And Again – Books

The last boring books’ list was published in early March, it is time to tidy again and put used books back into the shelves.

HARRER, Heinrich : Geister und Dämonen. Magische Abenteuer in fernen Ländern. Frankfurt / M. Berlin, 2.Aufl. 1977
HARRER (Ger., Eng., bio) (1912-2006) was an Austrian mountaineer, best remembered for his connection with Tibet and the Dalai Lama (Ger., Eng.). He also was a travel writer with a special interest in aboriginal cultures, their rites and customs, religious ideas, as far as he could reach them. Then he wrote about his travels and what he saw and encountered. He never “looks down” on the people he writes about, and tries to avoid a European- or christian-centered point of view.

EASTLAKE, Keith : Die grössten Katastrophen auf See. Bindlach 1998
(zuerst : A Century of Sea Disasters)
Just when you thought it was safe to go back on the water … Chapter headings read “Collision”, “Fire”, “Explosion”, “Human Error”, “Weather & Technical Error”. Short texts describe what happened to a ship, black/white pictures for illustration. Still better than flying I’d say.

WAKSBERG, Arkadi : Die sowjetische Mafia. Organisiertes Verbrechen in der Sowjetunion. München 1992
WAKSBERG (Ger., Eng.) (most likely 1927-2011) was originally a jurist (promoted 1952) who worked as lawyer. He started to publish in the early sixties and became a journalist in the early 1970s. Since 1973 he worked for the Literaturnaja Gaseta (Ger., Eng.), specialised on criminal justice. If there was someone in the USSR (outside the KGB) who understood the criminal system, and how it was ingrained into the state’s dna, it was him. Within the boundaries he published about it – long before glasnost ! – making the LG one of the most important reads of the former USSR. WAKSBERG lived long enough to see the change – and how the old “elites” adapted. If you understand how the SU worked, you get an idea how the “new” state was organised. Heads were changed, frontiers were corrected (a bit), structures were modified, but not abandoned.
Interestingly the “clown” who was elected lately in Ukraine (report) said at the end of his victory speech something that was not reported in the Russian coverage – I can only give the gist of it : The successor-states of the former soviet republics should look at this election and learn what is possible : It is possible to get rid of “them” – may he live up to his promise. Perhaps it is the first weak crumbling of the “new” empire.

Schweinfurt im 19. Jahrhundert. Ausstellung des Stadtarchivs Schweinfurt.
8. Mai 1991 – 30. Juni 1991, Schweinfurt 1991 (Veröffentlichungen des Stadtarchivs Schweinfurt 6/1991)
Contains an interesting long article about the history of the neighbouring city Schweinfurt (Ger., Eng.). Jaja, de Schnüdel

HOWE, Ellic : Uranias Kinder. Die seltsame Welt der Astrologen und das Dritte Reich. Herausgegeben und aus dem Englischen übersetzt von Franz ISFORT. Weinheim 1995 (zuerst : Urania’s Children : The Strange World of the Astrologers, London 1967. Expanded edition : Astrology and the Third Reich, Wellingborough 1984)
Ellic HOWE (Ger., Eng., interview) was involved in the double-cross-activities of Mr DELMER through the war. HOWE shines a light on the esoteric backside of the shiny new Germany after 1933, and gives the biography of Karl Ernst KRAFFT (Ger., Eng.) (1900-1945). What sets HOWE apart from more sensational oriented writers is the fact that he really worked in the trade, psychological warfare.
The fact that nazism has an occult “underbelly” should not come as a surprise. On second thought the “Third Reich” is based on an irrational & esoteric ideology, on Irrwitz. DELMER, HOWE and colleagues understood this, and tried to use it.

EISENHAUER, Gregor : Scharlatane. Zehn Fallstudien. Frankfurt / M. 1994
EISENHAUER (Ger.) (born 1960) is a free lance writer in Berlin. In this book he presents ten biographies of “charlatans” through the centuries, starting with Apollonios of Tyana (Ger., Eng.) (first century post Christum natum), ending with Paramahansa YOGANANDA (Ger., Eng.) (1893-1952). The selection may be discussible, I would not necessarily refer to PARACELSUS or Athanasius KIRCHER as “charlatans” (Ger., Eng.). Nevertheless an interesting read.

