26/02/2014

1913 (book review)

Florian Illies
S. Fischer, 2012

Altough I have read some books recently, I didn't post book reviews lately. But now I do! In 2014, it's 100 years after the outbreak of The Great War or World War I. As I lack in depth knowledge of this huge war, I decided to read some books about it. Well, the first isn't about the war itself, it's about the year before.

German journalist Florian Illies, gave his book 1913 the subtitle the year before the storm. He describes life and society in the big European cities like Vienna, Berlin, Munich and Paris. He does so systematically: each chapter is about one month. Many well known people are mentioned. Examples are Freud, Kafka and Picasso but also Hitler, Stalin and Tito. In every chapter, Illies mentions the hunt for the Mona Lisa which was stolen in 1911.

To be honest, I'm not that interested in the work or love life of artists. Nevertheless, I like this book. Illies manages to describe the way of thinking early in the 20th century. It was wide agreed, war was not an option those days. The monarchists were all family of each other. Moreover the economic merits were too high. How wrong were these people! The book is well written and easy to read.

For those interested in the war itself, I wrote a book review of The First Wold War and The Sleepwalkers.

Keep on reading!

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