Author: Egon Erwin Kisch
Pictures: Lewis W. Hine and others
Genre: Narrative Nonfiction
Softcover; ca 300 pp. / ca 30 pics
Dimensions: 6’’ x 9’’
Suggested retail $ 19.95
Paradise America describes a road trip Egon Erwin Kisch took in 1929, from New York City to California from the perspective of the downtrodden, the immigrants, the Afro-Americans, the workers at the harbor and in the coalmines, the construction workers, the sinners, and the settlers. Kisch, the famed Weimar-era “racing reporter”, talks to the men who are building the skyscrapers and work at the docks and in the field. He visits the docks, the jails, the courthouses, and cemeteries for the poor in New York, but also the banks on Wall Street. He documents the slaughterhouses in Chicago, the Ford factories in Detroit, and stops by the Capitol in Washington as well as the theatre where Lincoln was shot. He plays God on Hollywood Boulevard, feels with the extras and the stars, meets the author Upton Sinclair, and visits Charlie Chaplin doing a movie on location. His adventures include the election campaign of Herbert Hoover and Al Smith, a boat tour through the Panama Canal, and Sutter's Farm in Sacramento, where the gold rush began. Kisch shows us a detailed, and often humorous picture of America just months before the Great Depression. In some respect, not that much has changed in America today. An entertaining work for everybody interested in American history translated here for the first time.
Egon Erwin Kisch, born 1885 in Prague to a Jewish family, was a journalist and travel writer known as the "racing reporter". He started his career in 1906 in Prague for Bohemia, a German-language newspaper. After having served in WWI, he moved to Vienna and then Berlin where he wrote for the Communist paper Die Rote Fahne, The Red Flag. He traveled to Greece, Italy, the Soviet Union, China; in 1929, he came to the U.S. under a false name to write a series of literary reportages. In 1933, the ardent fighter against the Nazis had to flee; he landed in fled in Australia, later reached Paris, went back to New York, and finally ended up in Mexico City. After World War II, he returned to Prague, where he died in 1948. He published more than thirty books and numerous newspaper stories.
Hinkemann is a painfully poetic plaidoyer for the overlooked vision and voice of the victim. Having suffered the penultimate wound, emasculation, in the trenches of World War I, Eugene Hinkemann returns to civilian life in Germany as physically and psychologically damaged goods. In a desperate attempt to win back his wife Grete’s love and to make ends meet, he hires himself out as a carnival strongman. A two-timing friend, Paul, meanwhile, puts the moves on Grete, who yields to his advances. This leads to a confrontation, followed by a denouement and Grete’s suicide and Eugene’s clear vision of a broken world.
Hoppla, We're Alive is a landmark drama of the Weimar Republic and one of the founding works of what would become known as a powerful portrait of a fragile democracy at war with itself, inevitably corrupted from within by the rising forces of capitalism and fascism. Toller's main character Karl Thomas, a participant in the failed Soviet-style revolutions of 1918, has spent the past eight years in a mental hospital. Released into the much-changed Germany of 1927, Thomas encounters each of his former comrades in a world where all of the lessons of the first World War and the revolution seem to have been forgotten. Building to a powerful and tragic climax, Toller’s play has lost none of its power to shock, provoke, and awaken readers.
Hoppla, We‘re Alive!
Author: Ernst Toller
Translator: Drew Lichtenberg
Softcover; 120 pp.
Dimensions: 5’’ x 8’’
Suggested retail: $ 12.95
ISBN USA: 978-1-935902-49-2
ISBN Germany: 978-3-96026-042-4
Release Spring 2022
Peter Wortsman is the author of two stage plays, Burning Words and The Tattooed Man, of two books of short fiction, A Modern Way To Die and Footprints in Wet Cement; a travel memoir, Ghost Dance in Berlin, A Rhapsody in Gray ; a novel, Cold Earth Wanderers; and a work of nonfiction, The Caring Heirs of Dr. Samuel Bard, forthcoming in 2019. His critically acclaimed translations from German into English include works from Robert Musil, Heinrich von Kleist, the Brothers Grimm, and Franz Kafka.
Ernst Toller, born 1893 in Samotschin in the then-German province of Pomerania was a revolutionary, poet, and playwright engagé. He was also president for six days of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic. In his day, Ernst Toller was as renowned as the young Bertolt Brecht. High profile persona non grata in 1933 when the Nazis came to power, Toller fled to London, went on a lecture tour to the U.S. in 1936, warned Roosevelt of the Nazis, and tried to make it as a screen writer in Los Angeles. Convinced that the world as he knew it had succumbed to the forces of darkness, Toller was found dead by hanging, a presumed suicide, in his room at the Hotel Mayflower in New York City on May 22, 1939.
Drew Lichtenberg has been the Resident Dramaturg at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. since 2011. He has worked as a dramaturg, adaptor, and translator for theatres around the country and internationally, including the Royal National Theatre in London and the Roundabout Theatre Company on Broadway, La Mama, and the Public Theater off-Broadway. Has taught as an adjunct at Eugene Lang College at the New School and the Catholic University of America and holds a Doctorate in Fine Arts from Yale School of Drama.
Our West Berlin.
Storybook from the Island
21 Authors from Berlin
Translator: Cindy Opitz
Genre: Literary nonfiction
Hardcover; 224 pp. / 64 pics
Dimension: 6’’ x 9’’
Suggested retail: $ 19.95
Our West Berlin! The beloved urban island where bars and pubs were open all night so the locals could plot the revolution! Where beer was cheap and plenty and sausage on a roll with mustard were considered dinner. Where the tenements still bore bullet holes from World War II, and the draft did not exist. Where the city government regularly stumbled over some real estate scandal and where and the Communist-controlled S-Bahn train did not run (mostly). Where old-timers from before the Wall was built, Turkish immigrants, and students from West Germany lived side by side without much talking to each other, where winter smelled like coal, and summer smelled like weed. This book is devoted to this half-city, surrounded by the Wall, which ceased to exist in 1989. Two dozen authors living in Berlin, both native-born and later arrivals, have contributed stories, from JFK touring Checkpoint Charlie to squatters in Schöneberg, from pigeons in Kreuzberg, to Christmas with candles. It is a book for those who remember, and for those who wish they did.
Stories by Andreas Austilat, Bernd Matthies, Detlef Kurth, Erkan Arikan, Eva C. Schweitzer, Gerd Nowakowski, Gretchen Dutschke, Harald Jähner, Harald Martenstein, Ingo Lamberty, Kerstin Schilling, Martina Schrey, Michael Sontheimer, Paul F. Duwe, Paul Hockenos, Rosa von Praunheim, Tanja Dückers, Thomas Rogalla, Ulli Kulke, Uwe Rada, and Wladimir Kaminer. The cover was drawn by Gerhard Seyfried (above). The artist, author and historian, born in Munich, has lived in Berlin since 1976. He has published fifteen comic books, plus countless cartoons and posters shown in numerous exhibitions.