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  • The vividly written and well-researched The Fortress is a masterpiece. It deserves to become a classic of military history.

    Lawrence James, The Times
  • If you read one military history book this year, make it Alexander Watson's The Fortress.

    Tony Barber, Financial Times Summer Books of 2020
  • Superb, revelatory, haunting ... he brings the suffocating, cataclysmic siege burningly alive ... It is excellent history, a marvellously readable, though tragic, story of its time and of how the clock can be made to turn backwards under siege conditions.

    Julian Evans, Daily Telegraph
  • Alexander Watson tells this story beautifully, giving the reader a vivid sense of the city ... His exposure of the breathtaking incompetence of the Austrian high command is both shocking and hilarious; his wit and keen sense of the ridiculous alternate with his evident compassion in describing this black farce ... This is a hugely enjoyable book that anyone seeking to make sense of the dark side of 20th-century Europe would do well to read.

    Adam Zamoyski, Literary Review
  • Brilliantly researched and superbly written ... Pryzemysl offered a bleak preview of what was coming: nationalism, anti-Semitism and a whirlwind of hatred. Grim stuff, but magnificently done.

    Dominic Sandbrook, BBC History Magazine
  • Marvellous ... Watson uses the fortress city like a jeweller's glass to show how war distorted and transformed the pre-war civilian world ... Watson's splendid book combines great evocative power (and flashes of sharp humour) with the ethical authority of the best history writing.

    Christopher Clark, The Guardian
  • Gripping ... Watson's book is an impressive telling of a story almost entirely unknown, and it makes clear how much we have yet to learn about the first world war away from the western front.

    Mark Mazower, Financial Times

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