Tuesday, 27 October 2015


My furnished workweek apartment has scattered shelves of mostly decorative books lining the room—some visually striking vintage paperbacks, the 1937 definitive edition of a German encyclopedia that’s an interesting snapshot but the selection is mostly of the harlequin and coffee-table (perhaps also the load-bearing) variety.
Dusting the shelves, however, I was surprised to see a title that I hadn’t noticed beforehand, Graf Luckner’s Seeteufel erobert Amerika (the Sea-Devil raids America) published in 1955. A few weeks ago, I first heard of the amazing but mostly forgotten adventures and exploits of gentleman-raider Felix Graf von Luckner. After the wars, the gracious and big-spirited Luckner was reunited was many of his hostages and toured America to great acclaim, recounting his conquests and even ripping telephone books asunder with his bare hands. I will read through the book and suppose that finding a copy just under my nose is testimony to the fame and celebrity that deserves further inspection—happily revived by the curious story-tellers at Futility Closet.