(s): Joseph Roth
Strauss' Radetzky March, signature tune of one of Europe's most powerful regimes, presides over Joseph Roth's account of three generations of the Trotta family in the years preceding the Austro-Hungarian collapse in 1918. Grandfather, son and grandson are equally dependent on the empire: the first for his enoblement; the second for the civil virtues that make him a meticulous servant of an administration whose failure he can neither comprehend nor survive; the third for the family standards of conduct which he cannot attain but against which he is too enfeebled to rebel.
Roth is Austria's Chekhov -- William Boyd One of the greatest novels written in the last century -- Allan Massie One of the most readable, poignant, and superb novels in twentieth-century German: it stands with the best of Thomas Mann, Alfred Doblin, and Robert Musil. Roth was a cultural monument of Galician Jewry: ironic, compassionate, perfectly pitched to his catastrophic era -- Harold Bloom A masterpiece ... The totality of Joseph Roth's work is no less than a tragedie humaine achieved in the techniques of modern fiction -- Nadine Gordimer The best novel is a book that, to my shame, I have only just read. Visiting Vienna earlier in the year, I realised how little I knew about the Austro-Hungarian empire. So I read Joseph Roth's 1932 book The Radetzky March (Penguin Classics) and, as soon as I finished reading it, I read it all over again. -- Chris Patten New Statesman
Joseph Roth was born in 1894 into a Jewish family living in East Galicia in the Austro-Hungarian empire. He became a successful journalist and travelled widely, eventually becoming best-known for his literary novels The Radestzky March and Job, his account of Jewish life. He died in Paris in 1939.