Islamic intricacies

Nearly every Muslim country in the world has undergone substantial changes in the 20th century. Reinhard Schulze’s book examines the intricate problems in the Middle East, political upheavals in Pakistan and the conflict in Chechnya.

“Geschichte der Islamischen Welt. Von 1900 bis zur Gegenwart”, an updated and extended version of a book released in 1994, describes developments since the decolonisation. The Islamis scholar portrays democratic movements’ uphill struggle and the influence of extremist movements. Schulze’s 580-page analysis is just one of a string of unanimously acclaimed nonfiction released by C.H. Beck.

Former foreign correspondent Gabriele Krone-Schmalz recently appealed on western governments to seek a way out of the worsening confrontation with Moscow. In “Russland verstehen. Der Kampf um die Ukraine und die Arroganz des Westens”, the ex-ARD reporter criticises European leaders for ridiculing reforms in Russia. Krone-Schmalz claims the European Union’s political elite has not considered that the country needed more time as it had to recover from the impact of communist regime.

“Zerreißproben. Deutschland, Europa und der Westen“ is the title of a collection of essays by renowned historian Heinrich August Winkler. His articles were published between 1990 and 2015. In a recent interview, Winkler warned that the vision of a united Europe would come to a gruesome end if separatist parties become more powerful. “They consider it a disgrace to support disadvantaged regions and call on the European Union to take responsibility. It would harm us all if we don’t speak up against their agenda.”

Geschichte der Islamischen Welt. Von 1900 bis zur Gegenwart
By Reinhard Schulze
Published by C.H. Beck (

¡Hasta la victoria siempre!

“Communism collapsed in disastrous fashion while capitalism survived – but not to the benefit of the people and our planet. (…) There are a few rich individuals while the number of those who struggle to make ends meet is soaring. Why don’t we see the obvious link between cause and effect?”

On the final pages of his book on his famous brother, Juan Martin Guevara speaks with candour as he underlines the troublesome situation in a globalised world.

In “Mein Bruder Che”, Guevara – who was born when Che was 15 – recounts growing up in a turbulent environment. While the distance between his parents grew as the family moved house many times, Ernesto embarked on a string of tours all over South America.

Guevara describes how his brother turned into one of the most charismatic but also contested personalities of the 20th century. An avid reader himself, Guevara finally decided to write a book on Che to laud their brotherly bounds and worship his legacy.

“Mein Bruder Che” contains numerous lovely anecdotes about playing tricks on others. However the book also bluntly analyses Che’s political vision without trying to be less eulogistic. There is plenty of ground to cover since the author decided to tell from his years in prison – solitary confinement and gruelling treatment included – as well.

Guevara analyses how Che is seen in Argentine and Cuba today and reveals why he eventually decided to break his vow of silence by writing this book with a French journalist. He hits out at officials in his homeland for not naming any schools or streets after his iconic brother “while several roads and boulevards carry the name of dictatorial leaders with blood on their hands.”

Mein Bruder Che
By Juan Martin Guevara & Armelle Vincent
Published by Tropen (

Cartoons & construction

The Habsburg Empire, Sigmund Freud, the endless Mariahilfer Straße controversy and inhabitants’ depraved slang have inspired cartoonists assigned to contribute to a collection of comics – and some funny pie charts – on Vienna. “Wien in Cartoons” depicts everything the city stands for – from royal nostalgia to contemporary conflicts. Which is masochists’ favourite pie and Adolf Hitler’s preferred coffee? What does summertime festival Donauinselfest have in common with Sunday shopping at Praterstern station? Get this book to find out!

Wien in Cartoons
By Bruno Haberzettl, Clemens Ottawa & many more
Published by Holzbaum (

Germany’s Ruhr area, one of the most densely populated regions in Europe, is still a hive of economic activity. However, substantial changes have occurred in the past decades as whole industrial branches were wiped out. “Berührte Landschaften” by Udo Kreikenbohm is a grim reminder of these developments which still are traumatic to many of those who have been affected. Kreikenbohm’s photographs – which were on display at an exhibit at the LWL Industrial Museum Henrichshütte Hattingen – depict deserted factories, quarrying sites and wind turbines but never humans. The snapper’s concept is comparable to various other photo publications but nevertheless beguiling.

