""The Radetzky March is one of the most readable, poignant, and superb novels in twentieth-century German; it stands with the best of Thomas Mann, Alfred Doblin, and Robert Musil. Joseph Roth was a cultural monument of Galician Jewry: ironic, compassionate, perfectly pitched to his catastrophic era."
Joseph Roth, Austrian-Jewish novelist, was born in 1894 near Lemberg in Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, now in Ukraine. He studied at Vienna University and in the years following World War I worked in Vienna, Berlin and Munich as a journalist, mostly for left-wing publications, which involved him in extensive European travel. He also began to write novels. For most of his life he had no fixed abode, preferring hotel rooms and writing at caf tables. In 1932 his masterpiece, The Radetzky March, was published. In 1933 when Hitler came to power his position became dangerous and he moved to Paris; his books were amongst those burnt by the Nazis that year. He continued to travel and to write, but began to suffer poor health - partly as a result of alcoholism. He died prematurely in 1939.