Book look: architecture & Austropop

An Austrian photographer has presented a collection of photographs depicting some of the most impressive buildings of his home country. Stefan Olah’s book “Österreichische Architektur der Fünfziger Jahre”, now out by Verlag Anton Pustet, documents innovative architecture created in the 1950s – from the Wien Museum at Karlsplatz Square in the Austrian capital to the futuristic Passionsspielhaus Erl building situated in the province of Tyrol. The 180-page publication also includes essays and an interview. Olah previously also released a photo book focusing on snack stands in Vienna. “Fünfundneunzig Wiener Würstelstände” introduces venues like “G’sundes Eck” (Healthy Corner) and other favourites of those who love traditional fast food.

Österreichische Architektur der Fünfziger Jahre
By Stefan Olah
Published by Verlag Anton Pustet (www.pustet.at)

1A renowned television producer and director has created a fascinating Austropop anthology. Through the past decades, Rudi Dolezal worked with musicians of different genres in Austria and around the world. One of the most recent projects of the video clip and documentary expert is a series about the domestic music scene for TV channel ServusTV. Now Dolezal wrote a book about Austrian singers and bands who are categorised under the Austropop genre. “Die Geschichte des Austropop in 20 Songs” underlines the wide variety of styles and musical directions. Dolezal considered Hubert von Goisern’s folk pop smash hit “Koa Hiatamadl” and “Bologna” by independent pop rock heroes Wanda. However, the author also reflects on the early successes of legendary singers like Wolfgang Ambros and Rainhard Fendrich. He writes about Falco and Opus (“Live is life”) and portrays STS, Christina Stürmer and EAV. “Die Geschichte des Austropop in 20 Songs” is an excellent guide through the pop achievements of Austrian artists of the 20th and 21st century.

Die Geschichte des Austropop in 20 Songs
By Rudo Dolezal
Published by Servus / Benevento Publishing / Red Bull Media House
(www.beneventopublishing.com, http://www.redbullmediahouse.com)

Megastar & materials

Objects created by one of the most celebrated personalities of modern art are currently on display in Vienna.

Chinese conceptual artist and photographer Ai Wei Wei’s “Translocation. Transformation” features a lifejackets installation called “F Lotus” at the Belvedere Palace pond and the erection of an ancestral hall at the 21er Haus. Several workshops and lectures are planned. Visit http://www.21erhaus.at for additional information.

The 21er Haus, a renowned location for contemporary art, also presents a selection of paintings by Rudolf Goessl. The artist from Lower Austria is influenced by Herbert Boeckl and Arnulf Rainer. His large-scale paintings have a strong focus on distinctive colour settings. Some of Goessl’s works remind of Herbert Brandl’s paintings.

A Brandl canvas is featured in another current 21er Haus exhibition. “Die Sprache der Dinge. Materialgeschichten aus der Sammlung” (The Language of Things. Material Histories from the Collection) examines various artists’ approaches concerning the selection and usage of different materials – from oil to aluminium, wood and trash.

Book look: Schöllgen & Schirra

University Erlangen historian Gregor Schöllgen has portrayed one of the most controversial social democratic politicians of the 20th century. Gerhard Schröder headed a SPD-Grünen government coalition between 1998 and 2005. His swing to the political centre and progressive economic policies infuriated many supporters. On more than 900 pages, Schöllgen describes Schröder’s relentless rise to the top – from the beginnings as young socialist to the provincial government in Lower Saxony to his role as advisor of German-Russian business partnerships and Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Gerhard Schröder. Die Biographie” does not ignore any detail of the Schröder’s impressive career. Schöllgen analyses the rhetorically brilliant politician’s partnership with Tony Blair, his party-internal enemies, Schröder’s harsh pension and labour market reform and the election campaign battles against CSU frontrunner Edmund Stoiber and Angela Merkel from the CDU – who sensationally attended the book’s presentation to participate in a podium talk with Schröder and the author.