ENZENSBERGER, Ulrich : Parasiten. Ein Sachbuch. Frankfurt / M. 2001
(Die Andere Bibliothek, 198 ; Nr 2172 der Erstauflage)
A parasit (para-sitos, yeah them Greeks !) is “the one who eats with others”, originally a priest. ENZENSBERGER (Ger.), the old communard (Ger., Eng.), describes the development of word & thing called “parasit” through it’s historic development

KÖNIG, Angelika und Ingemar : Der römische Festkalender der Republik. Feste, Organisation und Priesterschaften. Stuttgart 1991
Let’s see – 11th of June, so we have Matr[on]alia, festivities in honour of Mater Matuta (Ger., Eng.), at the Forum Boarium (Ger., Eng.). Offerings are freshly baked cakes – MJ ?!
KÖNIG (Ger.) is a German ancient historian.

So far. I hope you find this list inspirational for further, own reading.Thank you for your patience.

New Boring Book List

In no particular order, the books I have read since the last list. Maybe there is one or another title among them, You, venerated reader, may find interesting.

H.M. BATEMAN : Liebe auf den ersten Blick. Classische Cartoons. Herausgegeben und vorgestellt von Hans J. G. TRAXLER. Zürich, 1.-3. Tausend 1984
Mr BATEMAN (1887-1970) (Ger., Eng.) is surely well known among the English-speaking public, his cartoons are classics. According to Hans TRAXLER (Ger.), himself a well known and well regarded comical artist and editor of this little book, this is the first attempt to publish a selection of BATEMANs work in German for a German audience. TRAXLER wrote a little afterword, informative, pointing out some influence of Wilhelm BUSCH (1832-1908) (Ger., Eng.) on BATEMAN, and that’s it. Nice little book.

GRASSI, Ernesto : Kunst und Mythos. Vom Autor durchgesehene, revidierte und erweiterte Fassung, Frankfurt am Main 1. Auflage 1990 (suhrkamp Taschenbuch 1385) [zuerst : Hamburg 1957]
“Art and Myth” – sounds heavy. But GRASSI (1902-1991) (Ger., Eng.) “makes it” relatively easy. He develops his ideas, or better : the ideas of the classical philosophy about “art” – by asking, following the answers given by the original source texts closely, and all this in a clear and understandable language – no bling-bling, no verbiage. This short text, less than 150 printed pages in duodecimo, is worth a read and some thought.

MAI, Eugen : Geschichte der Stadt Freudenberg am Main. Freudenberg am Main 1908
Freudenberg (Ger., Eng.) is a town with less than four thousand inhabitants at the bank of the river Main. (The village I live in has around seven thousand inhabitants.) MAI (1877-1932) was born in Freudenberg, chose the ecelsisastical carrier, and became a parish priest on various stations in Lower Franconia. The book from 1908, with all its dents, dated sentiments, and some nasty jaundices was re-printed in the 1980s, simply because there was no newer and modern history of the town available. A leaflet addressing some of the criticisms (a very friendly text by the local school’s rector) is laid in.

WILDT, Dieter : Deutschland deine Sachsen. Eine respektlose Liebeserklärung. Hamburg 6. Auflage 1969
Someone who “loves” Saxons, with or without respect, must either be a Saxon her~ or himself, or have some “issues”. I could not find much about Mr WILDT or his issues. Born in 1928 he started in 1966 a series titled “Deutschland deine …” (“Germany your Prussians” was the first volume for heaven’s sake !) for the Hamburgian publishing house Hofmann & Campe. Whatever he may say about these “Saxonians”, it counts what Karl KRAUSS said : “The idea that Nietzsche mumbled in Saxonian …” What Mr WILDT can not be forgiven for is that he cheekily swipes all Thuringia and even – we get up from our seats – COBURG – you may sit down now – under the Saxonian cloak : COBURG was already a cultured dukedom when in Dresden the wild boar still roamed & ruled ; so no real change then …

