Catherine the Great wanted to acquire the island for her fleet. It served as the setting for William Shakespeare's "The Tempest". Ariosto's Orlando Furioso fights on the shore of Lampedusa. Hundreds of Mussolini's troops voluntarily capitulated to a British-Jewish fighter pilot who had to make a forced landing on the little island. The Italian novelist Tomasi di Lampedusa mocked the piece of land that he shared a name with. And for more than twenty years, Lampedusa has been a place of hope for ten thousands of refugees.
Ulrich Ladurner sets out to explore the story of these rugged cliffs in the middle of the sea – and he found remarkable testimony from the heart of historical and present day Europe.
Iran is an unpredictable country. Everything seems impenetrable, nebulous and threatening. In an attempt to bring light into the darkness, Ulrich Ladurner scouted Azari Square in the capital city of Tehran and collected the stories of its citizens. There’s Amit who becomes a saint (which also makes for good business), Baba Zede who notices every single hypocritical move of his neighbours, and then there’s beautiful Robabe who makes a significant decision. Ladurner tells how people suffered under the rule of the Shah, how they experienced the Islamic Revolution and how they are living today, on the verge of a new war. He intertwines historic facts and stories from everyday life in Iran, thus giving a valuable insight, story by story.
Democracy, human rights, rule of law – it is in the name of these ideals that the West is fighting a war against the Taliban and against terror. Ulrich Ladurner reports from the sites of conflict, where central values of the Western world are being damaged. His journey leads him through a land full of opposites as he follows the traces of conquests and defeats. He looks back on the lively past of an old battlefield that has been both an American and European obsession and tells us about the lives of its people.
His stories help us understand why the Great Powers are failing in Afghanistan. A hi(story) book on enemy images and the power of memory, seeking an answer to the controversial question of what we are doing in Afghanistan.
On site where on June 24, 1859, the Battle of Solferino ended with the defeat of the Austrian army under Emperor Franz Joseph I. Here, the French troops led by Napoleon III, an ally of the Sardinian Kingdom, managed to pave the way for Italian unification. The renowned Austrian author Joseph Roth’s famous novel “Radetzky March” eternalized the small town of Solferino in a literary monument, while Henry Dunant’s first-hand report on the gruesome battle and the suffering of the wounded soldiers in its aftermath led to the founding of the International Red Cross and the adoption of the Geneva Convention.
When Ulrich Ladurner found the diaries of his great-grandfather, a man from South-Tyrol who was drafted to join the fight by lot, he set out into a past unknown to him. The political and historical account of the author’s journey, which in the course of the story becomes a search for his personal history, leads us to the Italian region Lombardy, south of Lake Garda. Observations, conversations and research on site helped Ladurner in his quest to reconstruct historical events.