Gerhard Schröder. Die Biographie
By Gregor Schöllgen
Published by DVA (www.dva.de)

Torture, rape and efficient darknet recruiting initiatives. The Islamic State’s winning streak in Syria and Iraq continues as terror attacks in Prais, Nice and Brussels cause growing fear among Europeans. “ISIS. Der globale Dschihad” is a precise recount of the creation of the so-called IS. Middle East expert Bruno Schirra, who has visited the region many times since the 1980s, describes the rise of self-proclaimed IS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the essential efforts of his mentor, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Schirra explains how the IS grew stronger and stronger amid the internal conflicts in Iraq. While Shiites were repressed under Saddam Hussein, the government of Nouri al-Maliki persecuted the war-torn state’s Sunnis. Schirra – whose book was released before the Charlie Hebdo and Bataclan attacks – does not just focus on Syria and the threat to Europe. The journalist reveals what the effects of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the Iran nuclear deal and the US invasion of Iraq on the interfaith disputes in the Arab region. Some of Schirra’s explanations are unnecessarily repetitive, bringing the book to well more than 300 pages. However, the positive aspects of his project turn “ISIS. Der globale Dschihad” into essential material for everyone interested in finding out what made the Islamic State the dominating terror organisation of the 21st century. His analysis is sharp, serious – and highly pessimistic regarding our peaceful coexistence and the battle against ISIS.

ISIS. Der globale Dschihad
By Bruno Schirra
Published by Econ (www.econ.de)

Book look: Linz & Vienna

The allied forces were responsible for organising of the reconstruction of Austria for 10 years after 1945. While Vienne’s four-sector administration has been portrayed in many books and movies, the situation of Linz was extraordinary as well. The Upper Austrian capital was split into two sectors, the US American and the Soviet, by the Danube. “Geteilte Stadt. Linz 1945-55” features photographs from the Nordico Stadtmuseum exhibition of the same name. The book features many fascinating photographs documenting the infrastructure developments between 1945 and 1955. It also portrays the inhabitants of Linz and the resurrection of the city’s theatres, cinemas and art institutions. Georg Thiel, Herta Neiß and other authors describe the changes that shaped Linz after the war. A calendar at the end of the book informs about important events such as the inauguration of Ernst Koref as mayor of Linz, the opening of the local airport and street protests against a meat price increase.

Geteilte Stadt. Linz 1945-55
By Andrea Bina, Michael John and others
Published by Verlag Anton Pustet (www.pustet.at)

Have you ever wondered about the dark side of Viennese dialect? Do you feel a secret desire of letting it out? Are you desperate to insult the upper class in rude Viennese slang? If the boxes are ticket, “Schimpfen wie ein echter Wiener” will be your new best friend. This pocket-sized collection of swearwords is great fun. It also features small anecdotes and hilarious stories about the capital of Austria. “Schimpfen wie ein echter Wiener” is a Holzbaum release. The publishing house recently also presented a great collection of pie charts concerning funny Vienna facts called “Wien in leiwanden Grafiken”. Another Holzbaum book focuses on the Eurovision Song Contest (“The Very Best of Song Contest”). Werner Vogel, Bernhard Tscherne and Feri Janoska garnered remarkable detail information about the popular event – from the great heroes such as Abba, Udo Jürgens and Conchita Wurst to the worst performances ever.

Schimpfen wie ein echter Wiener
By Anna Mehofer & Maria Antonia Graff
Published by Holzbaum (www.holzbaumverlag.at)

Book look: diplomats & detectives

“Widerstand und Auswärtiges Amt. Diplomaten gegen Hitler” is a 290-page analysis of diplomats’ different strategies against the Nazi regime. Ruhr University Bochum professor Michael Wala, Anne Nelson, Karsten Linne and other authors contributed articles. The book tells from various initiatives and foreign ministry officials’ methods. An important aspect is the diplomats’ self-perception after 1945 and an analysis of how German officials dealt with the dark legacy of the country’s institutions.

Widerstand und Auswärtiges Amt. Diplomaten gegen Hitler
By Jan Erich Schulte, Michael Wala and others
Published by Siedler (www.siedler-verlag.de)

A German author has created a lovely panorama of the English countryside – with a special focus on fictional crimes and characters from novels and television series. Luise Berg-Ehlers portrays female novelists and the locations of the crimes they have been writing about. “Mit Miss Marple aufs Land” informs about English traditions – from gardening to typical sports and the local pub culture. Readers get to know more about life on the countryside and different attractions in Oxford and other towns. Berg-Ehlers previously presented “Die Gärten der Virginia Woolf” and “Mit Virginia Woolf durch England”. “Mit Miss Marple aufs Land” features not just informative and amusing texts but also many photographs and some paintings by Eva-Maria Salm.

