×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Vienna I Knew: Memories of a European Childhood
     

The Vienna I Knew: Memories of a European Childhood

by Joseph Wechsberg
 

See All Formats & Editions

Wechsberg’s memoir of pre-World War II mittel-Europa recounts with charm and irony life in the dying Habsburg Empire, family stories of wealth gained and lost, the subtleties of coffeehouse culture and the dynamics of Viennese society where one “is at the same time an actor, his own audience, and his own critic.”

“[His] early

Overview

Wechsberg’s memoir of pre-World War II mittel-Europa recounts with charm and irony life in the dying Habsburg Empire, family stories of wealth gained and lost, the subtleties of coffeehouse culture and the dynamics of Viennese society where one “is at the same time an actor, his own audience, and his own critic.”

“[His] early childhood reads like an idyll […] so that while other writers may recall the last years of this ancien régime as constricting, Wechsberg remembers them as kindly and easygoing if sometimes philistine and stuffy. However, his father was killed in action on the Russian front very soon after the start of the First World War, and his mother, having invested her inheritance in government bonds, was impoverished when the government lost the war and was dissolved. Yet this is in no way a mournful book: young Wechsberg found the pre-war years entertaining, and his inquiring, wry mind makes the post-war years equally so. His account of a visit in the twenties to rich relatives in Vienna, describing his provincial bewilderment at their cosmopolitan luxury, is very funny; it is also excellent social history, and everybody in the story — for example, the chauffeur, whom Wechsberg found the most comprehensible member of the ménage — comes alive for us. Though Wechsberg can remember himself as a country cousin, his memoirs are urbanity itself.” — The New Yorker (July 30, 1979)

Product Details

BN ID:
2940015870381
Publisher:
Plunkett Lake Press
Publication date:
11/10/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
263
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Joseph Wechsberg (1907-1983) was born to Jewish parents in Ostrava, Moravia, a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His grandfather had been a prosperous banker, but the family assets were lost in World War I. Wechsberg attended Prague University Law School, Vienna’s State Academy of Music, and the Sorbonne. A lawyer for a short while, he worked as a musician on ocean liners and played the violin in Paris nightclubs. In Prague, he became a reporter for the Prager Tagblatt. In 1938 he was a lieutenant in the Czechoslovak army commanding a machine gun company on the Polish frontier and was sent with his wife to the United States to discuss the Sudeten crisis. Both requested asylum after World War II broke out. In 1939, Wechsberg knew only a few hundred words in English, but decided he would someday write for The New Yorker. In 1943, he was drafted into the US Army and sent to Europe as a technical sergeant in psychological warfare. His account of getting back to Ostrava was the first of over one hundred pieces for The New Yorker over three decades — profiles of Artur Rubinstein, Isaac Stern, George Szell, of merchant bankers and of great French restaurateurs, and letters from Berlin, Karlsbad, Bonn, Vienna, Trieste, Budapest, Belgrade, Ankara, Bucharest, Warsaw, Athens, and Baghdad. He also contributed hundreds of articles to magazines such as Gourmet, Esquire, Playboy, The Atlantic and The Saturday Evening Post and wrote features on cuisine and travel throughout Europe.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews