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.
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.