Ballpoint Wizards

“I’ve always been interested in the relationship between people who are in charge and those in the background,” Manfred Matzka explains regarding the intention of his latest book. “Hofräte, Einflüsterer, Spin-Doktoren” is a multi-faceted view on the political engine room.

On 250 pages, Matzka – who had positions in federal ministries and the chancellery for 35 years – portraits the most influential advisors. “Today ministry secretaries are all of almost the same age. They use similar phrases. They focus on no one else but their boss,” the author of “Die Staatskanzler. 300 Jahre Macht und Intrige am Ballhausplatz” told the Tiroler Tageszeitung.

The 15 chapters of “Hofräte, Einflüsterer, Spin-Doktoren” underline Matzka’s unmatched knowledge of procedures in Austria’s decision-making conferences throughout the centuries. From Johann Christoph von Bartenstein, the advisor to Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II., to today’s suave strategists – this book will help you understanding top-tier politics in Austria in the past 300 years.

Hofräte, Einflüsterer, Spin-Doktoren. 300 Jahre graue Eminenzen am Ballhausplatz
By Manfred Matzka
Published by Christian Brandstätter Verlag (

Desert Island Risks

Kemal had it all – a beautiful girlfriend, a fast car and a lucrative contract at a top-flight Turkish football club. Influenced by the glamorous lifestyle of his teammates, Kemal finds it increasingly difficult to think straight. He breaks up with his girlfriend and suffers a serious injury wrecking his car in an illegal race.

Having seen the error of his ways, Kemal returns to Hawaii, an infamous area in the German city of Heidelberg where tensions between migrant kids and members of a fascist organisation are intensifying. Obviously there is a fine irony to the title of Cihan Acar’s compelling debut novel. “Hawaii” is the story of a young bloke trying to sort out his personal problems while there’s a riot in the streets.

By Cihan Acar
Published by Hanser Berlin (

Evil Evolution

Adolf Hitler had shown every effort to manipulate his own biography. Historians have underlined the many false claims in his grotesque manifesto “Mein Kampf”. “Hitler. Prägende Jahre” is as precisely as possible when it comes to portraying the dictator’s upbringing.

Hitler’s childhood was dominated by numerous relocations, financial strain and domestic violence. Hannes Leidinger and Christian Rapp analyse the influence certain teachers might have had on the Third Reich Reichskanzler. Many theories suggested by other authors still require citable evidence, but Leidinger and Rapp never abstain from making aware of that.

Determined to carry out megalomaniac architectural concepts for regional capital Linz, the dictator later used to label himself as a misunderstood genius. Leidinger and Rapp point out that Hitler in fact struggled to make ends meet painting postcard-sized portraits of different Viennese buildings.

The chapter about the constantly changing political constellation in Upper Austria might appear excessively detailed to many readers while the recollections of August Kubizek, Hitler’s only true friend, turn the one about his Vienna years into the most fascinating one of the whole book.

Hitler. Prägende Jahre
By Hannes Leidinger & Christian Rapp
Published by Residenz Verlag (

Out of the Dark

The decades between 1918 and 1938 were a period of transition in Austria. Having barely realised the demise of the Habsburg Empire, the country drifted straight into an autocratic regime and further on to fascism and another global war.

“Menschheitsdämmerung” (Twilight of Humanity) is the title of a Leopold Museum’s exhibition presenting the oeuvre of Gerhart Frankl, Josef Dobrowsky and nine other artists. Featuring the sinister portrait of countryside poverty by Albin Egger-Lienz but also Herbert Boeckl’s timeless colourfulness, this selection is much more than just an addition the Viennese gallery’s outstanding permanent exhibit.

For information on upcoming exhibitions, guided tours, ticket prices and Covid-19 restrictions, go to