The most recommended books about Austria-Hungary

Who picked these books? Meet our 11 experts.

11 authors created a book list connected to Austria-Hungary, and here are their favorite Austria-Hungary books.
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Book cover of Hotel of Secrets

Darlene Marshall Author Of Sea Change

From Darlene's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Romance Reader Regency Romance Fan History Buff SF & Fantasy Fan

Darlene's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Darlene Marshall Why did Darlene love this book?

This was, hands down, one of the best historical romances I've read this year. Great characters, engaging mystery, excellent sex scenes (one of the best depictions of gaining consent that I've ever read), a heroine who just won't quit, and a hero who is the quiet strength she needs at her back.

In addition, there are well-drawn secondary characters and a setting in Vienna at the beginning of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that's as sparkling and rich as a sachertorte set to a background of waltz music. I've enjoyed all the Diana Biller books I've read, but now she's an auto-buy author for me.

By Diana Biller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hotel of Secrets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's Ball Season in Vienna, and Maria Wallner only wants one thing: to restore her family's hotel, the Hotel Wallner, to its former glory. She's not going to let anything get in her way - not her parents' three-decade-long affair; not seemingly-random attacks by masked assassins; and especially not the broad-shouldered American foreign agent who's saved her life two times already. No matter how luscious his mouth is.

Eli Whittaker also only wants one thing: to find out who is selling American secret codes across Europe, arrest them, and go home to his sensible life in Washington, DC. He has…

Book cover of Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918

Peter H. Wilson Author Of Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500

From my list on German military history saying something different.

Who am I?

I have been drawn to the history of the German lands ever since I opened a historical atlas as a child and wondered why the middle of Europe was a colorful patchwork compared to the solid blocks depicting other countries. I then wondered how the people living under this multitude of authorities could manage their affairs, resolve differences, and defend themselves against each other and outsiders. Digging deeper into these questions has unearthed fascinating stories, not all of them pleasant, but which also shed light on the complexities of our shared existence. 

Peter's book list on German military history saying something different

Peter H. Wilson Why did Peter love this book?

After 1918, many German and Austrian Habsburg officers blamed their defeat on being ‘stabbed in the back’ by civilian ‘shirkers’, leftists, and (in the Habsburg case) fractious nationalists.

Both states indeed failed to manage their home fronts but, as Alexander Watson shows in his compelling account of this titanic conflict, there were far more complex reasons for the war’s outcome, not least the willingness of the high command in both states to embark on a conflict they had no realistic chance of winning.

By Alexander Watson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ring of Steel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sunday Times History Book of the Year 2014

Winner of the 2014 Wolfson History Prize, the 2014 Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History, the Society for Military History's 2015 Distinguished Book Award and the 2015 British Army Military Book of the Year

For the empires of Germany and Austria-Hungary the Great War - which had begun with such high hopes for a fast, dramatic outcome - rapidly degenerated as invasions of both France and Serbia ended in catastrophe. For four years the fighting now turned into a siege on a quite monstrous scale. Europe became the focus of fighting of a…

Book cover of Suicide of the Empires: The Battles on the Eastern Front, 1914-18

Adam Hochschild Author Of Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes

From my list on the human impact of World War I.

Who am I?

Adam Hochschild is the author of ten books. The era of the First World War figures in his latest, Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes, and is the major subject of his To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918. To End All Wars has been translated into seven languages, won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is at work now on a book about the First World War era and its aftermath in the United States.

Adam's book list on the human impact of World War I

Adam Hochschild Why did Adam love this book?

This book brings to life a part of the war Western readers know far too little about: the vast battles that ranged back and forth across Eastern Europe and Russia. Two of the three armies involved, those of Tsarist Russia and Austria-Hungary, were spectacularly incompetent, and saw their soldiers needlessly slaughtered by the millions before these two empires dissolved under the war’s impact.