BRIGGS, John ; PEAT, F. David : Die Entdeckung des Chaos. Eine Reise durch die Chaos-Theorie. Aus dem Amerikanischen von Carl CARIUS. Gütersloh (u.a.) 1990. Zuerst : Turbulent Mirror. An Illustrated Guide to Chaos Theory and the Science of Wholeness. NewYork 1989.
There is a strange attractor lurking in the phase space – I said it ! I still have a vague (at best) idea where the phase space really is, but I think I understood what the attractor does, could follow when things were detracted, and formed patterns. In fact it is a wild ride through all and everything on that Mr BRIGGS and Mr PEAT embark and sometimes I found it hard to follow. But alone the fact that I read this book – Me ! A mathematical barbarian, a scientific imbecile ! – that I “understood” at least parts, and in general read it in full, speaks either for its quality, or for its lack of sophistication that only suites it for the still childlike amongst its readers. John BRIGGS (Eng.) and F. David PEAT (1939-2017) (Ger., Eng.) are not unknown in the field of quantum physics and “holistic” approaches. Their text is now nearly thirty years old, this field of research seems to be pretty active, so it may be good to grab a more modern and up-to-date introduction, but nevertheless, only here I understood what a “stehende Welle”, a stationary wave, is, and why it is important.

100 Jahre “Kaminkehrer-Innung Unterfranken und Aschaffenburg” [.] 230 Jahre “Wirzburger Camin Fegere”. Würzburg 1985
This anonymous “Festschrift” is published in 1985 in celebration of the founding of the chimney sweeps’ guilt (“Innung”) in Lower Franconia, and at the same time to commemorate the publication of the Wurzburgian chimney sweep constitution in 1755. They had a festivity at the castle in July. As a “Festschrift” – they tried their best. No author wanted to sign. Well, they did their best, as usual.

ZIERER, Otto : Geschichte des Fernen Ostens. Zweiter Band : Mongolensturm. Von 650 bis 1550 nach Chr. Gütersloh ohne Jahr (Weltgeschichte, 34. Buch)
I have no clue where the other volumes of this “world history” are, and why of all things vol.34 depicting the story of the Mongolians is here. ZIERER (1909-1983) (Ger.) writes grippingly and allows himself some freedoms with the historical material. Now and then he puts in theatrical scenes he imagines. Far from being a scientific history this is vivid writing, a bit like Karl May trying to be serious. But I do NOT find it a pity that the other volumes are not here, I do not need a world history ad usum Delphini.

KILIAN, Ulrich ; ASCHEMEIER, Rainer : Das große Buch vom Licht. Darmstadt 2012
What is light ? Different times gave different answers to this seemingly simple question. This book tries to tell the story of “light” from the ancients to more advanced ideas about photons. “In unterhaltsamem Stil” – in enjoyable style, as they say on the back cover. I do not think so.
It is more – especially in the last third of the text – a pretty flippant language, just short of the author grabbing the reader’s shoulder and yelling “Yo buddy, it’s light !” I do not like this kind of approach. Not because of respect for the topic, but because of respect against me – the reader. I am not the author’s buddy, just because I was so dumb to spent money on this crap attitude. Besides this it’s informative, but of course terribly lektoriert / proofread, what means not at all. A shame. The only excuse for this waste of resources is that they needed the money, and fast.

HERDAN-ZUCKMAYER, Alice : Das Scheusal. Geschichte einer sonderbaren Erbschaft. Gütersloh 1972
Deserves an own post. Purportedly the story of an inheritance that comes with a dog – the “Scheusal” of the title. The translations my dictionary offers (“zombie”, “monster”, “beast”) do not hit. What it means can be found in GRIMMs Wörterbuch here. A Scheusal is something that creates Abscheu – revulsion, disgust, something in it makes people zurückscheuen, shy away. And there in this little word “shy” / scheu is the connection. From a Scheusal other creatures shy away, like the birds from the Vogelscheuche, like the terrified horses scheuen from that little creepy yapping dog …
This dog is ugly, old, blind, reeks of Chanel No 5, and is alcoholic. The story Frau HERDAN-ZUCKMAYER tells is about the dog, yes, but between 1938 and 1941 some other things happened to her and her family, and that damn dog too.

That’s it. Thank you for your patience.