Robert Tanitch’s Round-up of Books No 2 (2018)
Vienna 1900 Complete (Thames & Hudson £85) Vienna is the focal point of the modern age. Vienna is the melting pot of Old Europe. People flock to Vienna from all directions. Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele, Max Openheimer, Richard Gerstl, and Arnold Schoenberg figure prominently. A massive and magnificent collection of paintings, drawings and photographs covering lives, exhibitions, book design, graphic art, glass ceramics, fashion, photography, textiles, furniture , jewellery, furniture and architecture. The book is as wonderfully self-indulgent as Vienna itself.
Battles that Changed History: Epic Conflicts Explored and Explained (Dorling Kindersley £20). From pre-1000CE to the present day and lavishly illustrated with military maps, paintings, artefacts and photographs. 90 major battles on sea and land from Marathon to Operation Desert Storm and including Atium, Hastings, Agincourt, Constantinople, Malta, Spanish Armada, Trafalgar, Waterloo, Balaklava, Gettysburg, Gallipoli, Somme, Dunkirk. Another sumptuous book and terrific value at £20.
History of the World Map by Map (Dorling Kindersley £25). 140 specially commissioned maps plus contemporary paintings and photographs tell the story of pivotal episodes in world history from pre-history to the present day and covering key periods such as the age of Ancient Greece, the Renaissance, World War 2 and globalization. The purpose made regional maps and the global maps provide the reader with detailed and visual impression of events and the impact they had on history and geography.
Postcards from the Trenches by Irene Guenther (Bloomsbury £30) is a German soldier’s testimony of the Great War. The hand-painted postcards are the work of 22-year-old art student Otto Schubert and were sent to his sweetheart. What a wonderful collection. He writes and paints practically daily. The postcards are an intimate, vivid and moving diary about life and death in the front line for soldiers and horses, the ferociousness, human fear and loneliness starkly caught. He was at Ypres and Verdun. Schubert was gravely wounded but survived and went on to be famous. The Nazis found his work degenerate. His Auschwitz Triptych is devastating.