Book look: Pre-WWI colour photography

A highly unusual and truly remarkable picture book has been released.

“Welt in Farbe. Farbfotografie vor dem Krieg” features 101 colour photographs taken before World War One. The images come from the archive of European pioneers of the art. Albert Kahn, a banker, and others supported photographers to create an archive of over 70,000 images taken all around the world.
“Welt in Farbe. Farbfotografie vor dem Krieg” – which is the catalogue of a current exhibit at the LVR-Landesmuseum Bonn – includes pictures of people wearing their traditional clothes to pose for the camera – with facial expressions which signalise that they are uncertain and feel anything but relaxed in their role.

The photographers portrayed market traders, tobacco plant workers and farmers in Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and several other countries. One picture shows thousands of Muslims praying outside a mosque in Delhi, India, while other photos offer astonishing differences concerning the housing architecture in Great Britain and rural Ireland.

Black and white photographs from the era of the First World War are nothing new to us. But this collection offers a fresh perspective on a world at the dawn of a disaster which will claim the lives of millions of soldiers and civilians.

Many books are already on sale and will be released in the coming months regarding World War One which started in 1914. No matter how precise and clever these non-fiction analyses of the war are or will be – the meaningfulness of the photographs featured in “Welt in Farbe. Farbfotografie vor dem Krieg” is hard to match.

Welt in Farbe. Farbfotografie vor dem Krieg
By Christoph Antweiler, Franziska Scheuer, Rebekka Welker and others
Published by Hatje Cantz (

Book look: Arthur Fürnhammer and Peter M. Mayr

Despite the frequent inclusion of the term ‘Espresso’ in their names, the cafes in Vienna’s former working class district have nothing in common with fine coffee and extravagant culinary offers. They do not represent the glitzy city famous in the world for its museums, composers like Johann Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, artists such as Gustav Klimt – and its posh cafes where great coffee and overpriced cake are served.

Arthur Fürnhammer, a Linz-born journalist who spent some years in New York, and photographer 1Peter M. Mayr focused on the often shabby cafes of areas once dominated by Austrians with low incomes. Now, as more and more migrants live in these districts, many native residents consider this type of coffeehouse as their retreat. They come here to speak with other regulars about their problems and fight against loneliness.

Xenophobic slogans are nothing unusual as an increasing number of people feel left alone and betrayed by decision-makers. For many, the cafes – of which some have hilarious names (“Cafe Jersey”, “Espresso Bambino”) – their personnel and guests have become a surrogate family. Austrian magazine profil described these Viennese pubs and bars as “cuddle-up zones” for their regulars. “Tschocherl-Report” portrays landlords and guests of “Vienna’s secret living rooms” where beer, cheap wine and conversations mean comfort.

By Arthur Fürnhammer and Peter M. Mayr
Published by Löcker (

Book look: Austrofred, spooky Austria and all those who really mattered

Extensive touring has dominated the past few years of the life of 1Austrian performer Austrofred. However, the singer – who skilfully combines Queen songs with the lyrics of popular Austrian tunes – also succeeded on television (“Hello Austrofred – Hello Vienna!”) and as a writer. He released his online diary as a book (“Ich rechne noch in Schilling”) as well as a fictitious correspondence with composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Du kannst dir deine Zauberflöte in den Arsch schieben”). Austrofred’s oeuvre even features an autobiography (“Alpenkönig und Menschenfreund”). In his latest release, a novel called “Hard On!”, the stage star writes about his thirst for revenge after his career almost came to a standstill thanks to harsh critics by incompetent journalists. Now – after uncountable concerts in sports halls on the Austrian countryside and at festivals like Vienna’s Donauinselfest – fans get to see their favourite rock star from a completely new perspective.

Hard On!
By Austrofred (
Published by Czernin (

Gabriele Hasmann, a journalist and ghostwriter, has once more teamed up with photographer Ursula Hepp to create a book about the mysterious side of Austria. Hasmann and Hepp previously cooperated concerning “Hexen, Heiler und Dämonen” and “Spuk in Österreich”. Hasmann also released “Spuk in Wien” which consists of tales about paranormal activities in Vienna. Now, with a Chinese proverb as her motto (“No one fears ghosts more than those who doubt their existence.”), she again concentrated on the whole country. In “Unheimliches Österreich. Mysteriöse Orte und Begegnungen”, readers discover scary stories about the Vienna State Opera, the city’s AKH clinic and other buildings in the capital. Furthermore, there are several stories about towns and villages in Lower Austria, Burgenland and Vorarlberg as well as two spooky chapters each about Carinthia, Tyrol and Salzburg.

