Books: Fast Company

THE LOST CITY by John Gunther. 594 pages. Harper & Row. $5.95.

For a brash young Chicago Daily News correspondent named John Gunther, Vienna in the early '30s was about the most exciting assignment on earth. The city was charmed and doomed, as elegant, perverse and scandal loving as an aging archduchess. Though tiny post-Versailles Austria (pop. 6,760,000) teetered perennially on the edge of bankruptcy, the ancient Hapsburg capital was still the political and financial nerve center of the Balkans. As Europe slid into the chaos of depression and approaching war, the Viennese reveled in the musicmaking of Richard Strauss, Lotte Lehman...

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