DG -- Europe

Die EU-Erweiterung: mit Analysen und Reportagen aus der “Zeit” und Zahlen, Daten, Fakten aus dem Fischer-Weltalmanach [Expansion of the EU: With Analyses and Reports from Die Zeit, and Numbers, Facts, and Data from the Fischer-Weltalmanach]. Ed. Volker Ullrich and Felix Rudloff. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2004. 192 p. ill. 22 cm. (Fischer-Taschenbücher, 72300; Fischer-Weltalmanach aktuell). ISBN 3-596-72300-0: EUR 8.90 [04-2-556]

Europa-Lexikon: Länder, Politik, Institutionen [Encyclopedia of Europe: Countries, Politics, Institutions]. Wolf D. Gruner and Wichard Woyke. München: Beck, 2004. 505 p. 19 cm. (Beck’sche Reihe, 506). ISBN 3-406-49425-0: EUR 19.90 [04-2-557]

Knaurs Handbuch Europa: Daten, Länder, Perspektiven; aktuell: die neuen EU-Länder [Knaurs Handbook of Europe: Data, Countries, Perspectives; Current Information: The New EU Countries]. Nicole Schley, Sabine Busse, and Sebastian J. Brökelmann. München: Knaur-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2004. 428 p. ill. 21 cm.(Knaur, 77731). ISBN 3-426-77731-2: EUR 12.90 [04-2-558]

Just in time for the eastern expansion of the European Union in May 2004, numerous new titles concerned with the themes of Europe or the European Union appeared. Three of these are discussed here.

Die EU-Erweiterung is the first volume of a new series, Fischer-Weltalmanach aktuell, on current social topics, that is being compiled by the editorial staffs of the newspaper Die Zeit and the Fischer-Weltalmanach [Fischer World Almanac]. The present work reflects this dual origin. Over one-half of the volume consists of analyses and articles from the weekly newspaper, some new and some reprinted. The second part is headed “Numbers, Data, Facts from the Fischer-Weltalmanach.” This too is mainly previously published material. First the new member countries (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia) are introduced, and after the basic information comes a more detailed narrative about government, economy, and politics. A chronology gives the history of the countries in brief form, and there are short biographies of leading politicians. Only the second part of the book appears to be a reference work. It offers important information on the new members of the European Union and the EU itself, and is well organized.

Beck’s Europa-Lexikon, the longest and most expensive of the three works, offers in its first section survey articles on Europe as a whole, with such topics as the idea of Europe, politics and society, economics, and law. The much longer second section contains country profiles in which the member and candidate states are introduced, arranged by geographical regions. For each country, basic data and socio-economic information are followed by accounts of the history, political system, and policies in connection with Europe, as well as a current bibliography that includes internet addresses. This work, too, has a section of short articles on European institutions; it ends with a chronology of European integration and a selective bibliography, again with internet references. Although it costs more than the other two works, the contents make it a good value.

Knaurs Handbuch Europa has a structure similar to that of the other two works. It offers first a history of European unification and then presents the organs and institutions of the European Union. These sections take up nearly half of the volume. Here, too, the country articles on member and candidate states follow, but they are very short, between three and five pages. In contrast to the other two works, which devote more space to the member states, the emphasis here is on the history, institutions, processes, and activities of the European Union. It is the most detailed of the three in this area.

Given the different emphases, the three works on Europe and European integration complement each other. Because they are reasonably priced, the acquisition of all three is recommended. [hcp/gh]

Nürnberg-Bibliographie [Nuremberg Bibliography]. Ed. Günther Thomann for the Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg. Nürnberg: Stadtbibliothek. 21 cm. (Beiträge zur Geschichte und Kultur der Stadt Nürnberg: Abteilung Nürnberg-Bibliographie). (Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg, Egidienplatz 23, D-90317 Nürnberg, e-mail: stb@stadt.nuernberg.de) [04-1-337]

1975/80. 1983. ix, 160, 18 p. EUR 1.50

1981/85. 1988. viii, 228, 18 p. EUR 1.50

1986/90. 1992. vii, 238 p. EUR 1.50

Nürnberg-Bibliographie [Nuremberg Bibliography]. Ed. Günther Thomann for the Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg. Nürnberg: Stadtbibliothek. 21 cm. (Beiträge zur Geschichte und Kultur der Stadt Nürnberg: Abteilung Nürnberg-Bibliographie). (Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg, Egidienplatz 23, D-90317 Nürnberg, e-mail: stb@stadt.nuernberg.de) [04-1-338]

