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Talking Germany

Andreas Altmann travels the world with very little baggage and a great deal of curiosity, collecting stories. He has filled sixteen books with his experiences and written countless articles. The title of the 63-year-old writer’s latest book translates roughly as a "User’s Manual for the World.” That will give him plenty of material for discussion with Peter Craven on Talking Germany.

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Andreas Altmann was born in and grew up in the Catholic pilgrimage site, Altötting, as the son of a dealer in religious articles. As a young man, he downright fled from the moral and social strictures of the 1950s and '60s -- but also from his violent father, who tyrannized the family while maintaining a respectable facade for the world. Andreas Altmann wrote about this in his book "Das Scheißleben meines Vaters, das Scheißleben meiner Mutter und meine eigene Scheißjugend" -- or  "My Father's Crappy Life, My Mother's Crappy Life, and My Crappy Youth", which was a bestseller in 2011.
Altmann sought his place in life for a long time. He went to acting school and worked as a model and a taxi driver. He published his first travel journalism at age 38, and was immediately successful. On his travels, Altmann seeks everything life has to offer: the beautiful and the ugly, the moving and the appalling -- and he's almost always more interested in a country's people and their stories than in the sights. Andreas Altmann has lived the life of a single in Paris for many years.