Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Book Movie Suggestions for Prague, Vienna and Budapest (

CLBtravel Jan 18th, 2018 11:04 AM

Book Movie Suggestions for Prague, Vienna and Budapest
I will use guidebooks to plan trip itself to Prague, Vienna and Budapest but wonder if anyone has suggestions for good books (history, memoir, travel, novels, etc.) that would give me background before the trip. I've almost finished Danubia: A Personal History of the Habsburg Empire by Simon Winder and The Accidental Empress: Sisi #1 by Allison Pataki. Enjoyed Czech movie, Zelary. History and art are my main interests. Thanks!

bakerstreet Jan 18th, 2018 11:43 AM

When we were in Vienna this summer our guide talked about the movie "The Third Man" and I think there's even a theater in the city that shows it. It's apparently set in Vienna. Haven't seen it myself, though. Stars Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Trevor Howard (1949).

thursdaysd Jan 18th, 2018 12:57 PM

If you are interested in history as much as contemporary works you might look for:

"A Time of Gifts" by Patrick Leigh Fermor, for Vienna and Prague
"Between the Woods and the Water" ditto, for Budapest

unclegus Jan 19th, 2018 03:08 AM

The Good Soldier Svejk and his adventures in the Great War by Jaroslav Hasek ,illustrations by Josef Lada , great insight in to the humour of the Czech people and their love of dogs.

RM67 Jan 19th, 2018 03:53 AM

Any WWII film made within the last 20 years will almost certainly have been shot (at least in part) in Budapest, as a double for Berlin. So that's an (admittedly indirect!) way of getting a feel for the city!

StCirq Jan 19th, 2018 04:51 AM

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, or anything else by Milan Kundera.

fourfortravel Jan 19th, 2018 04:56 AM

Kudos to you for almost finishing Danubiana! I couldn't do it. :)

Perhaps, "The Woman in Gold" movie for Vienna? "The Pornographer of Vienna" to read if you are into Egon Schiele; and "The Radetzky March" for the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. "The Hare with Amber Eyes" is good, too. "Waiting for Sunrise," though, left me "waiting" for the storyline to develop.

CLBtravel Jan 19th, 2018 10:18 AM

Danubia would be a much better book if a good editor had condensed it by about 200 pages. But I've learned a lot from it. Thanks for your suggestions; I've checked out The Woman in Gold from my library for this weekend.

5alive Jan 20th, 2018 05:03 PM

For Prague, I would strongly suggest Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright.

farrermog Jan 20th, 2018 06:29 PM

Check out Norman Davies' books.

Claudio Magris' Danube.

Watch reruns of those televised New Year's Day Concerts presented by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra with intermission performances, usually dance, showing the attractions of Vienna.

casperjj Mar 30th, 2018 12:21 PM

I just finished reading Enemies of the People by Kati Marton. Its a story about her young life and that of her parents in Communist Budapest. Highly recommend it.

barefootbeach Apr 18th, 2018 06:08 PM

Just finished "hearing" the Audible book The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman. The story is primarily a story of star-crossed lovers separated by WWII set initially in Prague...with much of the plot taking place in Terezin, the "showcase" concentration camp where the heroine works creating art for the Nazi's. It's a bit of a "chick" book with passages of rapturous love but my husband enjoyed it as well, and there is a big emphasis on the artworks that were created to expose what was happening in the camps.

barefootbeach Apr 18th, 2018 06:19 PM

I haven't read these yet, but I've also picked up a collection of short stories by Czech authors, Prague: A Traveler's Literary Companion edited by Paul Wilson, Black Lamb & Grey Falcon by Rebecca West, dealing with the old Yugoslavia, and non-fiction, Eastern Europe: Everything You need to Know About the History (and more) of a Region that Shaped our World and Still Does by Tomek Jankowski.

kitbag Apr 18th, 2018 06:24 PM

This is worth watching

and this forgotten Alfred Hitchcock movie is silly beyond words, but quite a curio

kitbag Apr 18th, 2018 06:28 PM

edited to delete

kitbag Apr 18th, 2018 06:33 PM

Originally Posted by fourfortravel (Post 16654416)
. "Waiting for Sunrise," though, left me "waiting" for the storyline to develop.

Do you mean the movie "Before Sunrise", with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, which is entirely set in modern Vienna?

CLBtravel Apr 22nd, 2018 12:33 PM

Thanks -- this did give a lot of insight into Czech 20th century history.

CLBtravel Apr 22nd, 2018 12:46 PM

I'm making progress on all these suggestions and have found other titles also. The movie Woman in Gold and Madeline Albright's memoir, Prague Winter, both excellent. I listened to both of the "Sisi" novels by Alison Pataki. Enjoyed the graphic memoir by Peter Sis, a Caldecott award winning illustrator, titled The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain.
Also enjoyed Embers, a literary novel by the Hungarian author Sandor Marai, and The Glass Room, a historical novel by Simon Mawer set in the 1930s Czechoslovakia (house based on the Villa Tugendhat, now a UNESCO heritage site.

5alive Apr 23rd, 2018 01:13 PM

I'm glad you liked Prague Winter. I should read some of these other suggestions too.

giro May 27th, 2018 06:23 PM

You might be interested in reading The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman. This novel is set in war time Prague and Terezin concentration camp. (I would also recommend a tour of this Nazi “show” camp.)

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:06 AM.