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Berlin: The Twenties by Rainer Metzger
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Berlin: The Twenties (2006)

by Rainer Metzger

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I bought this for the illustrations and these were very good, with sufficient description and intelligently linked to the text. The photos of Berlin streets and personalities were very evocative and allowed you to appreciate the distance in time. The paintings chosen were excellent, as although they were by artists that I knew, the majority were not paintings which I had previously seen.
The text is a translation from German (originally published in Austria I think) and is rather difficult and stilted. The introductory chapter did not "set the scene" sufficiently for me and would have benefited from greater historical/political background. This may reflect my (lack of) knowledge of German history, but the impact of outcome of the First World War was not sufficiently explained, although it is outlined.
The writing of the following chapters does set out the main artistic movements and how they are reflected in the various arts, but did not feel as if they were making a coherent explanation until about half way through, when I felt the book set out themes and illustrated them well.
The final chapter which sets out the changes after 1933 when Hitler rose to power jumps forward in time too much.
Overall - great illustrations let down by the text. ( )
  CarltonC | Dec 30, 2013 |
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Berlin ist Betrieb, Berlin ist laut, hektisch, chaotisch, ein Durcheinander, eine Kakophonie, ein Sinnenrausch.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0810993295, Hardcover)

Berlin, a haunting vision of the twentieth century’s first modern city, is a cultural history filled with 400 shockingly fresh and romantic photographs, paintings, and other images.

In the brief years between the twentieth century’s two cataclysmic world wars, the modern metropolis was invented in Berlin. Life in Berlin was a cabaret, and Marlene Dietrich, Thomas Mann, Alfred Einstein, or Joseph Goebbels might be seated at the next table. The avant-garde thrived there. The mass media magnified the impact of everything from fads to political ideas. Subcultures and club cultures nurtured gender-bending fashions and lifestyles. Architects and designers struggled to free themselves from the past. In the background beat the new rhythms of urban experience: the coming and going of the latest planes and trains and automobiles, the clacking of typewriters in vast offices, the jazz band that never sleeps. Berlin: The Twenties is a book for history buffs, travelers, and lovers of modern art and design.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:42 -0400)

Comprising essays on the key movements and figures of the era, this profusely illustrated book is a highly readable portrait of this astonishing cultural ferment and its most important protagonists.

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