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The World of Yesterday by [Zweig, Stefan]
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The World of Yesterday Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Review

The World of Yesterday is one of the greatest memoirs of the twentieth century, as perfect in its evocation of the world Zweig loved, as it is in its portrayal of how that world was destroyed (David Hare)

This absolutely extraordinary book is more than just an autobiography. (...) This is a book that should be read by anyone who is even slightly interested in the creative imagination and the intellectual life, the brute force of history upon individual lives, the possibility of culture and, quite simply, what it meant to be alive between 1881 and 1942. That should cover a fair number of you (Nicholas Lezard)

His memoir, The World of Yesterday, is one of his best works, a marvellous recapturing of a Europe that Hitler and his thugs destroyed. Zweig seems to have known everyone, and writes about the great figures of his day with insight, sympathy and, most unusually for a writer, modesty (John Banville)

Review

"The autobiography of the internationally famous biographer and dramatist is a chronicle of three ages: the golden days of Vienna that ended with Word War I; that war and its aftermath; and the Hitler years. The three ages do come to life in Zweig's book." Publishers Weekly "The very success with which this book evokes both the beauty of the past and the fatality of its passing is what gives it tragic effectiveness. It is not so much a memoir of a life as it is the memento of an age, and the author seems, in his own phrase, to be the narrator at an illustrated lecture. The illustrations are provided by time, but his choice is brilliant and the narration is evocative." The New Republic

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1197 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Pushkin Press (1 Jan. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006WV3G4I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #124,930 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In the Introduction to his book Stefan Zweig rightly says that no generation in recent times had undergone such a series of cataclysms, each breaking bridges with an earlier period, as had his own. He had lived not only in one world of yesterday, but in several, and it is these worlds he sets out to describe.

He was born, a Jew, in 1881 into a cosmopolitan and tolerant Vienna and into a world of utter political and economic security, confident in steady progress in society and in science. It knew the douceur de vivre (except that unmarried young men and especially young women led a sexual life which could find an outlet only in prostitution), and where culture - no longer under the patronage of the Court, but under that of the Jewish bourgeoisie - was more honoured throughout society than was wealth. The culture of the older generation was challenged by the avant-garde, with which Zweig and his fellow-students, even while still schoolboys in a stultifying educational system, were knowledgeably, passionately and actively engaged. Hugo von Hoffmansthal and Rilke were their lodestars. The universities were little better: Zweig was only a nominal student at the universities of Vienna and Berlin: his real intellectual life lay elsewhere. Already at the age of 19 he had the first of several articles accepted for the feuilleton section of the prestigious Neue Freie Presse in Vienna (of whose editor, Theodore Herzl, he gives a wonderful account). In Berlin he was looking for (and found) a wider circle - socially and intellectually - than in the somewhat inbred bourgeois and mainly Jewish milieu in which he had moved in Vienna.
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By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
Zweig's aim was to compose an eyewitness report on the first part of the twentieth century in order to save the horrendous truth for the next generations.

It is a shocking report about what he calls the 'Apocalypse': terror, war, revolutions, inflation, famine, epidemics, emigration, the rise of bolshevism, fascism and the most horrific plague of all: nationalism.

He gives us a compelling story of contrasts: the soldiers in the trenches and the arms merchants with their luxury life; English unemployed in five star hotels in Salzburg because they could afford a luxury life on the continent with their unemployment benefits; the brothels and the suicides because of syphilis (Eros Matutina); and the desertion of the Kaiser as a thief in the night at the end of the war, after driving millions of his compatriots into a certain death.

He also relates his encounters with fellow writers like Gide, Rolland, Rilke or Verhaeren.

A moving, outspoken, penetrating and emotional report.

A masterpiece.
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Format: Paperback
This is a lovely book. Stefan Zweig included the words `An Autobiography...' in its sub-title. True, but the subject of this autobiography is not he but Europe. He deliberately gave none but the barest personal account of himself or any of his friends.
Half the book is concerned with the Europe from 1895 to 1914. The son of a prosperous Jewish family, Zweig grew up in the Vienna of God and the Emperor Franz Josef. Being Jewish then was incidental to being Viennese. It was a city where opera, theatre and music were the basis of everyday life; news of catastrophes elsewhere did not penetrate the Viennese well-padded existence. The Austro-Hungarian empire's lingual and national differences were harmonised by the common love of music.
On leaving school, Zweig determined on a literary career and, while he travelled around Europe, rejoiced in the differences between countries. The Viennese landlady would always be helpful but not obsessed with tidiness, whereas in Berlin his apartment was spotlessly maintained by the Prussian landlady, who never forgot to add two pfennigs to his bill if she sewed a button on his trousers. Paris during the Belle Époque was a city for the young. There, they breathed the very atmosphere of youth. Like every young man who spent a year there, Zweig carried away an incomparably happy memory that lasted for all his time. London by contrast was polite and, if the truth were known, a bit stuffy.
Europe before the War may have been golden, but it was not Eden. European nations had become increasingly prosperous over the previous forty years. However the position of women had scarcely advanced. Even wealthy women were constrained by the dictate of fashion's handicapping their physical mobility.
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Format: Paperback
For me the best book of all times. Zweig "World of Yesterday" is an unforgettable classic, witch should be mandatory in any high school. The best-selling writer in "yesterday world", world of Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Mann and any other great writers, he could be happy that his work is not granted in "today world", world of Harry Potter, and similar books.
This book is much more then autobiography, it's a story of one time, it's a vivid, moving and nostalgic portrayal of Europe before wars, it's a story about intellectual brotherhood witch tried to prevent nationalistic madness that destroyed the Europe and the World, twice.
It is a story about what Zweig calls the "Apocalypse": war, revolutions, inflation, famine, epidemics, emigration, the rise of bolshevism, fascism and the most horrific of all: nationalism.
Zweig commits a suicide after he finished this work (1942), he stay in "World of Yesterday".
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