The most recommended books about Vienna

Who picked these books? Meet our 56 experts.

56 authors created a book list connected to Vienna, and here are their favorite Vienna books.
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Book cover of And in the Vienna Woods the Trees Remain: The Heartbreaking True Story of a Family Torn Apart by War

Linda Olsson Author Of Astrid & Veronika

From my list on understanding the moody people of Nordic countries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an accidental emigrant now living in Auckland, New Zealand. I arrived with my then husband and our three sons in 1990 for a three-year spell. And here I am with two sons now settled in New Zealand and one in Sweden and me in a very awkward split position between the two. I am also an accidental author as my first career was in law and finance. I am presently working on my seventh novel. My novels are what my publishers call literary fiction and they often involve characters who, like me, have no fixed abode. 

Linda's book list on understanding the moody people of Nordic countries

Linda Olsson Why did Linda love this book?

Based on a true story, this is an important, thought-provoking book in these times of mass migrations around the globe. The story follows the thirteen-year-old boy Otto Ullman’s journey from Vienna to Trelleborg in southern Sweden. He is sent by his adoring Jewish parents as the persecution of Jews escalates in Austria during the lead-up to the second world war. The letters between Otto and his family, other relatives, and friends left behind are difficult to read. The efforts they all make to keep a brave face in spite of intolerable circumstances are utterly moving. Amongst the letters are official Swedish documents revealing the extent of racism and prejudice in Sweden. There are many similar stories. But I find this one particularly heartbreaking. 

By Elisabeth Åsbrink, Saskia Vogel (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked And in the Vienna Woods the Trees Remain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews and a Notable Translated Book of the Year by World Literature Today 

Winner of the August Prize, the story of the complicated long-distance relationship between a Jewish child and his forlorn Viennese parents after he was sent to Sweden in 1939, and the unexpected friendship the boy developed with the future founder of IKEA, a Nazi activist.
 
Otto Ullmann, a Jewish boy, was sent from Austria to Sweden right before the outbreak of World War II. Despite the huge Swedish resistance to Jewish refugees, thirteen-year-old Otto was granted permission to…


Book cover of Night Falls On The City

Kirsten Menger-Anderson Author Of Doctor Olaf Van Schuler's Brain

From my list on love, loss, and logic in 1930s Vienna.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first learned about life in 1930s Vienna from my grandfather’s memoir: Reminiscences of the Vienna Circle and the Mathematical Colloquium. I was fascinated by the time and place and began to read more about the era, which ultimately served as a setting for my forthcoming novel, The Expert of Subtle Revisions.

Kirsten's book list on love, loss, and logic in 1930s Vienna

Kirsten Menger-Anderson Why did Kirsten love this book?

Spanning seven years in six hundred pages, Gainham’s Night Falls On The City is a richly detailed depiction of the stress and madness of life in Vienna after the German annexation.

Onstage or off, the novel’s protagonist, Julia Homburg, must always act, and the strain of this performance, under escalating violence and increasingly difficult circumstances, takes a harsh toll. A compelling and memorable story.

By Sarah Gainham,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Night Falls On The City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vienna, 1938. Beautiful actress Julia Homburg and her politician husband Franz Wedeker embody all the enlightened brilliance of their native city. But Wedeker is Jewish, and just across the border the tanks of the Nazi Reich are primed for the Anschluss.

When the SS invades and disappearances become routine, Franz must be concealed. With daring ingenuity, Julia conjures a hiding place. In the shadow of oppression, a clear conscience is a luxury few can afford, and Julia finds she must strike a series of hateful bargains with the new order if she and her husband are to survive.

A highly…


Book cover of The Lady in Gold: The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt's Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer

John R. Cammidge Author Of Abandoned in Berlin: A True Story

From my list on describing restitution experiences after WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

World War 2 has always interested me and my curiosity was strengthened a few years ago when my mother told me I was born illegitimate and my father had been the civil engineer building a nearby bomber airfield and a lodger with her parents. She was ashamed of what happened and lost contact with my father before I was born. Consequently, I wrote my first novel Unplanned. I then met the daughter of the Berlin mother in Abandoned in Berlin, and found it natural to pursue this story, given what I had discovered about my own upbringing. The effort has taught me to seek to forgive but never to forget.