1991/95. 2003. CD-ROM. ISBN 3-9808474-3-8: EUR 5

Regional bibliographies of Bavaria abound, many the product of local research libraries or historical associations. The Nürnberg-Bibliografie, however, is a publication of the City Library of Nuremberg, the oldest municipal library in the German-speaking countries. Four parts, covering the years 1975-1995, include ca. 1,600 titles integrating the literature on individual districts of the city and items on important local persons and families, as well. The fourth part is available on CD-ROM only, with unfortunately limited navigational tools. It is the last piece to this publication, which will be subsumed by the regional Bayerische Bibliographie. [hdw/mjc]

Bibliographie zur Geschichte Oberammergaus und der Passionspiele [Bibliography on the History of Oberammergau and the Passion Play]. Ludwig Utschneider. Oberammergau: Historischer Verein Oberammergau, 2003. 128 p. 21 cm. (Der Ammergau, 3). ISBN 3-9807212-2-1: EUR 6.50 (Historischer Verein Oberammergau, Rottenbucherstr. 36, D-82487 Oberammergau, e-mail: info@historischer-verein.de) [04-1-339]

The German National Bibliography inappropriately placed this work in its “Theatre, Dance, and Film” classification: only 60 pages (with circa 2,000 titles) of the volume are devoted specifically to the Oberammergau Passion Play, a religious observance performed every 10 years since 1634 (in decennial years beginning in 1700), after the town was spared a plague. This bibliography addresses much more than the Passion Play and covers all subject areas relevant to the locale of Oberammergau, including historical-geographical aspects, music, religion, literary portrayals, people and families, buildings and public facilities, business and commerce, the natural surroundings, and language. All chapters are subdivided and detailed; the one on the Passion Play also contains a section on previously published bibliographies, as well as information on the performances (chronologically from 1633/34 to 2000), playbooks, and various issues such as anti-Semitism. The especially large number of foreign-language titles in this chapter is appropriate given the international interest in this major event of the Oberammergau community. The quality of the work in general is good. It lacks an author index, but that is a minor problem, as the approach is primarily through subject. [sh/hrh]

Das große Bremen-Lexikon [Comprehensive Dictionary of Bremen]. Herbert Schwarzwälder. 2d rev. and expanded ed. 2 vols. Bremen: Edition Temen, 2003. 1,016 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 3-86108-693-X: EUR 52 [04-1-340]

Almost exactly two years after the publication of the first edition (see RREA 8:252), the second edition of this city encyclopedia has appeared, described as updated, revised, and expanded. A sampling of the 39 articles in the alphabetical range of Aa to Ak indicates that the majority of the articles are unchanged or only modified with a citation. As in the first edition, the information given in the citations is sparse. Six of the sampled articles are new, of which only one is on an individual recently deceased. Three illustrations were added, one in a new article. The total number of articles is described on the book jacket as approximately 7,500, substantially more than in the previous edition; however, an approximate count of the articles indicates a total closer to 4,400 entries. Nonetheless, the additional material in the second edition makes it a worthwhile purchase for institutions with a demand for information on the city of Bremen. [sh/hrh]

Deutsches Städtebuch: Handbuch städtischer Geschichte [Book of German Cities: Handbook of Municipal History]. Originated by Erich Keyser; rev. ed. Heinz Stoob for the Institut für Vergleichende Städtegeschichte an der Universität Münster. Stuttgart [et al.]: Kohlhammer. 28 cm. [04-1-345]

Vol. 3,2. Städtebuch Hinterpommern [Cities of West Pomerania]. Ed. Peter Johanek for the Kulturstiftung der Deutschen Vertriebenen. 2003. xii, 342 p. ISBN 3-17-018152-1: EUR 79

The usual information on cities is included in this revised volume on West Pomerania: history, social structure, constitution and government, economics, churches, and educational system, but there is no coverage beyond the year 1945. Regrettably, the work also lacks a map of the region and a detailed introduction on the area and its cities. This material is to be included in a future volume, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which will cover Pomerania in its entirety. Both regions are already included in Handbuch der historischen Stätten Deutschlands: Mecklenburg, Pommern (Stuttgart, 1996). Despite its limitations, the Städtebuch offers an impressive collection of data and clearly reveals the devastating effect of World War II on this region. [ab/mjc]

Aachen von A bis Z: Wissenswertes in 1500 Stichworten über Geschichte, Kunst und Kultur [Aachen from A to Z: Worthwhile Information on Its History, Art, and Culture in 1,500 Entries]. Holger A. Dux. Münster: Aschendorff, 2003. 477 p. ill. 19 cm. ISBN 3-402-05465-5: EUR 12.80 [04-1-347]