Berührte Landschaften
By Udo Kreikenbohm
Published by Klartext (

Soviet soccer stories

Germany disbursed a walloping for the ages in 1912 when they beat Russia 16-0. Striker Gottfried Fuchs sensationally managed to score 10 goals. Twenty-five years later, Fuchs was forced to migrate to France. The Jewish footballer moved to Canada in 1940 as the Nazis invaded Western Europe.

This is just one of the many spectacular stories about Russian football in “Russkij Futbol”, a book which contains essays by a University of California lecturer, a guidebook author and a former Süddeutsche Zeitung correspondent covering Eastern Europe.

As the 2018 World Cup will be kicked off in Moscow tomorrow, “Russkij Futbol” tells from the press feedback after the memorable defeat in 1912 but also informs about the tragic fate of some of the players who were arrested or killed in World War Two.

The book – which features several lovely historical photographs – looks back on the first football league of the country which was set up by Brits in 1901. Furthermore, “Russkij Futbol” delivers fascinating insights on lopsided championships in the Soviet Union and the development of some sort of fan culture. Contrary to popular misconception, Spartak Moscow’s following established supporters groups 15 years before the decline of the Soviet Union.

“Russkij Futbol” reveals why the reaction of the vast majority of Russians is rather tepid when some club announces the acquisition of another top foreign player. But the authors also investigate the ideological element of sports during the country’s communist era when ideals such as braveness and determination were held in veneration – at least by Politburo officials.

Russkij Futbol. Ein Lesebuch
By Stephan Felsberg, Tim Köhler & many others
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (

Bayern… Behind the Scenes

The way clubs are presenting their players off the pitch may highlight one of the most striking changes in the football business. Every Facebook posting and Instagram snap seems carefully arranged no matter how nonsensical the subject. Back in the days, club officials must have been more relaxed concerning this issue, as a new photo book suggests.

“FC Bayern Inside” features images that will make your mind boggle. Of course there are astonishing shots capturing the fight for the ball and emotions after scoring a goal. But images depicting Sepp Maier with a parrot on his shoulder and Klaus Augenthaler hugging a chimpanzee are just priceless. Such photographs would today quite certainly be considered as utterly inadequate and even harmful for players’ reputation.

Uli Hoeneß and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge sharing a sulky and Keeper Jean-Marie Pfaff on a foggy UEFA Cup evening are just two of the numerous other gems that can be found in this truly insightful collection of photographs.

FC Bayern Inside. Ungewöhnliche Einblicke von Damals bis Heute
By Ulrich Kühne-Hellmessen, Maria Mühlberger and many othrs
Published by Riva (

Brazil bruising for ‘disappointed’ Austria

Austrian national team players have underlined not being disheartened after yesterday’s 0-3 defeat against Brazil.

Watford full-back Sebastian Prödl admitted being disappointed but added: “They were the better team today. I don’t think we suffered a massive throwback.”

Right after the match at Ernst Happel Stadium in Vienna, Marko Arnautovic even tipped Brazil to win the upcoming competition in Russia. “I think we’ve seen the next world champion today,” the West Ham striker told reporters.

After five victories in a row, expectations were high among Austrian football fans. But when Brazil scored two goals right after the hour to seal a comfortable 3-0 lead, you could see supporters and players deflate.

The Selecao visibly improved their defending tactics as Arnautovic and his teammates hardly posed any threat. While Neymar displayed a rather lacklustre performance, Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro and Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho brilliantly organised the five-time world champion’s game in this slow-paced friendly.

Selecao boss Tite announced: “We are proud. Austria are a strong team but we fulfilled our task well today.”

His counterpart Franco Foda stressed that there also had been some positive aspects such as the performance of keeper Heinz Lindner, while left-back David Alaba said the team must “focus on the uplifting and analyse the negative”.


Austria prepared for Brazil bust-up

After having beaten archrivals Germany for the first time in 32 years, the Austrian national team want to continue punching above their weight.

The 2-1 win against the world champion in Klagenfurt last week has set the bar high, but defender Martin Hinteregger vowed that his side would not stop from playing its own game against Brazil. Leicester City ace Aleksandar Dragovic added: “Many people might think that we now must beat Brazil too. I’m aware of that. But Brazil will be a massive challenge.”

