Book look: Innsbruck, Russia and Europe

“You do not need screwdrivers, a hammer and nails to build 1a time machine,” says Christine Oppitz-Plörer, the mayor of Innsbruck, in her foreword for a new book. City historian and director of the Innsbruck archive and city museum Lukas Morscher has released his third book about life in the provincial capital of Tyrol. After focusing on the period between 1880 and 1930 in 2011 and releasing a book about life in Innsbruck from 1930 to 1980 one year later, Morscher now portrays the daily routines and special events of people between 1830 and 1880. It is fascinating to see how life used to be for the inhabitants of Innsbruck many years before the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy. Morscher examined many documents and newspaper reports to create a comprehensive picture of the era. Oppitz-Plörer points out that some of the 200 photographs, paintings and maps in the book have not been published before. She concludes: “Lukas Morscher enables readers to go on an expedition throughout five decades.”

Innsbrucker Alltagsleben 1830-1880
By Lukas Morscher
Published by Haymon (www.haymonverlag.at)

On 600 pages, Dietmar Neutatz 2tells, investigates and analyses the recent history of Russia. The historian’s new book – now out by C.H. Beck – concentrates on political and economic developments in the 20th century. Neutatz explains their consequences on the life of the country’s population. His examination starts with the tsar empire before he focuses on policy-making procedures during and after the revolution. A detailed analysis of communism is followed by a precise investigation of strict regulations, liberal spirits and shameless corruption after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Neutatz’ book is just one of many outstanding non-fiction releases by C.H. Beck. The company recently also presented a 760-page masterpiece about the history of the United States of America by Bernd Stöver and “Martin Luther. Rebell in einer Zeit des Umbruchs”, a book about Martin Luther, the legendary priest and professor, by Heinz Schilling.

Trauma und Alpträume. Eine Geschichte Russlands im 20. Jahrhundert
By Dietmar Neutatz
Published by C.H. Beck (www.beck.de)

A historian who tours throughout Germany to perform a comedy programme 3has released a book about how to benefit from other European countries’ achievements. Sebastian Schnoy researched the different culture’s achievements from medieval times to recent occurrences to thrash prejudices and make aware of the positive aspects. He reveals how well-advanced some ancient regulations were. Furthermore, Schnoy presents remarkable inventions like an alarm clock which keeps silent if the weather is bad. He investigates whether there is any substance to people’s preconceived opinions regarding nationwide habits and the typical characteristics about other countries’ inhabitants. “Von Napoleon lernen, wie man sich vorm Abwasch drückt” has the potential to become as successful as Schnoy’s previously released books “Smorrebrod in Napoli” (2009) and “Heimat ist, wenn man vermisst” (2010).

Von Napoleon lernen, wie man sich vorm Abwasch drückt
By Sebastian Schnoy
Published by rororo / Rowohlt (www.rororo.de)

Old and recent masterpieces at the Belvedere

A Viennese museum is currently presenting fantastic art from the 15th century.

“Wien 1450. Der Meister von Schloss Lichtenstein” (Vienna 1450. The Master of Lichtenstein Castle” 1consists of impressive altar paintings by an unknown painter from Vienna. His works were initially on display at a castle in the German province of Baden-Wurttemberg. The Belvedere Palace gallery directors managed to present the different paintings all in one showroom thanks to cooperation initiatives with prestigious galleries in several countries.

“1450. The Master of Lichtenstein Castle” is not the only special exhibition which is now on display at the Lower Belvedere / Orangery. The colourful paintings by Emil Nolde are currently also drawing the crowds at the gallery which is located in Vienna-Landstraße. Nolde is widely considered as one of the most important European artists of the 20th century. His large-scale paintings – most of them dominated by his daring choice of bright colours for naturally dark objects – are immensely impressive.

>> http://www.belvedere.at

Book look: Sascha Theisen

It is no surprise that many football books are released around half a year before the next World Cup. And it is no surprise either that a new publication about World Cup stars from Germany features chapters about undisputed leaders such as former Bayern Munich President Franz Beckenbauer, ex-Bayern captain Lothar Matthäus and 1954 champ Fritz Walter.