The title summarizes the nature of this work as a handy alphabetical arrangement of entries on people, streets, places, monuments, facilities, and organizations, emphasizing the city of Aachen’s history, art, and culture. Within the entries arrows call attention to other articles on related subjects. The work has approximately 50 pages of double-sided black-and-white photos of buildings and monuments, but especially notable is the 40page appendix, which is subdivided into 21 sections and includes lists of prominent persons, such as bishops, lord mayors, honorary citizens, prize winners, and rectors of the technical university, along with historical surveys of the city and its architecture. Information on organizations frequently includes names of managers or directors.

Though 1,500 entries are a considerable number, some significant subjects are missing, for example the university library and the “Aachener Zeitungsente,” an honor bestowed on journalists by the Aachen Press Association. The principle of entry arrangement is not clear: for example, many churches are found under Kirche St…. (Church of Saint…), yet the rest are scattered alphabetically under the name of the church, e.g., Christuskirche (Christ’s Church) is listed under C. The same inconsistency applies to cemeteries and schools. The placing of entries for the First and Second World Wars under I and II (e.g., I. Weltkrieg) is especially problematic, as one would expect to find them under W. In addition, multiple entries for subjects for which there are several synonyms give differing information, and there are entries with incorrect personal names. Not unusual for popular works such as this, there are no citations within articles. There is a bibliography for the volume, but one notes missing or confusing information. The work purports to present information in an “entertaining way” and can be a companion for city touring, providing simple answer needs. (However, it does not answer a question posed in its introduction: how did the laundress Isabelle Brunelle become a filthy-rich countess? The answer cannot be found under I or B.) Overall, the work is a practical companion for those needing general information on Aachen, including tourists and even Aachen residents, who may not be familiar with all the facts offered by the volume. But the historical city of Aachen awaits an encyclopedia substantial enough to be purchased by libraries outside the region. [aw/hrh]

Kölner Geistliche im Mittelalter [Clergy in Cologne in the Middle Ages]. Ed. Klaus Militzer. Köln: Historisches Archiv. 24 cm. (Mitteilungen aus dem Stadtarchiv von Köln, 91). (Historisches Archiv, Postfach 103564, D-50475 Köln, fax [49 221] 221-22480, e-mail: hastik@netcologne.de) [04-1-350]

Vol. 1. Männer [Men]. 2003. 824 p. ISBN 3928907-12-3: EUR 98

Based on documents housed in Cologne’s Historical Archive, this prosopography lists over 2,000 men (a volume on women is to follow) belonging to one or another of the city’s religious institutions in the 400 years spanning the 12th through the 15th centuries. The main section (p. 45-713) consists of an alphabetical listing with dates and biographical information. A second section (p. 714-824) organizes the names chronologically according to the religious orders and monasteries to which they belonged. [sh/sl]

Berühmte Dresdner: historisch-biographisches Handbuch bedeutender Persönlichkeiten geboren in Dresden [Famous Dresdeners: Historical-Biographical Handbook of Eminent Persons Born in Dresden]. Volker Klimpel. Dresden: Hellerau-Verlag, 2002. 207 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 3-910184-85-5: EUR 19.90 [04-1-357]

The author is a physician and historian of medicine who has published a number of biographical dictionaries on physicians: Dresdner Ärzte (see RREA 6:325); Schriftsteller-Ärzte (see RREA 7:84); Politiker-Ärzte [Politician-Physicians] (2001); and Frauen in der Medizin [Women in Medicine] (2001). Now he has compiled one of the many local biographical dictionaries to have been published recently. It is limited to persons born in Dresden or one of its suburbs, and does not include persons who were merely active there. The author includes individuals from all professions and areas of life. Klimpel has culled approximately 900 names from all periods (excluding people who are still alive) from numerous reference sources, especially Deutsche biographische Enzyklopädie (DBE). The information in the concise articles ends with abbreviations for the sources, although those other than the DBE are not always given. The dictionary will be used primarily as a first reference only if one happens to know that a person was born in Dresden, but it will then lead the reader to other, detailed sources of information. [sh/gh]

Serbska bibliografija = Sorbische Bibliographie [Sorbian Bibliography]. Bautzen: Domowina-Verlag. 24 cm. (Schriften des Sorbischen Instituts = Spisy Serbskeho instituta, …). [04-1-358]

