Four years before he published Ten Days That Shook the World, his epic account of the Bolshevik Revolution, the American journalist John Reed traveled to the Balkans in 1915 to cover the First World War. After journeying into the dark heart of the conflict, he would return to Romania, where the war had not yet arrived. There, holed up in Bucharest’s Athénée Palace Hotel, Reed wrote his dispatches and his book The War in Eastern Europe.
Reed loved the Athénée Palace. From his room “high up in the dazzling neo-French façade,” he had a spectacular view of Romania’s capital city. On his left was the Ateneul, the city’s ornately domed neoclassical concert hall. On the right stood the royal palace. Beyond that was a vista of “red-tile roofs and white-stone copings … palaces and mansions and hotels of the most florid modern French style, with an occasional Oriental dome or the bulb of a Rumanian Greek Church.”