By Alan Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Suicide of the Empires as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the outbreak of war in 1914, the armies of the western front soon became bogged down in the mud at Flanders. But on the wide plains and forests of Eastern Europe the three great Empires - Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary - grappled in a series of battles involving millions of men and hundreds of miles of front. Shortly after the outbreak of war the Russian "steamroller" had lurched into Prussia only to be hurled back amind the marshes of Tannenberg. For the next three years the fighting swung indeterminately back and forth. This work describes the campaigns which provoked…

Book cover of The Radetzky March

Yiannis Gabriel Author Of Music and Story: A Two-Part Invention

From Yiannis' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Storyteller Psychologist Classical music lover Myth lover Professor

Yiannis' 3 favorite reads in 2023

Yiannis Gabriel Why did Yiannis love this book?

This book offers a panorama of the Austro-Hungarian empire from the mid-nineteenth century to its collapse in the aftermath of World War I through the lives of three generations of minor provincial nobility. With the possible exception of War and Peace, there are few better examples of the intertwining of personal lives with world events.

The book offers a striking account of the inner life of a ruler, Emperor Franz-Josef, and a deeply felt account of the decay and collapse of an empire.

By Joseph Roth, Joachim Neugroschel (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Radetzky March as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE RADETSKY MARCH is subtle and touching study of family life at the end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Writing in the traditional form of the family saga, Roth nevertheless manages to bring to his story a completely individual manner which gives at the same time the detailed and intimate portrait of a life and the wider panorama of a failing dynasty. Not yet well known in English-speaking countries, Joseph Roth is one of the most distinguished Austrian writers of our century, worthy to be bracketed with Musil and Kraus.

Book cover of Austria-Hungary and the Origins of the First World War

Gordon Martel Author Of The Origins of the First World War

From my list on why the First World War happened.

Who am I?

I am a historian of diplomacy, war, and empire. A founding editor of The International History Review, I have written books on ‘Imperial Diplomacy’, on the origins of the First World War, and on the July Crisis. I have edited: the 5-volume Encyclopedia of War and the 4-volume Encyclopedia of Diplomacy; the journals of A.L. Kennedy for the Royal Historical Society; numerous collections of essays, and the multi-volume Seminar Studies in History series. I am currently working on a two-volume study of Political Intelligence in Great Britain, 1900-1950, which is a group biography of the men who made up the Department of Political Intelligence in Britain, 1917-1919

Gordon's book list on why the First World War happened

Gordon Martel Why did Gordon love this book?

There are many different vantage points from which to view the road to war in 1914, but an essential one is that which focuses on the ethos, politics, and strategy of one of the constellations of European Great Powers. In the 1980s, Macmillan published a series of books focusing on each of these, written by acknowledged experts (Zara Steiner on Britain, John Keiger on France, Dominic Lieven on Russia, Volker Berghahn on Germany, Richard Bosworth on Italy). The last in the series appeared in 1990, when Samuel Williamson published his study of Austria-Hungary.

It was well worth the wait. Comprehensive in its structure, balanced in its judgments, meticulous in its research, Williamson established a new standard for studies of the Great Powers. His conclusion – that Austria-Hungary was largely responsible for initiating the July Crisis and, ultimately, the war itself – is persuasively argued and the story compellingly told.

By Samuel R. Williamson, Jr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Austria-Hungary and the Origins of the First World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A major re-examination of Habsburg decision-making from 1912 to July 1914, the study argues that Austria-Hungary and not Germany made the crucial decisions for war in the summer of 1914. Based on extensive new archival research, the book traces the gradual militarization of Austro-Hungarian foreign policy during the Balkan Wars. The disasters of those wars and the death of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir-apparent and a force for peace in the monarchy, convinced the Habsburg elite that only a war against Serbia would end the South Slav threat to the monarchy's existence. Williamson also describes Russia's assertive foreign policy…

Book cover of The Fortress: The Siege of Przemysl and the Making of Europe's Bloodlands

Adam Zamoyski Author Of Warsaw 1920: Lenin’s Failed Conquest of Europe

From my list on to truly understand the First World War.