1996/2000. Ed. Franc Šěn. 2003. (…, 36). 495 p. ISBN 3-7420-1942-2: EUR 24.90

The previous two quinquennial installments were reviewed in RREA 7:310 and RREA 1:545. Franz Schön, the compiler of the bilingual Sorbian Bibliography, has continued his work with the publication of this five-year volume. The new volume lists 7,607 titles relating to Sorbian studies; many of them are newspaper articles. As in the previous volumes, a subject index is missing, but there are indexes of persons and places. The increased number of titles listed in this volume is a reflection of the vitality of the Sorbian culture. [sh/ba]

Interaktiver historischer Atlas Schleswig-Holstein 1867-2000 = Interaktivt historisk atlas Slesvig-Holsten 1867-2000 = Interactive Historical Atlas of Schleswig-Holstein 1867-2000. Frank Schwedler, Ulrike Schwedler, Jürgen H. Ibs, and Björn Ahrens. Ed. Eckart Dege for the esellschaft für Schleswig-Holsteinische Geschichte. Neumünster: Wachholtz, 2002. CD-ROM + installation guide. 25 cm. ISBN 3-529-02448-1: EUR 15 [04-1-362]

This CD-ROM is a companion publication to the printed work Historischer Atlas Schleswig-Holstein, which presents the history of Schleswig-Holstein in maps in three volumes: (1) 1945 to the present: Schleswig-Holstein as a German federal state; (2) 1867-1945: the Prussian province; and (3) the period before 1867. Digital data sets assembled for the print work are the basis of the electronic edition, for which original software was also created. The electronic version is intended to allow the user to create and display customized maps using the supplied cartographic data and software.

After installation the computer screen appears in two sections. The area on the right, occupying about two-thirds of the screen, is the area reserved for displaying maps. The remaining area on the left is called the “info-center” and contains four clickable menus which enable the user to select, display, and manipulate maps to be loaded into the map display area. The first menu provides access to 202 complete maps, mostly of Schleswig-Holstein as a whole, but also including several regions and communities. Double clicking on a particular map loads the map into the display area. Several maps can be opened at once and can be enlarged or reduced as needed. The second menu provides an explanatory list of symbols used on a selected map. The third menu provides access to statistical data related to a selected map. For example, clicking on the name of a town on a selected map displays relevant statistical data for that town in the “info-center” panel on the left. The fourth menu contains 70 cartographic themes (e.g., “natural areas 1994”) that can be used to modify the supplied maps. The goal of this project is to provide a functionality that is intuitive for the novice user. However, all users are strongly advised to view the tutorial provided, which presents an excellent intruduction to working with this product.

Beyond this basic structure this atlas contains a number of elements that justify the designation “interactiv.” For example, the data contained in any map can be displayed in tabular form in a window below the map (although because of space limitations only a few lines of the data can be viewed at once). Because the tables and maps are linked, clicking on a particular entity (e.g., town or jurisdiction) causes the data for that entity to be highlighted in the displayed table and clicking on an entity in the table causes it to be highlighted in the map. If the user wishes to search for a particular name (e.g., a city), entering the name in a search box causes the appropriate data to be displayed in the data menu, in tabular form, and on the map. As maps can be greatly enlarged, even very small entities can be examined.

The available maps can be chosen from 18 thematic categories. The largest category (40 maps) is devoted to economics (agriculture, economic development, employment). The next largest group (20 maps) deals with politics and governmental administration, and includes maps relating to federal and state elections since 1947, but unfortunately none on elections before the federal period. Other subjects include construction, settlement patterns, transportation, water and energy supply, and public health. Not all maps address Schleswig-Holstein as a whole. There are several maps dealing with, e.g., settlement development in Kiel, and World War II destruction in Lübeck and Kiel. Nevertheless this is by no means a historical atlas in the fullest sense of the word. There are too many areas not covered (e.g., cultural and educational development, religious institutions, communication, material cultural, dialects and linguistic history). The cd version also does not include data for the period before 1867. One hopes that when the third volume of the print edition is published the data will be added to the cd edition.

