Please sign in to post.

Vienna -- A Nervous Splendor

My wife Debby and I will be traveling to five countries in eastern Europe in October, as part of a tour offered by the Rice University Alumni Association. Normally we follow Rick's advice and use his tourbooks, but we decided that this offering would provide a very complete experience at a fair price, without having to travel independently to an area we have never visited. We are very excited about seeing Poland, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. After paying our deposit, we received several documents in the mail from Odyssey Travel, showing the itinerary in more detail and giving us a list of books to read in preparation for this tour. I have just finished the book on Vienna, set in a ten-month period of 1888-1889, A Nervous Splendor, by Frederick Morton. What a fascinating story about life in the Hapsburg's Austro-Hungarian Empire, with many notable artists (e.g., Klimt), musicians (e.g., Strauss, Brahms, Bruckner), scientists (e.g., Freud), nobility (e.g., Emperor Franz Joseph and Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany). The main character is Crown Prince Rudolph, heir to the throne but unable to rule. If anyone is interested in Austria-Hungary at the end of the nineteenth century I recommend this book. Also on our reading list is a book on Prague (a collection of short stories about Prague or featuring Prague as a setting), another on Budapest in 1900, and another set in Poland in 1989. I hope to read the remaining books before taking the trip. After our return, I will provide a report on our adventure to this forum. Gary Jones, Ardmore, PA.

Posted by
31 posts

Thank you for the recommendation of A Nervous Splender, and other recommendations. I have checked out an audio book from our library, Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright. The description of the book sounds very interesting and it is well-rated.

Posted by
37 posts

I recommend The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek and James Michener's Poland. These two are nothing whatsoever alike but if historical background of the region is important, than for (what would be very) different reasons I think both of these are good. Enjoy the trip fellow Keystone stater.