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Letters to the Editor: May 2013

  Robert Dassanowsky strikes the perfect balance of disbelief, disappointment, and disgust in “Un-Happy Austria, or, the Problem of         ‘German Studies’” [TVR March, 2013]. And a ‘German Studies’ that rents Austria a small room in a large ‘German’ house is anything but an ‘academic’ matter abroad because some of the most […]

Our Sneakers, Ourselves – Stalking the Shoe for You

Our Sneakers, Ourselves – Stalking the Shoe for You

“Supergas or Converse?” Runway models du jour state their allegiance in a questionnaire regularly published in a blog of The New York Times Magazine. This is not a new question. The two classic sneaker brands are far older than most realize: Superga debuted in 1911 Italy as state-of-the-art tennis shoes. Converse, the classic American brand, […]

Austerity & the Lessons of 1919

Austerity & the Lessons of 1919

I’ve never liked the word “austerity”: It conjures up the world of Scrooge and Cruella Deville, of humourless Puritans and knuckle rapping schoolmarms determined to kill the least sign of enthusiasm before it gets out of hand. My childhood had its fair share of these characters, and I was familiar with the result. In the […]

Book Review: Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire

Book Review: Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire

The complexity and details of history, no matter what our interest in the subject, can often be hard work to sift through. Thus Maureen Healy’s Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire, first published in 2004, stands out, and remains a brilliant exception. Compellingly written and chock full of revealing anecdotes, Healy reveals a […]

At the Casino: A Bittersweet Taste of Risk

At the Casino: A Bittersweet Taste of Risk

“No more bets, please,” the croupier says forcefully, while the crowd around the roulette-table pushes forward, obsessed with the ball bouncing uneasily around the wheel. I’m at Casinos Austria on the Kärtner Straße in Vienna’s 1st District with a friend who is a regular. Some might call him an addict; I just see it as […]

Book Review: We Are Doing Fine

Book Review: We Are Doing Fine

Tumult sweeps away heritage, the Proverb says: “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind.” But in two notable novels out of the German-speaking world, the authors suggest the reverse is also true: Chronic disorder – from world war to intimate betrayal – can yield not a dearth, but a surfeit. Arno Geiger’s […]

Google is Getting it

Google is Getting it

I guess I shouldn’t be startled by the news that governments and law enforcement are hitting up Google for user data – more so than ever before. Or that multiple governments have asked that content be removed, also on a record-breaking scale. What is worth applauding is that Google has for three years now been […]

WoMen at War: Austria at Home From 1914–1918

WoMen at War: Austria at Home  From 1914–1918

Military museums are tricky things: It’s important to honour the heroism and sacrifice in national defence, and important also to respect the strategies of victory or tragedies of loss. But war itself? To a modern sensibility, the answer is unclear – as the Austrian Museum of Military History, the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, apparently understands, and has […]

The Fifth Column: May 2013

The Fifth Column: May 2013

Zoo Story Founded as an imperial menagerie in 1752, Schönbrunn is the oldest zoo in the world, influencing fashion and even literature (Giraffen in Wien, 1828), and providing exotic emergency rations for a starving city during the First World War. After Schönbrunn was privatised in the early 1990s the zoo was radically sorted out by […]

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