However, Sascha Theisen did not just focus on the greatest players of the sport. He also dedicated portraits to athletes who were part of the German squad nominated for the different Football World Cups but never sent on the pitch by the manager. Theisen underlines their often underestimated 1importance since they did their best to create a positive atmosphere during the tournament within the team.

The author of “Nach vorne!” and “Marmor, Stein und Eisen” structured his book in several chapters of which some have unexpected topics. Like this, Theisen manages to direct the spotlight on popular commentators and on players who are hardly ever mentioned in other World Cup reviews – despite their outstanding achievements. He writes about German footballers who can proudly look back on a small number of magic moments. This, of course, did not keep Theisen from honour the country’s superb strikers like Jürgen Klinsmann, Miroslav Klose and Uwe Seeler.

Helden. 50 deutsche WM-Legenden
By Sascha Theisen
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (www.werkstatt-verlag.de)

Book look: children, cartoons and crime

“Kriegsenkel. Die Erben der vergessenen Generation” could be considered Bodeas a book which tries helping the kids of war children to understand their parents better. Sabine Bode spoke with Germans born between 1960 and 1975 to analyse what it means to grow up in prosperity. The Cologne-based freelance journalist tried to find out why so many of them decided not to have own children. Bode also writes about this generation’s vague fear of the future. “Kriegsenkel. Die Erben der vergessenen Generation” is not Bode’s first book. Previously, the former Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger reporter published “Die vergessene Generation. Die Kriegskinder brechen ihr Schweigen”, “Die deutsche Krankheit – German Angst” and “Nachkriegskinder. Die 1950er und ihre Soldatenväter”.

Kriegsenkel. Die Erben der vergessenen Generation
By Sabine Bode
Published by Klett-Cotta (www.klett-cotta.de)

A new collection of cartoons by Nicolas Mahler is out now. After releasing Mahler“Gedichte” – which featured drawings of all experiences of a human being between birth and death – Suhrkamp presents Mahler’s latest creation: his attempt to turn “Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften” (The Man Without Qualities) by Robert Musil into a graphic novel. Mahler’s drawings display his laconic humour. The Austrian artist always tries to focus on the essence. The characters he creates appear to have no faces, and most of his drawings are black and white. This time around, a dark, muddy green has been added. Mahler – whose cartoons have been published by weekly newspaper Die Zeit and Titanic, a popular satirical magazine – is already considered as the next superstar of the international scene of graphic novelists and cartoonists. “Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften” is widely regarded as an important and timeless book. However, many of those who are potentially interested are intimidated by its proportion. Maybe Mahler’s book will help some literature fans to lose their fears.

Mahler nach Robert Musil: Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften
By Nicolas Mahler
Published by Insel Verlag (www.suhrkamp.de)

Rupert Schöttle’s new novel is out now. “Hausmaestro” is a thrilling crime novel aHausmaestro_RLYbout a murder in Vienna. Kajetan Vogel and Alfons Walz start their investigations after the body of a talented young conductor is found. He was set to conduct the first performance of “La Traviata” at the Viennese State Opera. The murder was carried out shortly after the sensational news of his assignment emerged. Schöttle – whose novel “Damenschneider” was published in 2011 – manages to link suspense elements with Austrian humour and the capital city’s famous coffee culture. The Mannheim-born author has a close relationship with Austria. He came to Salzburg to study before moving to Vienna. With “Hausmaestro”, Schöttle proves that he is not only a brilliant cellist but also a gifted writer.

Hausmaestro. Ein Wien-Krimi
By Rupert Schöttle
Published by Gmeiner (www.gmeiner-verlag.de)

Kids on pics

“Kinder, wie die Zeit vergeht” is the title of a new National Library (ONB) exhibition. The photographs presented as part of the exhibit were taken between 1860 and 1975.
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The creators of “Kinder, wie die Zeit vergeht” – which is currently on display at the ONB in Vienna – manage to make aware of the various roles children had to play throughout the decades. It becomes obvious that some clichés will always exist while certain things changed over the years. “Kinder, wie die Zeit vergeht” shows children in commercials, with their families and friends, on the street and after recuperation stays in Switzerland after World War Two.

