1913: the year before the storm

Florian Illies

A moving account of European society on the brink of war; 1913 is the story of the year that shaped the last century.

A witty yet moving narrative worked up from sketched documentary traces and biographical fragments, 1913 is an intimate cultural portrait of a world that is about to change forever.

The stuffy conventions of the nineteenth century are receding into the past and 1913 heralds a new age of unlimited possibility. Kafka falls in love; Louis Armstrong learns to play the trumpet; a young seamstress called Coco Chanel opens her first boutique; Charlie Chaplin signs his first movie contract; and in Munich an Austrian postcard painter by the name of Adolf Hitler sells his conventional cityscapes.

Everywhere there is the premonition of ruin - the number 13 is omnipresent, and in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Trieste, artists take the omen and act as if there were no tomorrow.

Soft cover, 270 pages