John's book list on describing restitution experiences after WW2

John R. Cammidge Why did John love this book?

Here is a story of persistence and justice that inspired the movie Woman in Gold. By taking on the Austrian government, the portrait painted by Gustav Klint is eventually returned to its rightful owner. Once more we witness the reluctance of authorities to acknowledge what was perpetrated during Nazi times.

Taking place in Vienna, the events coincide with the experiences of the protagonist in my own book. The mother fled Germany in late 1937 and lived in Vienna until early 1941. She met her husband there, married him while he was in prison, heard that the Jewish children in her orphanage were killed, and witnessed her mother’s death. “It was the worst experience in my life,” she says.

I wish that the perseverance and outcome shown in this story could be mirrored in my own book, but rules introduced by West Germany in the 1950s make this impossible.…

By Anne-Marie O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The true story that inspired the movie Woman in Gold starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds. The Award-Winning Nazi Art Theft Saga
Winner of the Marfield National Award for Arts Writing
 Winner of a California Book Award
 Library Journal Top 10 Book of 2012 
 Christian Science Monitor Top 15 Nonfiction of 2012
 Best Huffington Post Art Book 2012
 Top 12 Nonfiction 2012 of Examiner.com

The spellbinding story, part fairy tale, part suspense, of Gustav Klimt's Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, one of the most emblematic portraits of its time; of the beautiful, seductive Viennese Jewish salon hostess who sat for it;…


Book cover of In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind

Peter A. Bamberger Author Of Exposing Pay: Pay Transparency and What It Means for Employees, Employers, and Public Policy

From my list on (mis)managing people at work.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been studying people at work for over 40 years, starting as an undergraduate at Cornell’s School of Labor Relations. As a student, I got involved with the trade union movement in the US, and worked as an assembly-line worker and fruit picker on kibbutzim in Israel. These hands-on experiences made me want to understand and have an impact on the way people spend most of their working hours. I’ve collected survey data from literally thousands of workers in dozens of studies conducted around the world. I’ve published more articles in scholarly journals than I ever imagined possible. And while I’m still passionate about the study of work, I’ve yet to really understand it.

Peter's book list on (mis)managing people at work

Peter A. Bamberger Why did Peter love this book?

Eric Kandel won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his seminal research on learning and memory. 

This book tells the highly personal story of his scientific journey, starting with his childhood as a Jew in Nazi-controlled Vienna, and his escape to the United States. Kandel explains in layman's terms the way in which organisms (he starts with snails!) remember and learn. How does this all link back to managing people? 

Great managers are – at their core – superb coaches. And great coaches need to understand the neuropsychology of learning – a super-complex process, but one explained by Kandel in terms we can all understand. 

By Eric R. Kandel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In Search of Memory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Memory binds our mental life together. We are who we are in large part because of what we learn and remember. But how does the brain create memories? Nobel Prize winner Eric R. Kandel intertwines the intellectual history of the powerful new science of the mind-a combination of cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and molecular biology-with his own personal quest to understand memory. A deft mixture of memoir and history, modern biology and behavior, In Search of Memory brings readers from Kandel's childhood in Nazi-occupied Vienna to the forefront of one of the great scientific endeavors of the twentieth century: the search…


Book cover of Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius

Alan Bollard Author Of Economists at War: How a Handful of Economists Helped Win and Lose the World Wars

From my list on how economists agree and disagree amongst each other.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an economics professor at Victoria University of Wellington. As a previous Secretary of the New Zealand Treasury and Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, I have had quite a bit of experience watching economists’ ideas succeed and fail in the real world. I have written a number of books about policy economists and their lives in peace and wartime. (And a couple of novels too!)

Alan's book list on how economists agree and disagree amongst each other

Alan Bollard Why did Alan love this book?

Under the headings of hope, fear, and confidence, Nasar takes us through the lives, the ideas, the failings, and arguments of several dozen economists, in a lively journalistic fashion. From the last chaotic days of Joseph Schumpeter’s failing post-war Vienna to Joan Robinson’s 1950s propaganda trip to Stalin’s Moscow, she gives us an illuminating view of history and what economists did to try to improve it.

