Book look: war dramas, Willemsen and Prussia

“Verpasste Siege” tells from wrong decisions by and fatal misunderstandings among Austrian military leaders of the past centuries. In the new book, Hans-Dieter Otto recounts and analyses several decisive battles fought by troops of the Habsburg Empire and other former political leaderships of Austria. Some chapters of “Verpasste Siege” tell from occurrences in the 18th century while the most recent armed conflict mentioned in the book is World War One. Readers with substantial background knowledge will appreciate the accuracy of Otto’s writing. Interesting illustrations and informative maps are further assets of the book by the Berlin-born author whose 2003 release “Lexikon der Justizirrtümer” became a bestseller. “Verpasste Siege” is just the latest in a series of highly interesting publications by Residenz Verlag. It follows the release of Kurt Palm’s acclaimed novel “Die Besucher” and “Leopold Figl und seine Zeit”, a book about Austria’s first post-war chancellor by Hans Ströbitzer and Reinhard Linke.

Verpasste Siege. Tragische Niederlagen der österreichischen Kriegsgeschichte
By Hans-Dieter Otto
Published by Residenz Verlag (

Roger Willemsen has written a new book. After bestsellers such as “Deutschlandreise” and “Bangkok Noir”, the Bonn-born publicist, Willemsen focused on the small and major questions of life. The Grimme Award laureate – who published his first book 28 years ago before becoming the presenter of various TV shows on Germany’s biggest channels – writes about personal feelings, emotions and everyday occasions as well as changes in society. Once more, Willemsen makes it impossible to categorise his work which, thanks to his talent for great stories, wanders between the borders of classifications like essay and non-fiction. Readers will not be put off by this. They will, once more, rather endorse “Momentum” because of the author’s honest approach to sensitive issues and intimate experiences.

By Roger Willemsen
Published by S. Fischer Verlag (

In “Eine kleine Geschichte Preussens”, Eberhard Straub manages to summarise and explain 500 years of Prussian history on fewer than 200 pages and, as Jens Bisky emphasises in his foreword, he does so in a clear writing style. Bisky praises Straub’s decision not to give a verdict on the developments he describes in his book. The Neue Frankfurter Presse, a German newspaper, lauded the author – a historian and former Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung editor – for the same reasons. Several other books about Prussia and his emperor Friedrich der Große (Frederick II) have been released over the past few months to mark the 300th anniversary of the king’s birthday. “Eine kleine Geschichte Preussens” – now out by Stuttgart-based publishing house Klett-Cotta is a fine introduction into the matter. Straub’s book helps readers interested in history to get an overview of the often complex occurrences in the now defunct empire.

Eine kleine Geschichte Preussens
By Eberhard Straub
Published by Klett-Cotta (

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