Book: The World of Yesterday: An Autobiography


If only Zweig, who committed suicide with his wife in Brazil after being driven from his native Austria by the Nazis, could have summoned the energy to continue for a few more years he could have witnessed the downfall of Hitler and the rebirth of his homeland. But perhaps seeing his beloved Europe descend into madness twice in one lifetime (he also lived through World War I) was simply more than he could bear.

In this memoir he recounts the ways of Vienna and Europe at the close of the Hapsburg Empire, World War I, the peace between the wars, and the coming of World War II. He knew an amazing array of the greatest writers of the time and portrays them in loving detail.

Of his own life he tells very little, so I suppose the book fails as a true memoir. But as a window into a lost world it is magnificent.

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