Format Hardcover
Publication Date 08/02/22
ISBN 9781639361953
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 464

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The Crossroads of Civilization

A History of Vienna

Angus Robertson

A rich and illuminating history of the world capital that has transformed art, culture, and politics.

Vienna is unique amongst world capitals in its consistent international importance over the centuries. From the ascent of the Habsburgs as Europe's leading dynasty to the Congress of Vienna, which reordered Europe in the wake of Napoleon's downfall, to bridge-building summits during the Cold War, Vienna has been the scene of key moments in world history.

Scores of pivotal figures were influenced by their time in Vienna, including: Empress Maria Theresa, Count Metternich, Bertha von Suttner, Theodore Herzl, Gustav Mahler, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, John F. Kennedy, and many others. In a city of great composers, artists, and thinkers, it is here that both the most positive and destructive ideas of recent history have developed.

From its time as the capital of an imperial superpower, through war, dissolution, dictatorship to democracy Vienna has reinvented itself and its relevance to the rest of the world.

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Endorsements & Reviews

"While there are innumerable histories of Paris, London, or Berlin, there are comparably few of Vienna, which after reading The Crossroads of Civilization is all the more remarkable. Vienna is indeed a crossroads for so much and so many. This is the story that Robertson tells in such a vivid and enthusiastic fashion. In the end, the greatest joy of Robertson’s book is his palpable joy and fascination with his subject. Robertson pens a love letter to Vienna, a city he so thoroughly enjoys."

The Diplomatic Courier
"[Angus Robertson's] love for the city is apparent in this panoramic account of Vienna as a cultural, intellectual, and political capital of Europe." The New Criterion
"[Angus Robertson ]has written a thoroughly enjoyable history of Vienna which is both accurate and entertaining. A journalist, former British MP, and currently a Scottish cabinet secretary, he writes with both detail and panache about compelling people and events that deserve better than mere mention en passant. His history capably illustrates how the city’s conservative past evolved into a problematic modernity. The Crossroads of Civilization is comprehensive about its various transformations without straying into the exhaustive." The Arts Fuse
"Scottish MP Robertson, a former broadcast journalist based in Vienna, debuts with a sweeping history of the Austrian capital from its ancient Roman roots to the present day....This sparkling history enlightens and entertains." Publishers Weekly
"Robertson leads readers through the labyrinthine politics associated with the city and notes the many famous figures—Mozart, Freud, Hitler, Stalin, Mahler, Klimt—who lived there at one time or another. Robertson does a good job of keeping the complicated narrative straight...A pleasing mix of epic sweep and meticulous research." Kirkus Reviews
"Serious scholars of Viennese or European history could hardly find a more thorough resource."

Library Journal
"What an enjoyable cosmopolitan and exuberant celebration of Vienna by a someone who really knows and loves that great city.” Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem and The Romanovs
“An astonishingly comprehensive survey of the history of Vienna… ambitious, panoramic, and full of fascinating detail. Robertson’s love for the city is obvious on every page.” The Scotsman
"Robertson, with his intimate knowledge of the city, has brilliantly chronicled Vienna's history through the centuries and illustrated it with innumerable vignettes from contemporary observers. He has succeeded in painting a thoroughly enjoyable portrait of a great international capital.” Hella Pick, author of Invisible Walls and Guilty Victims
“Thanks to Angus Robertson the Viennese now have a rollicking historical tribute to Vienna’s pivotal role through the ages—from Roman times to the modern day via the Habsburgs and Hitler. Clearly smitten with his adopted city, Robertson carefully selects colorful contemporary accounts to bring the past to life, while importantly not shying away from Vienna’s darker moments.” Katya Adler, BBC Europe Editor