Frederic Morton

Morton headshot
Born Fritz Mandelbaum in Vienna, Frederic Morton (1924-2015) fled to London with his family in 1939 after Hitler’s 1938 Anschluss of Austria and the family settled in New York, where Frederic’s father, who had owned a factory supplying belt buckles to the Austrian army, changed his last name to Morton to join an anti-Semitic union. Morton learned to be a baker in a trade school before earning a bachelor’s degree from City College of New York in 1947 and a master’s degree from the New School for Social Research in 1949; he also attended Columbia University.

Morton always wrote in English. His first novel was
The Hound (1947) about a privileged youth in 1939 Vienna, followed by other novels including The Schatten Affair (1965) about a German-born American Jew who returns to Berlin as the publicist for a financier, Snow Gods (1969) about wealthy habitués of a resort in the Swiss Alps, An Unknown Woman (1976) about a brilliant orphan of Jewish immigrants who ascends to intellectual celebrity and financial riches, and The Forever Street (1984), a family saga set in Vienna over three generations until World War II.

His books of non-fiction include
The Rothschilds (1962), a National Book Award finalist about the banking family turned into a musical in 1970 which ran for over 500 performances on Broadway; A Nervous Splendor: Vienna, 1888-1889 (1979) about the life of the city — including Freud, Mahler, Klimt, Schnitzler, Bruckner and Herzl — and the murder by Crown Prince Rudolf of his mistress and his suicide at Mayerling, also a National Book Award finalist turned into a musical staged in Budapest and Vienna; Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913-14 (1989) about the city as Europe heads toward World War I; and a memoir, Runaway Waltz (2005).

Morton also wrote for many publications, including
Esquire, The Atlantic, Playboy, Harper’s, the Hudson Review and The New York Times. He received Austria’s Cross of Honor for Arts and Sciences in 2003.

Click on each cover for details about each eBook:

A Nervous Splendor eBook cover The Rothschilds eBook cover for PLP site