Unheimliches Österreich. Mysteriöse Orte und Begegnungen
By Gabriele Hasmann and Ursula Hepp
Published by Ueberreuter (

With so much information by such a great number of sources available, the decisive question is who to trust and which providers of material to rely on. Now a renowned history professor from Germany presents his collection of short biographies of the most important personalities in world history. Udo Sautter’s 110-page release features portraits of 101 people. “Die 101 wichtigsten Personen der Weltgeschichte” includes texts about Genghis Khan, Christopher Columbus, William Shakespeare, Charles de Gaulle and many others. In chronological order, Sautter writes about politicians and scientists, but also philosophers, explorer and artists.

Die 101 wichtigsten Personen der Weltgeschichte
By Udo Sautter
Published by C.H. Beck (

Book look: 9/11, mysterious Vienna and magic moments in soccer

Anja Reich and Alexander Osang have written a very personal book about their 1experiences in New York on the 11th September 2001. Osang was working for Der Spiegel, a German magazine, at that time. He was in Manhattan when the terror attacks happened while his wife Anja and their kids waited for a call from him to hear he was fine at their home in Brooklyn. Reich provided articles for the Berliner Zeitung back then. She still writes for the newspaper while Osang continued his work for Der Spiegel as a reporter. He also wrote several novels like “Die Nachrichten” and “Königstorkinder”. The couple, who returned to Germany in the meantime, moved from Berlin to the United States in 1999. Critics such as the WDR, a German broadcasting company, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung unanimously praised their firmly non-political book as “exciting, touching and real” and as the “most stirring document” about 9/11.

Wo warst du? Ein Septembertag in New York
By Anja Reich and Alexander Osang
Published by Piper (

Gabriele Lukacs, an experienced tourist guide, has teamed up with Vienna-born photographer Sven Posch to create an extraordinary book about Vienna. In “Wien – Geheimnisse einer Stadt”, Lukacs deciphers secret messages strewn across the city’s houses, churches and monuments. She solves mysteries, examines previous events and checks whether there is any substance in the many urban myths which exist about the capital of Austria. Lukacs previously released “Geheimnisvolle Unterwelt von Wien” in which she also focuses on the federal capital’s mysterious side. In “Kraftorte im Waldviertel” and “Kraftorte im Weinviertel”, her focus was on rural Lower Austria. With her new book, she opens a new perspective on Vienna for all who think they know everything about the city.

Wien – Geheimnisse einer Stadt
By Gabriele Lukacs
Published by Pichler (

Thomas Lötz, the author of a book about football coach Peter Neururer and other sports publications, has collected the most bizarre moments in the history of soccer. The German sports journalist reveals anecdotes about stars like Pele, Paul Gascoigne and Eric Cantona. Several chapters of his new book are dedicated to occurrences in lower league matches on the countryside. Hilarious events such as the political career of a mascot and the fastest red card ever are recounted in “Die 99 skurrilsten Momente des Fußballs”. Furthermore, Lötz discloses how a ball found its way into the net after being deflected by a seagull – and he looks back at the day when Rudi Völler went nuts in a television studio. The German football star verbally attacked Waldemar Hartmann in a reaction to criticism of the German national team after a goalless draw against Iceland.

Die 99 skurrilsten Momente des Fußballs
By Thomas Lötz
Published by Delius Klasing (

Book look: Oliver Spiecker

More than 250,000 people attended a special Gottfried Helnwein exhibition at the Albertina, a Viennese gallery, this year. Now a German author released a protocol of his conversation with the controversial artist.

