Joseph Roth was born into a Jewish family in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and served in the Imperial army in World War I. After the war, he became a journalist and travelled widely, including making numerous trips to Russia. During this period, he wrote several novels, novellas, and volumes of short stories. He became a star correspondent for the Frankfurter Zeitung, and in 1932 published his masterpiece, The Radetzky March. As a Jew, a leftist, and an outspoken critic of Nazism, he knew he had to flee Germany on January 30, 1933, the day the Nazis took power -- never to return. Thereafter, he lived hand-to-mouth working as a journalist alternately in Amsterdam and Paris. He died in the latter city in alcoholism and poverty in 1939.