If we look at historical atlases of the past, we can note two extremes in type. One extreme, represented by Putzgers Historischer Schul-Atlas zur alten, mittleren und neuen Geschichte [Putzger’s Historical School Atlas of Ancient, Medieval, and Modern History] (Bielefeld, 1899), is generally of a static nature showing isolated stages of historical development in great detail while deemphasizing the stages between them. At the other extreme, the Dtv-Atlas zur Weltgeschichte [Dtv Atlas of World History] (München, 1964) attempts to show the dynamic nature of historical change with its use of arrows and hatching, but with a loss of detail. The present atlas stands between these two extremes. As a regional atlas it can offer greater specificity than either of the two world atlases. As maps can be displayed side by side on the screen, it is a simple matter to graphically display historical change by viewing maps from year to year. Additionally the maps are based on empirical data, and the user is not subjected to the ideological choices of the historian as regards interpretation of the data. One negative aspect of the arrangement of the product is that when several menus and tables are opened the mass of textual material quickly fills up the available space, so that it is necessary to close some menus to be able to view the data easily.

When it comes to thematic maps, even CD-ROM technology can not provide a product that could satisfy the wishes of every user, especially since there can be as many thematic maps as there are aspects of human existence. Despite some problems with the display of the large amount of data available, and although there are many subject areas not covered, the work does provide some good and pleasing solutions to cartographic representation of historical phenomena. One looks forward to future developments. [wh/jc]

Beiträge zu einem biographischen Lexikon der Deutschen aus dem Raum der Provinz Posen: nach den 1978-1998 in der Zeitschrift “Der Kulturwart” von Joachim Heinrich Balde herausgegebenen “Posener Biographien” [Contributions Toward a Biographical Encyclopedia of Germans from the Region of Posen: Taken from “Posen Biographies,” published from 1978-1998 by Joachim Heinrich Balde in the Journal “Der Kulturwart”]. Ed. Kommission für die Geschichte der Deutschen in Polen. Herne: Stiftung Martin-Opitz-Bibliothek, 2003. 235 p. ill. 30 cm. (Beiträge zur Geschichte der Deutschen in Polen und der deutschpolnischen Beziehungen, 2). ISBN 3-923371-26-8: EUR 25. (Stiftung Martin-Opitz-Bibliothek, Berliner Platz 5, D-44623 Herne, e-mail: information.mob@herne.de) [04-1-367]

Hidden biographical collections share the fate of hidden bibliographies, in that they often escape attention. That has certainly been the case here with biographies of persons from Posen, a formerly German area that now lies in Poland. After the demise of the journal in which these entries first appeared, and on the occasion of the main editor’s 90th birthday, the Posen-German biographies were gathered in one volume, essentially unchanged but arranged in alphabetical order with an indicator of when they were first published. The introduction by Wolfgang Keller, while not denying a “dominance of memory and repression” in the selection and wording of the entries, notes that the work points in a promising direction toward cooperation between Polish and German institutions that share the goal of biographically mapping Posen. The Herder Institute, which worked jointly with Polish members of the Commission for the History of Germans in Poland, is now expanding this practice of joint working relationships to further other national and regional biographical projects. [sh/rdh]

Schriftsteller-Lexikon der Siebenbürger Deutschen: biobibliographisches Handbuch für Wissenschaft, Dichtung und Publizistik [Encyclopedia of German Authors of Transylvania: Bio-bibliographical Handbook for Science, Literature, and Journalism]. Originated by Joseph Trausch, continued by Friedrich Schuller and Hermann A. Hienz. Köln [et al.]: Böhlau. 22 cm. (Schriften zur Landeskunde Siebenbürgens, 7). [04-1-368]

Vol. 9. M-P. Hermann A. Hienz. 2004. xvii, 450 p. ISBN 3-412-09904-X: EUR 54.90

This latest volume of bio-bibliographies of professional writers continues the familiar mixture of new articles and additions to the material in the original edition of 18681902 (reprinted as vol. 7, 1-4 of Landeskunde Siebenbürgens (Köln, 1983). Three further volumes are expected to complete the set in the next 10 to 12 years. In addition, a separate volume is planned for women writers. [sh/mjc]

Handbuch der historischen Stätten [Handbook of Historical Sites]. Stuttgart: Kröner. 18 cm. (Kröners Taschenausgabe, …). [04-1-369]

Siebenbürgen [Transylvania]. Ed. Harald Roth. 2003. lxxi, 309 p. maps (…, 330). ISBN 3-520-33001-6: EUR 25

The handbook consists of 179 articles, organized by the contemporary Romanian administrative place name. Additionally, there is a comprehensive historical introduction, a glossary of historical terminology, six maps, a general bibliography, and several royal family trees. Other volumes in the series are organized by the historical German place names; whether this is to be preferred to using contemporary names is largely a matter of taste. At any rate, the cross references from the German names and the index of place names are very useful. Although the content and concept of this volume are of the usual high quality for the series, the lack of space leads to undesirable consequences. As with the last volume in the series, one notices the overuse of abbreviations; in this volume the extremely small font also creates problems. [ab/dsa]