Mit Miss Marple aufs Land. Englische Krimischriftstellerinnen zwischen Tearoom und Tatort
By Luise Berg-Ehlers
Published by Elisabeth Sandmann Verlag (www.esverlag.de)

Book look: Pomerantsev on Putin, parties and propaganda

A British journalist with many years of work experience in Russia has presented his revealing book about the country’s controversial economic and political regulations. Peter Pomerantsev was assigned by Russian television company TMT as director and producer of broadcasts of different genres. He was based in Moscow many years but also travelled across the country to carry out different orders and produce exciting reports.

The author of this DVA publication writes about models’ mysterious deaths. Pomerantsev also describes a bizarre mobster movie industry and the recklessness of some Russian authorities who keep arresting innocent businesspeople for no reason due to vicious rivalries between the bosses of different federal institutions. Furthermore, Pomerantsev portrayed young women desperate to become the sex toy of a “Forbes” – one of Russia’s post-communism millionaires.

“Nichts ist wahr und alles ist möglich. Abenteuer in Putins Russland” explains what it means to be a “liberal” in Russia. The book features a fascinating chapter about construction activities in Moscow and a precise analysis of the Russian media landscape since the decline of socialism, with a special focus on Russia Today. In the end, Pomerantsev describes the life of Russian millionaires in London and complex strategies of tax evasion and money laundering.

Klaus Timmermann and Ulrike Wasel translated Pomerantsev’s book into German. The original version “Nothing is True and Everything is Possible” neither features the Russian president’s name nor his portrait on the cover. The decision of the German publishing house to carry out these changes in order to attract the attention of readers say a lot about Germany’s uptight fixation on Vladimir Putin.

Nichts ist wahr und alles ist möglich. Abenteuer in Putins Russland
By Peter Pomerantsev
Published by DVA (www.dva.de)

Book look: Redelings pulls the plug

A popular football comedian has undergone an extraordinary experiment. Ben Redelings, one of Germany’s most successful sports authors, decided to delete football from his daily routine for 31 days.

The Bochum-based supporter of local team VfL picked May for his project – the month of exciting developments such as the fight against being relegated and the Champions League semi finals. Friends, colleagues and journalists cannot believe Redelings’ move, and many doubt that he will make it to the end without a quick look at newspaper headlines or his Twitter timeline. Redelings’ wife grabs the scissors to remove all soccer-related articles from the newspaper – until she misses a small article about turmoil at Schalke 04.

Redelings soon realises how much he misses certain elements linked with football such as meeting friends for a beer and a discussion about possible transfers and poor performances. However, the creator of the Album series (a Verlag Die Werkstatt production dedicated to the stars of Bundesliga clubs like Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Bayern) also underlines his growing aversion for the increasingly perfect marketing manoeuvres of the big clubs.

He wonders whether things really were better in the old days when controversial characters like Stefan Effenberg and Mario Basler did not shy away from expressing their thoughts. This honest reflection on a business he benefits himself is more interesting than the portrayal of his attempts to avoid getting informed about football news during his fasting period.

“Fußball-Fasten” is a Verlag Die Werkstatt production. The publishing house recently also presented “Alles Bayern! Unverzichtbares Wissen rund um den Rekordmeister”, by Christoph Bausenwein, a book packed with facts about Germany’s most successful club. From A to Z, Bausenwein lists the best scorers, jersey numbers, expensive transfers, facts about the team’s stadiums and Bayern Munich’s national team players.

“Der Triumph von Rio. Brasilien 2014 – die Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft” is a great review of the 2014 World Cup. The book by Ulrich Kühne-Hellmessen and Detlef Vetten features brilliant action photos, informative articles and essential statistics. Redelings wrote Album paperbacks about 1. FC Köln, Borussia Dortmund and other clubs as well as his hilarious Bundesliga book “Die Bundesliga wie sie lebt und lacht”.

Fußball-Fasten. Das Experiment
By Ben Redelings
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (www.werkstatt-verlag.de)