By Sylvia Nasar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An instant New York Times bestseller, in a sweeping narrative the author of the esteemed A Beautiful Mind takes us on a journey through modern history with the men and women who changed the lives of every single person on the planet. Grand Pursuit is the epic story of the making of modern economics, of how economics rescued mankind from squalor and deprivation by placing its material fate in its own hands.

A New York Times bestseller, this sweeping narrative from the author of A Beautiful Mind takes us on a journey through modern history with the men and women…


Book cover of Am I a Redundant Human Being?

Kirsten Menger-Anderson Author Of Doctor Olaf Van Schuler's Brain

From my list on love, loss, and logic in 1930s Vienna.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first learned about life in 1930s Vienna from my grandfather’s memoir: Reminiscences of the Vienna Circle and the Mathematical Colloquium. I was fascinated by the time and place and began to read more about the era, which ultimately served as a setting for my forthcoming novel, The Expert of Subtle Revisions.

Kirsten's book list on love, loss, and logic in 1930s Vienna

Kirsten Menger-Anderson Why did Kirsten love this book?

Though written in the 1930s, Am I a Redundant Human Being? was not published until 2001, several decades after Hartwig’s death in 1967 (the English translation appeared in 2010).

The novel’s narrator, Aloisia Schmidt, reflects on her desire for external validation and a more exciting life, as well as the constant feeling of invisibility. Though she is only about thirty in 1930 Vienna, her ambition is constrained by disappointment, and the coming decade promises more of the same. 

By Mela Hartwig, Kerri A Pierce (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Am I a Redundant Human Being? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the first time in English, a contemporary and friend of Virginia Woolf and Stefan Zweig gives us the definitive portrait of a woman lost on the margins of modern life.


Book cover of The Wandering Jews

Ori Yehudai Author Of Leaving Zion: Jewish Emigration from Palestine and Israel after World War II

From my list on modern Jewish migration and displacement.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian at The Ohio State University. When I started my academic studies in Israel, I was initially interested in European history and only later began focusing on Jewish and Israeli history. I’m not exactly sure what attracted me to this career, but it’s probably the desire to better understand my own society and identity. I enjoy studying migration because it has played such an important role in Israeli and Jewish history, and even in my own life as an “academic wanderer.” Migration also provides a fascinating perspective on the links between large-scale historical events and the lives of individuals, and on the relationships between physical place, movement, and identity. 

Ori's book list on modern Jewish migration and displacement

Ori Yehudai Why did Ori love this book?

In this short book of essays, Joseph Roth, author of the great novel The Radetzky March, describes the efforts of Eastern European Jews to find new homes in the West following the turmoils of World War I and the Russian Revolution. Roth reports on interwar Jewish life in shtetls in Eastern Europe and in what he calls “ghettos in the West” such as Vienna, Berlin, and Paris, as well as in America and the Soviet Union. He writes with sympathy about “ordinary people” forced out of their homes at a time of growing restrictions on international movement and mounting animosity towards migrants in many countries. 

By Joseph Roth, Michael Hofmann (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Every few decades a book is published that shapes Jewish consciousness. One thinks of Wiesel's Night or Levi's Survival in Auschwitz. But in 1927, years before these works were written, Joseph Roth (1894-1939) composed The Wandering Jews. In these stunning dispatches written when Roth was a correspondent in Berlin during the whirlwind period of Weimar Germany, he warned of the false comforts of Jewish assimilation, laid bare the schism between Eastern and Western Jews, and at times prophesied the horrors posed by Nazism. The Wandering Jews remains as vital today as when it was first published. "[A] book of impassioned…


Book cover of July Crisis: The World's Descent into War, Summer 1914

Gordon Martel Author Of The Origins of the First World War

From my list on why the First World War happened.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

The First World War broke out in August 1914; by September 1914 articles and essays began to appear that defended – or attacked – the policies of the men responsible for the July Crisis. Books soon followed. And they have never stopped. No crisis in history has received more attention than that of July 1914. The topic, with its vast complexities, missed opportunities, and contradictory explanations, continues to fascinate us.