Who am I?

Adam Zamoyski is a British historian of Polish origin. He is the author of over a dozen award winning books. His family originates in Poland. His parents left the country when it was invaded by Germany and Russia in 1939, and were stranded in exile when the Soviets took it over at the end of World War II. Drawn to it as much by the historical processes at work there as by family ties, Zamoyski began to visit Poland in the late 1960s. His interest in the subject is combined with a feel for its connections to the history and culture of other nations, and a deep understanding of the pan-European context.

Adam's book list on to truly understand the First World War

Adam Zamoyski Why did Adam love this book?

This book not only tells the fascinating story of the great siege in 1914-15 of the supposedly impregnable fortress of Przemyśl. It is a highly readable and often darkly humorous account, based on an extraordinary array of sources in several languages, paints a vivid picture of the political and military shambles into which the Austro-Hungarian Empire had fallen. With chilling precision, it also identifies the presence of many of the germs which would flourish into the horrors which visited the same area in the following decades.

By Alexander Watson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fortress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A prizewinning historian tells the dramatic story of the siege that changed the course of the First World War

In September 1914, just a month into World War I, the Russian army laid siege to the fortress city of Przemysl, the Hapsburg Empire's most important bulwark against invasion. For six months, against storm and starvation, the ragtag garrison bitterly resisted, denying the Russians a quick victory. Only in March 1915 did the city fall, bringing occupation, persecution, and brutal ethnic cleansing.

In The Fortress, historian Alexander Watson tells the story of the battle for Przemysl, showing how it marked the…

Book cover of Adventures of a Bystander

Hermann Simon Author Of Many Worlds, One Life: A Remarkable Journey from Farmhouse to the Global Stage

From my list on becoming a global business leader.

Who am I?

Hermann Simon grew up on a small, remote farm and became a world-renowned marketing professor, including stints at MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. But academic fame didn’t satisfy him. He had the ambition to achieve an impact on practice and founded Simon-Kucher & Partners, today with 41 offices and 1600 employees the world's leading price consultancy. He also detected the secrets of the "hidden champions", unknown mid-sized global market leaders (more than 1.5 million Google entries). In China a business school is named in his honor.

Hermann's book list on becoming a global business leader

Hermann Simon Why did Hermann love this book?

Peter F. Drucker is the most famous and influential management thinker of the 20th century. He grew up in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which fell at the end of the First World War. His classic education, his knowledge of history, his broad horizons, his understanding of business processes make him unique among management thinkers. He outshines them all. And he is an outstanding, captivating writer. Anyone who wants to learn and understand about management must read this book. I have read it three times. I mourn this late friend.

By Peter F. Drucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adventures of a Bystander as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"It is [a] belief in diversity and pluralism and the uniqueness of each person that underlies all my writings ..." -from the Preface. Regarded as the most influential and widely read thinker on modern organizations and their management, Peter Drucker has also established himself as an unorthodox and independent analyst of politics, the economy, and society. A man of impressive scope and expertise, he has paved significant inroads in a number of key areas, sharing his knowledge and keen insight on everything from the plight of the employee and the effects of technology to the vicissitudes of the markets and…

Book cover of Endless Flight: The Life of Joseph Roth

Hugh Aldersey-Williams Author Of Dutch Light: Christiaan Huygens and the Making of Science in Europe

From Hugh's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Hugh Aldersey-Williams Why did Hugh love this book?

A touching and sympathetic biography of one of Europe’s greatest twentieth-century writers, best known as the author of The Radetzky March, and an essential introduction to his other novels (too little read in English).

We follow Roth as he flits between Europe’s cultural centres, his melancholy mood tracking the decline of the Austro-Hungarian empire. With Pim as our guide, it is impossible not to sense the fragile state of more contemporary political unions, as Roth’s plight in a way becomes our own.