Today’s spectacular friendly (kickoff: 4pm) is Brazil’s final match checkup ahead of the World Cup. Neymar – who has recovered and is expected to be part of the starting line-up today – and his teammates will head straight to Russia after the match which is set to take place at Vienna’s sold-out Ernst Happel Stadium.

Austria’s West Ham United striker Marko Arnautovic recently underlined the exceptional skills of Neymar. “He’s worth every penny,” the former Stoke City star said, referring to the Brazilian’s controversial 222-million-Euro move to Paris Saint Germain. Arnautovic – who is on the radar of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, according to reports – also praised Philippe Coutinho and Willian as “outstanding players”.

Having clashed nine times with Austria since 1956, Brazil have an unbeaten record. The Selecao won six times, including the most recent encounter (2-1) which took place in Vienna in November 2014. Brazil face Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica in the upcoming World Cup’s group stage while Austria failed to qualify.


Cross-country encounters

When an author suddenly decides to discover his home country in a truly intensive way by walking 1,200 kilometres, some may turn away instantly, fearing superfluous philosophically inspired output. “Deutschland ab vom Wege. Eine Reise durch das Hinterland” is, however, definitely worth checking out.

Desperate to find out more about Germany’s landscape but also its people, Henning Sußebach acquired some high-tech equipment before kicking off his trip on a morning in August at the Baltic Sea.

The award-winning Die Zeit writer was determined to reach Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze, situated at the Bavarian-Austrian border. But Sußebach was also looking forward to encountering inhabitants in a bid to crush anti-eastern prejudices. The journalist refused to believe that he and his left-wing editorial office colleagues were right by denouncing all those on ex-GDR soil who are now backing the AfD as pure evil.

Sußebach’s experiences are immensely interesting. He meets a staunch supporter of the rightist faction who is, after various events he considered as disappointing, unwilled to yield an inch – but neither does Sußebach, whose book about accommodating a devout Muslim refugee was critically acclaimed. But the author of “Unter einem Dach. Ein Syrer und ein Deutscher erzählen”, attempts to comprehend the seismic changes on the political landscape.

Another superb element of “Deutschland ab vom Wege” is the way he describes nature and his physical ailments as the adventurous trip continues. Anecdotes like Sußebach’s description of the members of an elitist golf club and his sudden craving for ice-cold milk ensure that this is much more than just a book about an extreme hiking adventure.

Deutschland ab vom Wege. Eine Reise durch das Hinterland
By Henning Sußebach
Published by Rowohlt (

Munich & Mozart

Braumüller’s Abseits der Pfade series continues as a Graz-born expert on literature pays tribute to his favourite city. “München abseits der Pfade” follows releases like “Wien abseits der Pfade” part one and two, a book on Venice and actor Michael Dangl’s “Grado abseits der Pfade”. Franz Klug lives in Munich for 18 years. As tourists are taking over the city centre, his book lays groundwork for a trip considering a broader view on what Munich has on offer. Klug focuses on walking but also describes nice tram routes. He writes about an exciting cooperative consisting of patisserie, tavern and eatery, checks out an experimental theatre on his way and recommends tradition-rich cafes once visited by ingenious authors like Frank Wedekind and Klaus Mann. “München abseits der Pfade” contains recipes and portrays quarters like Haidhausen and Sendling while a chapter with a special focus on literature features the Alter Simpl performance venue and the oeuvre of Joachim Ringelnatz.

München abseits der Pfade
By Franz Klug
Published by Braumüller (

His impeccable compositions are still performed to spellbound audiences across the globe. Now a renowned expert on classical music has analysed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s technique and skills but also the era he lived in. Laurenz Lütteken’s “Mozart. Leben und Musik im Zeitalter der Aufklärung” is not sugarcoating anything as the author also considers personal throwbacks and economic struggles of the composer. The Zurich University lecturer writes about the towering talent’s influences but also his personal background. “Mozart. Leben und Musik im Zeitalter der Aufklärung” is a scientific book which, due to its precision and many details, demands a high amount of attention from the reader.

Mozart. Leben und Musik im Zeitalter der Aufklärung
By Laurenz Lütteken
Published by C.H. Beck (