Berliner biographisches Lexikon [Biographical Encyclopedia of Berlin]. Ed. Volker Spiess; 2d rev. and expanded ed., Günther Bellmann. Berlin: Haude & Spener, 2003. 476 p. ill. 23 cm. ISBN 3-7759-0468-9: EUR 29.80 [04-2-564]

This biographical encyclopedia of (deceased) personalities who had some relationship to Berlin during their lifetimes was first published in 1993. The second edition, with 200 additional entries, brings the total number of short biographies up to 1,700. The articles are headed by name, pseudonym where relevant, birth and death dates and locations, and finally a reference to cemetery plot in the case of Berlin burials. The selection of small black-and-white portraits seems arbitrary. Citations of secondary literature are often lacking; when present, they consist of one or two monographic titles, generally taken from popular literature. Cross-references to substantive general biographies, such as Allgemeine deutsche Biographie or Neue deutsche Biographie, are lacking altogether. [sh/rdh]

Bibliographie zur Geschichte Pommerns = Bibliografia historii Pomorza Zachodniego [Bibliography on the History of Pomerania]. Ed. Norbert Kersken and Urszula Zaborska. Marburg: Herder-Institut. 24 cm. (Bibliographien zur Geschichte und Landeskunde Ostmitteleuropas, …). Previously published under the title Geschichtliche und landeskundliche Literatur Pommerns. [04-2-573]

1994/96. 2002. lii, 294 p. (…, 27). ISBN 3-87969-299-8: EUR 34

This bibliography is a product of cooperation between the Herder-Institut and the University Library of Toruń. There are many local history bibliographies appearing under the auspices of the Herder-Institut, of which several have predecessors due to a complex set of historical developments. But the situation of the regional bibliography for Pomerania outdoes them all in complexity. Fortunately, the history and the corresponding titles of earlier bibliographies are discussed in the introduction to the current volume.

Its coverage is limited to works that are historical in approach; regional studies with contemporary subject matter are covered only when their contents and methodology also have a historical dimension. The number of entries in Polish and German are approximately equal; there are very few in other languages. Polish titles are supplied with a German translation, and all parts of the work (introduction, table of contents, headers) are in both languages. Although a number of regional bibliographies are available online, printed multi-year bibliographies like this one are still of interest. [sh/vh]

Stettiner Lebensbilder [Stettin Biographies]. Eckhard Wendt. Köln [et al.]: Böhlau, 2004. 508 p. ill. 23 cm. (Veröffentlichungen der Historischen Kommission für Pommern: Reihe 5, Forschungen zur Pommerschen Geschichte, 40; Pommersche Lebensbilder, 7). ISBN 3-412-09404-8: EUR 49.90 [04-2-574]

Unlike earlier volumes in the series Pommersche Lebensbilder, which offered biographies of Pomeranians by epoch (volumes 1-4) and profession (volumes 5-6), this latest work is devoted to important persons who lived, died, and/or were influential in Stettin, the capital city of Pomerania, irregardless of time period or occupation. Also different from the earlier volumes, the 273 biographies in the current one are short, averaging two pages each, and even include some living persons. Entries are divided into three sections: (1) heading (including name, occupation, places and dates of birth and death, and sometimes burial location) and genealogical data; (2) biography, with a “characterization of the personality, but no panegyrics;” (3) a selective list of primary and secondary literature, including any literary remains and references to photographs and portraits. Unfortunately, the volume lacks indexes—for example, for occupations and places—which would have been useful, especially when dealing with such a localized area. In general, it would be helpful to have access to a comprehensive index covering all currently published volumes in this series. [sh/nb]

Mitteldeutsche Lebensbilder [Biographies from Central Germany]. Ed. Werner Freitag for the Historische Kommission für Sachsen-Anhalt. Köln: Böhlau. 24 cm. (New Series). [04-2-575]

Vol. 2. Menschen im Zeitalter der Reformation [Persons in the Age of the Reformation]. 2004. 255 p. ISBN 3-412-08402-6: EUR 22.90

The first series of Mitteldeutsche Lebensbilder, published between 1926 and 1930 in five volumes, included biographies of 177 persons from the 18th and 19th centuries. A new series was begun in 2002, and with the 2004 publication of volume 2, has become established.