In “Malen heißt sich wehren”, Spiecker and Helnwein – who was influenced by growing up in the ultra-conservative Vienna of the 1950s – discuss various aspects of the latter’s artistic output but 1also very personal issues. Speaking of the circumstances in the Republic of Ireland at the time he settled in the country, Helnwein told Spiecker: “Fifteen years ago, Ireland was probably the freest country in the world. There was no bureaucracy whatsoever. No need to fill in any forms. No questions asked.”

Further on in their conversation, Helnwein shares his opinion on the economic boom of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ and the way Ireland and Europe handled the financial crisis. He also speaks about painting his first landscape portrait after decades in which he focused on pictures of wounded children.

Helnwein, who has residences in Ireland and Los Angeles, recently turned 65. His art has always caused public debates since his paintings and photographs show minors in disturbing poses, often smeared with blood or apparently injured by complex instruments. Adolf Hitler, Donald Duck and Marilyn Manson are other key figures of his oeuvre.

Asked by Spiecker – whose richly illustrated book features a foreword by Iris Berben – whether he was surprised by the Fritzl incest case, Helnwein explained: “Probably not as surprised as the international public. I know Austria. A country of cellars. Austria has always been like that.”

Malen heißt sich wehren
By Oliver Spiecker
Published by Edition Braus (

Book look: Ronald Reng

Numerous books have been released in the past months as the German Football Bundesliga turned 50. Gerhard Delling (“50 Jahre Bundesliga. Wie ich sie erlebte”), Nils Havemann (“Samstags um halb 4. Die Geschichte der Fußball-Bundesliga”) and many others wrote acclaimed books offering personal points of view but also interesting facts and many background stories about the league and its protagonists.
Now Piper, a Munich-based publishing house, presents Ronald Reng’s contribution to the anniversary. Reng previously created a fascinating portrait of a German keeper in the English Premier League (“Der Traumhüter”) and a moving biography of late Hannover 96 captain Robert Enke (“Robert Enke. Ein allzu kurzes Leben”).

For his new book “Spieltage. Die andere Geschichte der Bundesliga”, Reng focused on Heinz Höher, who has been a part of the league from the very beginning: as player, coach and scout.

“Spieltage. Die andere Geschichte der Bundesliga” is a tale of famous players, influential managers and arrogant club bosses smoking cigars in the players’ locker room. Reng’s book also documents the way the league has changed over the years – from a disputed pioneering project to a crucial economic factor offering first-class infrastructure, modern stadiums and great matches every weekend.

Spieltage. Die andere Geschichte der Bundesliga
By Ronald Reng
Published by Piper (

Book look: Lücker, licence plates and a new literature calendar

An experienced journalist and extreme climbing expert has written 1a fascinating book about the highest mountain in the world. In “Der höchste Berg. Traum und Albtraum Everest”, Walther Lücker tells from legendary climbers and the tourism which is increasingly flourishing at the Mount Everest. The former Frankfurter Rundschau reporter’s book also includes excellent photographs, one of them showing an exhausted Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner after returning from the 8,848-metre peak to the base camp. Furthermore, Lücker – who was born in the German city of Frankfurt and lives in South Tyrol, northern Italy – conducted several interviews for the book. Lücker spoke to Reinhold Messner, Hans Kammerlander and many others.

By Walther Lücker
Published by Malik (

“Autokennzeichen – Das Lexikon” is a collection of all of Germany’s licence plates. In this remarkable reference book, Ewald Lindner not only lists them in alphabetical order – from “A” like Augsburg to “ZZ” for Zeitz. He also gathered information about the towns and cities. The book also contains maps, pictures and a quiz – perfect to kill time during another traffic jam. “Autokennzeichen – Das Lexikon” consist of 450 pages. Produced as a paperback, it fits in every glove compartment.

Autokennzeichen – Das Lexikon
By Ewald Lindner
Published by Bassermann (

The Reclam Literaturkalender has a long history as next year’s edition – which is on sale as of now – is its 60th. Once more, the pocket-sized publication contains several black and white photographs and a large variety of extracts and manifold information about famous and less-well known authors. Anna Achmatova, Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger, Frank Wedekind and many other writers are portrayed this time around. Not all of the short texts included are in German. The team of editors also considered a few pages from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote.

Reclam Literaturkalender 2014
By Günter Baumann, Christine Jaegle and others
Published by Reclam (