Austrian writer and peace activist Bertha von Suttner was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. As founder of the Austrian and German Peace Associations and the author of a number of novels and several works on peace, von Suttner's name became synonymous worldwide with peace activism and protest against old world order. Ironically, her death eight days before the outbreak of World War I was seen by her contemporaries as a symbolic end of the possibility for world peace. In Bertha von Suttner, Brigitte Hamann has written the most comprehensive biography of the celebrated journalist - translated into English by Ann Dubsky - tracing not only von Suttner's life and work but spanning the political and social frontier of Austria on the eve of World War I. Von Suttner's novel Die Waffen Nieder! (Lay Down Your Arms!), published in 1899, was a bestseller and brought her international acclaim. Indeed, Tolstoy compared her technique of rallying readers to her cause to that of Harriet Beecher Stowe in Uncle Tom's Cabin for the emancipation of American slaves. Her lectures on peace and disarmament took her throughout Europe and the United States, where she formed close friendships with Andrew Carnegie, Alfred Nobel, Theodor Herzl, and Albert I of Monaco. As her conviction to initiate peace movements deepened, so her books became more impassioned. Her dictum, "universal sisterhood is necessary before the universal brotherhood is possible," demonstrated that her concerns extended beyond the peace movement to include women's issues and many social causes, making von Suttner's work quite relevant at the close of the twentieth century.
A biography tracing the Austrian activist's life and work within the context of the political and social conditions of Austria on the eve of WWI, drawing on diaries, letters, and previously unavailable archival materials. Includes b&w photos. Paper edition (unseen), $17.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)