The new series covers persons of “second rank,” that is, not the leading personalities, but rather those persons of interest to current medieval research and comparative regional history. Their biographies are written by “specialists from archives and universities.” Central Germany is here defined as the territory and cities of present-day Saxony-Anhalt. Volume 1 covers persons of the late Middle Ages. Volume 2, in three chapters, covers (1) Precursors and Opponents of Martin Luther; the dramatist Joachim Greff, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and the Catholic theologian Michael Vehe; (2) Princes between the Old Belief and the Mission of Reformation: Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, Wolfgang von Köten-Bernburg, and Prince George II of Anhalt; and (3) Lutheran Theologians and University Scholars of the “Second Generation”: Theodor Fabricius, Matthias Falcius Illyricus, Johannes Olearius, and Matthaeus Wesenbeck.

As in volume 1, resources and bibliographical references are cited within the copious endnotes, but a list of publications is lacking. [sh/jmw]

Schlesische Lebensbilder [Silesian Biographies]. Ed. Historische Kommission für Schlesien. Neustadt an der Aisch: Degener. 24 cm. Vols. 6 and 7 published by Thorbecke Verlag, Stuttgart and Sigmaringen. [04-2-577]

Vol. 8. Schlesier des 14. bis 20. Jahrhunderts [Silesians of the 14th to 20th Centuries]. Ed. Arno Herzig, for the Historische Kommission für Schlesien. 2004. 283 p. ISBN 3-7686-3501-5: EUR 35

This series was begun by the Historical Commission for Silesia in 1922 and resumed after World War II with volume 5 in 1968, volume 6 in 1990, and volume 7 in 2001. Three biographies in the current volume have been contributed by two scholars at the University of Wrocław/Breslau, who bring new approaches to people of non-German backgrounds. An example is the newly updated biography of Heinrich Graetz (18171891), a historian of Judaism, whose life was first described in volume 2 (1926).

The 40 chronologically arranged biographies—31 of them accompanied by portraits in a separate section—range over seven centuries, with 16 of the subjects having died after 1923. As in earlier volumes, women are poorly represented, comprising only 10 percent of the subjects. The aristocracy, as well as figures from the fields of politics, philosophy, and literature, are well represented, but there are few persons from the natural sciences, technology, or business. In contrast to many other collections of biographies, this work has tightly written entries, each of them being approximately eight pages long. The article headings give only the subject’s name and birth and death years; it would have been desirable to include the exact dates and places of birth and death, as well as religious denomination and profession. For the first time, the current volume contains an index of mentioned individuals, a place index with Polish and Czech concordances, and an alphabetical index of entries from previous volumes and their authors, unfortunately not including the current volume’s 40 entries, which bring the total articles in all volumes to 417. An index of fields or professions would have been desirable. [sh/hrh]

Handbuch der historischen Stätten [Handbook of Historical Sites]. Stuttgart: Kröner. 18 cm. (Kröners Taschenausgabe, …). [04-2-579]

Schlesien [Silesia]. Ed. Hugo Weczerka. 2d rev. and expanded ed. 2003. xciii, 738 p. ill. (…, 316). ISBN 3-520-31602-1: EUR 24

This volume covers the region of Silesia, an area which today has been integrated into Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. In 531 alphabetical entries the work provides information on cities, aristocratic seats, and other places of historical significance. Primarily German-language historical names are used, which is surprising, because 60 years after the end of World War II the average reader would be more familiar with the current—mainly Polish and Czech—place names than with former German names. Instead, place names in German, Czech, and Polish are consolidated into a place name concordance, which is somewhat inconvenient for the user. This practice deviates from that of the other volumes of this series. In common with the others, this volume has an abundance of assembled facts and good information, but the extremely small typeface and heavy use of abbreviations detract from the work.

Unfortunately, this new edition is an inadequate update of the original 1977 work. The forward states that an entire revision was not possible (even after 25 years have passed!) due to cost issues and lack of time. Instead, the original work is presented with three pages of errata, so that it still offers outdated information such as the 1970 population figures for Breslau/Wrocław. Additional literature references are not integrated with the articles but are attached in a separate appendix. A listing of general literature for 1976-2000 is also given separately. The unfortunate consequences of this patchwork arrangement, recognizable also from the typography, are clear: before the user can find all information on a particular place, the main entry article must be consulted, followed by the errata list and the literature supplements in the appendix. It is regrettable that the publishing house has jeopardized its good reputation and that of this series in such a fashion. [ab/hrh]