Impressive images reveal how hard some kids had to work decades ago and how they were targeted by Nazi propaganda when a cake with a big swastika in its centre is handed out. Strong differences but also unexpected similarities are disclosed by the book’s thematic and chronologic structure.

In her foreword for the 200-page exhibition catalogue by Residenz Verlag, ONB director Johanna Rachinger underlines the importance of photography while Michaela Pfundner and Margot Werner, the curators of the exhibit, provide lots of detail information regarding the photos and the time in which they were taken.

>> http://www.onb.ac.at

>> http://www.residenzverlag.at

Book look: Rilke, Reuth and the real Egypt

More than 100 years ago, Rainer rilkeMaria Rilke tried to answer children’s questions about god. What does he look like? Does he speak Chinese? These and many more questions are in the focus of the celebrated author who was born in Prague in 1875. Rilke – who deceased at the age of 51 in Switzerland – was inspired by his journeys to Russia and Italy when he wrote these 13 short stories about god and kids’ perception. This Insel Verlag publication is sophisticated and highly entertaining reading material for young and old.

Geschichten vom lieben Gott
By Rainer Maria Rilke
Published by Insel Verlag (www.suhrkamp.de)

A biography of Joseph Goebbels which has been praised by critics reuthas “fascinating” and “a milestone” is now out by Piper. Ralf Georg Reuth investigates the life of the evil Third Reich propaganda mastermind in all detail. He examines Goebbels’ unquestioning support for the Nazis’ ideas and his close companionship with dictator Adolf Hitler. On more than 600 pages, Reuth creates a precise portrait of Goebbels who committed suicide to avoid facing justice at the end of the Second World War in 1945.

Goebbels
By Ralf Georg Reuth
Published by Piper (www.piper.de)

A young Austrian journalist decided to discover the real Egypt. So drissnerGerald Drissner – who worked for German magazine Stern after moving to Alexandria – covered 4.500 kilometres by coach to visit 15 towns and cities. He avoided the pyramids, sandy beaches and five-star hotels to create an authentic portrait of the tough life on the impoverished countryside. Drissner spoke with residents about their feelings, opinions and dreams. His book “Als Spion am Nil. 4500 Kilometer ägyptische Wirklichkeit” reflects a gripping mixture of traditional and revolutionary elements.

Als Spion am Nil. 4500 Kilometer ägyptische Wirklichkeit
By Gerald Drissner
Published by Dumont (www.dumontreise.de)

Book look: Frank Herfort

After seven years in Hamburg, German photographer Frank Herfort decided to travel to Moscow. “I was fascinated from the beginning,” Herfort writes about his impressions, adding that he was amazed by the colourful facades and extraordinary shapes of skyscrapers and other buildings. Herfort then visited also several formerly Soviet countries like Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan to take pictures of residential buildings, business centres and ministerial complexes.
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“Imperial Pomp. Post-Soviet High-Rise” features introductions by Matthias Schepp and Irina Korobina as well as an analysis by Dmitrij Chmelnizki. However, the absolute focus is on Herfort’s excellent photos. Some of the represented buildings resemble ships while others look like spears and torches. Most of the skyscrapers’ architecture is arguably swanky and of bad taste – a constellation which tempted Austrian magazine profil to diagnose the development of a new artistic direction: New Russian Style.

The reality seems far away on these images, but it comes perilously close when the spectator takes a closer look at the surroundings. The difficult circumstances of people in these countries becomes evident thanks to Herfort’s decision to show the buildings’ direct environment as well: run-down flats, people sitting around a campfire, an old man sharpening his scythe on an overgrown meadow.

Imperial Pomp. Post-Soviet High-Rise
By Frank Herfort
Published by Kerber (www.kerberverlag.com)