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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

“Historic Site: The Olympic Grounds 1909 – 1936 – 2006”, edited by Rainer Rother


144 pages, Jovis, ISBN-13: 978-3936314335

Historic Site: The Olympic Grounds 1909 – 1936 – 2006 is an academic book, which means it is a dry as the Sahara Desert at high noon. The book is a study of the Berlin Olympic Stadium, first opened to the public in 1936 as a unique combination of sports facility, military parade ground and National Socialist party showplace. From the site’s beginnings as a racecourse through its history as the Reichssportfeld – now the Olympiastadion – up to the redesign that will make it once again the focus of public attention on the occasion of the 2006 FIFA World Cup football championship, Historic Site traces the history of the Olympic grounds, examining each stage in their building and history. Three essays reflect on themes irrevocably linked to the site: the significance of the 1936 Olympic Games for the National Socialists; the way in which the “commemoration of heroes” developed following the First World War; and the site’s international architectural context. This is a richly illustrated guide to an iconic structure and the changes that have come upon it, indicative of the changes throughout Germany and Europe, to say nothing of the world.


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