was first published in 1939. In its seventieth anniversary year, Faber Finds is proud to reissue it.
G. E. R. Gedye was a journalist, and more to the point, in the words of Hugh Greene, 'That Gedye was the greatest British foreign correspondent of the inter-war years can hardly be disputed'.
Fallen Bastions is his angriest and possibly his greatest book. From his vantage point of Vienna, where he was central European correspondent for a number of newspapers from 1925 to 1939, he saw the evils of Nazism earlier than most. The book, in a vivid and compelling narrative, charts the inexorable descent to the Nazi invasion of Austria, the Anschluss, and finishes with the equally infamous piece of irredentism, the occupation of the Sudetenland in the Czechoslovak Republic.
The book is a phillipic against not just Nazism but also the policy of appeasement, to the extent that the Daily Telegraph (not greatly in favour of appeasement, it must be admitted), sacked him. The editor announced he had resigned by 'mutual consent'. 'That', Gedye sardonically commented, 'is corrrect. It is equally correct that Herr Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia by ''mutual consent'' with President Hacha.'
Seldom can a subtitle - The Central European Tragedy - have been more apt, and seldom has it been told with more verve.
Journalist Misha Glenny writes:
Fallen Bastions was the first book I read when I arrived in Vienna in early 1986. Gedye's description of how a fluffy, excessively polite little nation like the Austrians turned into a monstrous regiment of killers as the influence of Nazism spread from Germany to Austria and then Czechoslovakia is an unrivalled piece of political reporting.
Gedye's intelligent anger, all the more powerful for his controlled and elegant style, reveals with extraordinary precision the social and psychological mechanisms that produced Europe's most inglorious episode.
As I then watched the Fall of Communism and the descent of Yugoslavia into war, Fallen Bastions was my constant companion - a reminder of how a true master would report upheavals and cataclysm in central Europe.
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