The books of the month April: Crises in these times – culture

Wole Soyinka: The happiest people in the world

In the late work of 87-year-old Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian author takes us into the intricate expanses of a story that an international audience knows little about. Numerous allusions to corrupt Nigerian politics and the country’s history do not arouse any post-colonial debates in the Global North, but there are stories about senseless physical violence, illegal organ trafficking and moral deformation. The political message of the novel arises from the contrast: as deadly serious as it is at its core, Soyinka relishes the signs and symbols that multiply wildly around it as a motif and source of punch lines.

Read a detailed review here.

Lucy Fricke: The Diplomat

A look behind the scenes of political work. After years of research on diplomatic work abroad, Lucy Fricke talks about moral dilemmas between human rights and political responsibility. One story line reports on the journalist Meşale Tolu, who was arrested in Turkey. In situations of powerlessness, the author continues to research, reports on the closest political circles, social background and the desire to tell stories and tell the truth. More important than ever in current times of crisis.

Read a detailed review here.

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Daniel-Pascal Zorn: The Crisis of the Absolute

The somewhat enigmatic subtitle of the book “What Postmodernism Could Have Been” is hardly explained at the beginning and only really understood at the very end. So it pays to stay focused. The philosopher Daniel-Pascal Zorn draws a collective intellectual biography of eight philosophers on more than 600 pages and shows the thought process of a confusing and diverse intellectual project that represents less a closed school than a representative node in the thinking of our time. The philosophical postmodernism thus becomes a company deeply embedded in the history of philosophy. What is interesting here is that Zorn’s story ends where the term postmodernism first came into widespread use. An unconventional outline of an inflationary term.

Read a detailed review here.

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Imre Kertész: homesick for death

After “A Fateless Roman”, the haunting testimony from the National Socialist extermination camps, the author Imre Kertész shows in his work diary how it came about. Using objects, smells and impressions of his everyday life, he awakens firmly anchored images from the time in Auschwitz, which moved him to tell his feelings. His second work appears fluid, catches the ear, and the form and style are also accessible. Small images awaken large images of a time that Imre Kertész experienced as a youth in Auschwitz. Using the formula of the objects, the author lures seeping memories of Auschwitz and creates a testimony of impressions that must not be forgotten.

Read a detailed review here.

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Martin Sabrow: The Rathenau Murder and the German Counter-Revolution

The Weimar Republic has fascinated readers for some time. It began with many important books on the 1918/19 revolution in the course of the 100th anniversary. And now it continues with the dark chapters of the years 1922/23. On this occasion, the contemporary historian Martin Sabrow has devoted himself once again to the murder of Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau in June 1924. He precisely traces the hatred and anger of völkisch circles towards the young republic and its representatives, analyzes the “Organization Consul” and its backers and explains how right-wing terrorism in Germany grew out of the defeat in the First World War. And how the Weimar judiciary turned out to be deliberately blind in the right eye. Detailed, profound and exciting.

You can read a detailed review here.

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Fabian Michl: Wiltraut Rupp von Brünneck (1912 – 1977). Lawyer, top civil servant, constitutional judge

Biographies are not usually written about constitutional judges. But if it does, something exciting can emerge, as in the book by Fabian Michl. In the young Federal Republic, Wiltraut Rupp-von Brünneck made it to Karlsruhe – only the second woman at the time – and was praised there for her liberal attitude. But the lawyer had already started her career in the Third Reich, and although she told the Americans in 1945: “I never belonged to the NS Party,” she never let go of her past in the NS judiciary to the end. A meticulously researched masterpiece about the rocky road from dictatorship to democracy.

You can read a detailed review here.

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