No book on the subject is more captivating than Thomas Otte’s day-by-day unravelling of the complicated diplomacy pursued by the statesmen of Europe. His mastery of the subject is impressive (he has written dozens of articles and essays on the diplomacy of prewar Europe) and his balanced treatment of the topic serves as a model of dispassionate scholarship.

By T. G. Otte,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a magisterial new account of Europe's tragic descent into a largely inadvertent war in the summer of 1914. Thomas Otte reveals why a century-old system of Great Power politics collapsed so disastrously in the weeks from the 'shot heard around the world' on June 28th to Germany's declaration of war on Russia on August 1st. He shows definitively that the key to understanding how and why Europe descended into world war is to be found in the near-collective failure of statecraft by the rulers of Europe and not in abstract concepts such as the 'balance of power' or…


Book cover of Airs Above the Ground

Mary Kendall Author Of The Spinster's Fortune

From my list on vintage gothic suspense by iconic authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sometimes I have to take a trip back to my reading "roots": gothic mystery and suspense. This list is a deep dive into some of my very favorite vintage gothic authors and ones that I consider to be icons of the genre. These writers formed the foundation not only for my reading tastes but also for who I have become as a writer. The memories of my younger self come flooding back when I revisit these authors and their works as I have done with this list. Some of these novels are hard to come by now but, in my opinion, the older and more beat-up paperback, the better. 

Mary's book list on vintage gothic suspense by iconic authors

Mary Kendall Why did Mary love this book?

Mary Stewart was such a huge talent. She wrote in more than one genre but I am most drawn to her gothic novels like this one.

The original vintage cover from 1965 presents what it is: 60s style, castle parapets (pivotal scene in novel), and that Fawcett Crest price tag!

(And can we just take a moment here to recognize that the original covers were always the best ones in this genre of reads?)

Stewart was a genius at spinning out a mystery that keeps the reader guessing. This novel is no exception to that and adds in that gothic flavor with just the right touch.

By Mary Stewart, Mary Stewart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A thrilling tale of adventure and deception set in 1950s Austria, from the queen of romantic suspense and author of Madam, Will You Talk?

'This zestful romantic adventure grips, amuses, frightens and delights' Sunday Telegraph

Vanessa March's husband Lewis is meant to be on a business trip in Stockholm. So why does he briefly appear in newsreel footage of a fire at a circus in Vienna, with his arm around another woman? Vanessa flies to Austria to find her husband - and inadvertently becomes involved in a mystery surrounding the famous dancing stallions of Austria's Spanish Riding School . .…


Book cover of Dressage Principals Based on Biomechanics

Ingrid Edisen Author Of A Bit of Murder: The Dressage Queen's Guide to Murder Series

From my list on riding dressage horses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have ridden horses for over sixty years. Regarding dressage riding specifically, I discovered that in the early 1980s and never looked back. The subject has held my attention since then in my work with my various horses. My preference has always been for classical dressage, not competition dressage. Any book that aims towards that is a winner for me. Formerly I wrote for a newspaper for twenty years, along with holding many other jobs in different professions. Now I write fiction based around the subject of the sport of dressage.

Ingrid's book list on riding dressage horses

Ingrid Edisen Why did Ingrid love this book?

I currently study under the Ritters. Dr. Ritter has published two books and this one is his master compendium. In it he explains the history of dressage plus offers a plethora of exercises and drills to help your horse become more supple and responsive. His explanation of stirrup stepping which has been known to be used at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna is extremely useful. 

By Thomas Ritter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dressage Principals Based on Biomechanics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Analyzed by an expert and accompanied by many practical examples, the ancient secrets of classical riding are presented here in a modern way Classical riding, in essence, is correct riding. It is how one should ride every time they get on a horse, and includes not just knowing how to ride, but all around knowledge of the horse as a species. Here, a thorough examination of classical riding is presented through accessible modern day examples. It also includes almost forgotten, yet essential, riding methods—such as the Bügeltritt (the position of the rider’s foot in the stirrup) or ridden work with…