Die 100 wichtigsten Thüringer [The 100 Most Important Thuringians]. Detlef Ignasiak and Kai Agthe. Bucha bei Jena: Quartus-Verlag, 2004. 208 p. ill. 18 cm. ISBN 3-931505-44-8: EUR 9.90 [04-2-580]

The individuals included in this selection range chronologically from King Hermenefred, who died in 534, to Heike Drechsler, a successful sportswoman born in 1964. Only 11 women are mentioned, but a complementary source for women of achievement is to be found in Thüringens berühmte Frauen (Taucha, 2000). Included are those who were born or died within the borders of modern Thuringia with notable achievements there or abroad, as well as non-Thuringians who did significant work in the region. This volume will appeal to the historically interested Thuringian, but probably not to any research libraries outside that province. [sh/mjc]

Österreich-Lexikon: in drei Bänden [Encyclopedia of Austria in Three Volumes]. Ed. Ernst Bruckmüller. 3 vols. Wien: Verlagsgemeinschaft Österreich-Lexikon, 2004. xix, 570, vii, 630, vii, 582 p. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 3-85498-385-9: EUR 109 [04-2-581]

In this third edition of the encyclopedia, the reprinted introduction to the second (1995) edition covers the overall concept and selection criteria for the articles (15,000 in 2004). The new introduction is restricted to a list of changes, among them the inclusion of all municipalities, an increase in the number of entries on persons, a revision of the articles on botany, some editing and updating of old articles, an increase in the number of illustrations, an expansion of the articles about Austria’s relationships with its neighbors, and a thorough revision of the entries on historical periods (e.g., Baroque). The bibliography of reference books and the chronology of Austrian governments since 1918 have been updated. This national encyclopedia is a must for every reference collection as a replacement for earlier editions. [sh/vh]

Aktuelle Schweiz: Lexikon für Politik, Recht, Wirtschaft, Gesellschaft [Switzerland Today: Dictionary of Politics, Law, Economy, Society]. Ed. Christian Sonderegger and Marc Stampfli. 4th updated and expanded ed. Oberentfelden: Sauerländer, 2004. 704 p. ill. 18 cm. Previous title: Lexikon für Politik, Recht, Wirtschaft, Gesellschaft. ISBN 3-0345-0115-3: SFr. 45, EUR 30 [04-2-586]

The encyclopedia offers very well edited and very current (end of March, 2004) information about Switzerland, and is appropriate for a broad user group. The first part, entitled “Fundamentals,” begins with a chapter covering basics such as history, geography, and population. Further chapters deal with such topics as “Switzerland as a Democracy,” “Switzerland as a Welfare State,” “Switzerland and the World.” The second section of the book treats 21 political topics in alphabetical order, including immigrant and asylum policy and economic policy. A short dictionary of political terms, a list of abbreviations, and a bibliography of sources complete the volume. Some chapters, indicated by colored markings on the external edge of the pages, include illustrations, statistics, maps, and links to web sites. This book belongs in the reference collections of as many as libraries as possible, including those outside Switzerland. [sh/vh]

Frankreich: mit 45 Tabellen [Geographie, Geschichte, Wirtschaft, Politik] [France: With 45 Tables (Geography, History, Economy, Politics)]. Alfred Pletsch. 2d rev. and expanded ed. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2003. xxii, 378 p. ill. 25 cm. (Wissenschaftliche Länderkunden). ISBN 3-534-16042-8: EUR 44.90 [04-2-587]

Alfred Pletsch is a professor of geography in Marburg, and his expertise is apparent in the extensive treatment of the natural areas and climatic characteristics of France. In fact, reading some of the text relating to the natural sciences in this beautifully produced volume may be somewhat taxing for the layperson. Chapters cover, among other topics, population history, the history of city development, agriculture and fishing, changes over time in the structure of French industry, the service sector, tourism, and regional development. Despite the inclusion of “Politics” in the subtitle, Pletsch seems to view it as not particularly central to regional studies; he treats the issue of central government control of the economy in only four pages, and devotes only three to France’s role in international politics. Compensation for this brevity is provided by Henrik Uterweddes’ article on the role of France in the postwar period. The book supports the text with data throughout, with clear diagrams and tables, photographs, and other illustrations. The volume includes an extensive place name and subject index, as well as a long bibliography divided into sources on “nature” and “culture.” The book offers a survey of French regional studies that is notable for being both multifaceted and accurate. [uh/vh]

Next Section
Previous Section
Table of Contents

Comments, suggestions, or questions
Last update: July 17, 2007 [TB]
2007 Casalini libri - VAT no. IT03106600483