"A fascinating new structure of writing... With exceptional wit and understanding, Illies shows the societal and cultural changes propelling man toward modern art, new thought processes and war."
—Kirkus, STARRED REVIEW
"An utterly delicious treat or an ideal present for anyone even mildly interested in 20th-century art, music and literature....a sexy, comic and occasionally heartbreaking soap opera.... an irresistible book, excellently translated and packed with factoids and surprising encounters."
—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
"Illies’s stylish evocation of 1913 is thrilling entertainment for those who have heard it all before but wish to experience—one more time, perhaps—the bleary-eyed ecstasy that is the result of staying up all night reading a book in one sitting."
—The Weekly Standard
“Interactive and full of vigorous energy as moments intertwine, and connections one rarely contemplates in the same context are finally connected... With confidence the text reverberates through the following years by offering a new perspective on the roots of the 20th century... A welcome presence on any book shelf."
“The rich range of subjects, the vibrancy of the writing, here translated by Whiteside and Searle, and the intimate details of the biographies all make this a fast-paced and engrossing read… Highly recommended.”
—Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
“Already an international bestseller, German author Florian Illies’s 1913: The Year Before the Storm is an absolute gem of a book. His snapshot approach to the year, recorded month by month, is the most original historical account I’ve come across . . . Illies’ genius turn of phrase, beautifully retained by Shaun Whiteside and Jamie Lee Searle’s elegant translation, can be found throughout . . . The entries read like history’s footnotes, but as anyone who’s read Freud knows, the footnotes always tell the best story.” —Lucy Scholes, The Observer
“An entertaining and illuminating study.” —Shirley Whiteside, The Independent
“A hugely enjoyable idiosyncratic month-by-month narrative, in which the frenzy of artistic activity in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, and Trieste is conveyed with vigour and humour.” —Juliet Nicolson, The Daily Telegraph
“A vivid, richly textured book that chronicles a world crackling with talent, energy and foreboding. The pace and scale of activity is at times breathtaking . . . Illies’ talent is to weave all this together in a way that keeps the reader with him.” —The Financial Times
“This highly entertaining month-by-month account of 1913 . . . is rich in detail, humour and vivid pen portraits . . . 1913 is the best possible holiday read—or gift—as it is so enjoyable, yet the breadth of information and astute insight will prevent one feeling guilty of indulgence.” —Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
“Illies is as astute a researcher as he is an observer of the zeitgeist . . . Reads like something out of a magic realist novel.” —The Guardian
“Illies shapes his material not as a scholar, but as a wordsmith, as a story-teller with a strong sense for dramatic effect and composition . . . The most enjoyable book I’ve read in years.” —Die Welt