By Keiron Pim,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Endless Flight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first English language biography of the great European writer Joseph Roth, exploring his genius and his tragic life story, lived in the shadow of war.

The brilliant, mercurial, self-mythologising novelist and journalist Joseph Roth, author of the European 20th century masterpiece The Radetzky March, was an observer and chronicler of his times. Born and raised in Galicia on the eastern edge of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, his life's decline mirrored the collapse of civilised Europe: in his last peripatetic years, he was exiled from Germany, his wife driven into an asylum, and he died an alcoholic on the eve of…

Book cover of The Bridge Over the Drina

Denis Dragovic Author Of No Dancing, No Dancing: Inside the Global Humanitarian Crisis

From Denis' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Dreamer Humanitarian Culture enthusiast Nature lover Traveler

Denis' 3 favorite reads in 2023

Denis Dragovic Why did Denis love this book?

This is a Nobel Prize for Literature-winning book that is a must-read for historical fiction enthusiasts.

Spanning some four hundred years, the centerpiece isn’t the usual high drama running across generations of a family but rather a bridge, the bridge over the river Drina.

The book is a surprisingly easy-to-read novel that follows periods in the lives of the peasants in a Bosnian town whose lives were marked by the bridge.

Through the telling of these stories, Andric subtly introduces the reader to the empires, religions, and cultures of the Balkans. 

By Ivo Andric,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bridge Over the Drina as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the small Bosnian town of Visegrad the stone bridge of the novel's title, built in the sixteenth century on the instruction of a grand vezir, bears witness to three centuries of conflict. Visegrad has long been a bone of contention between the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, but the bridge survives unscathed until 1914, when the collision of forces in the Balkans triggers the outbreak of World War I.

The bridge spans generations, nationalities and creeds, silent testament to the lives played out on it. Radisav, a workman, tries to hinder its construction and is impaled alive on its highest…

Book cover of The World of Yesterday

Patrick Bixby Author Of License to Travel: A Cultural History of the Passport

From my list on memoirs about lives on the move.

Who am I?

I’ve been putting my passport to good use for the last thirty years or so. Few things make me happier than showing up in an unfamiliar place – whether a village in Ecuador, a town in Ireland, or a city in Ghana – and trying to become familiar with the people, the customs, the food, all of it. But I suppose what I love most is a good story. During those three decades, I’ve also become a Professor of English at Arizona State University, where my research has increasingly focused on how artists and ideas move across geographical and cultural boundaries. In my latest book, License to Travel, these various interests come together. 

Patrick's book list on memoirs about lives on the move

Patrick Bixby Why did Patrick love this book?

Subtitled Memoires of a European and conceived as missive to future generations, this book provides an exemplary account of the Continent in the first half of the twentieth century, with its many upheavals, rendered from the perspective of an exemplary individual: “an Austrian, a Jew, an author, a humanist, and a pacifist,” Zweig remarks, “I always stood at the exact point where these earthquakes were the most violent.”

He began writing the book in the mid-thirties when the rise of the Nazi party motivated him to leave Austria, first for England and later Brazil. Along the way, he recounts the details of his life and work in Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Zurich, and elsewhere, as he became one of the leading figures in European letters, before the Second World War wrought destruction on his entire generation.

By Stefan Zweig,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The World of Yesterday as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The World of Yesterday, mailed to his publisher a few days before Stefan Zweig took his life in 1942, has become a classic of the memoir genre. Originally titled “Three Lives,” the memoir describes Vienna of the late Austro-Hungarian Empire, the world between the two world wars and the Hitler years.

Translated from the German by Benjamin W. Huebsch and Helmut Ripperger; with an introduction by Harry Zohn, 34 illustrations, a chronology of Stefan Zweig’s life and a new bibliography, by Randolph Klawiter, of works by and about Stefan Zweig in English.

“The best single memoir of Old Vienna by…