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Der Krieg mit den Molchen
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Der Krieg mit den Molchen

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,770 Ratings  ·  299 Reviews
Die brillanteste Satire gegen Fortschritt und Profit

Kapitän van Toch entdeckt auf den indonesischen Inseln eine seltsame Molchart, die sich zu allerlei Arbeiten abrichten lässt. Manager wittern ein Riesengeschäft, ein gigantisches »Salamandersyndikat« entsteht. Das Molchzeitalter scheint angebrochen. Doch bald sind die Tiere so clever, daß sie den Spieß umdrehen und ihre
Paperback, 328 pages
Published December 1st 2008 by Aufbau-Taschenbuch (first published 1935)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Charley Ada
Nov 08, 2015 Charley Ada rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
A Dutch sea captain discovers intelligent, human-sized newts in a remote island bay.

So he does what anyone would do and tells somebody with money. The Newts are then put to work building harbors and extending coastlines, and hilarity ensues. Well, for the most part. There is a war at the end of this book. Racism is also a major theme, both directly and allegorically through humanity's treatment of the Newts.

The humor is sarcastic and in a few places dark. It skewers all elements of society: in
Tyler Jones
1985 was the worst year of my life. The previous summer our family had moved from Calgary to Saskatoon and I had left behind a group of very close friends. I had just graduated high school and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I did know that I would rather go to school than get a job, so for perhaps the first time in my life I really applied myself academically in a last ditch effort to get accepted into University. I pulled off a 99% in a summer school Chemistry class, which must ...more
A Dutch captain discovers giant talking newts on a remote island and teaches them to use tools, fight off predators, and collect pearls for him. They are eventually exploited by international corporations and the newts challenge man's place at the top of the animal kingdom.

Capek covers a multitude of issues and subjects in this wonderful satire -- capitalism, militarism, racism, and even Hollywood. A great read!
One of the most enjoyable books I ever read, and definitely only one distopia I really ever liked.

Main concept of this book was repeated many many times after, for example in Starship Troopers. Goverment finds a public enemy, moves it ahead, unleashes society and mass-media on it, eventually organizes a war against it...Heroes, tragedies, war crimes.. for what? Newts!
(well we could find examples of this not only in literature, won't we).

BUT, as oppossed to We or 1984 this book is INCREDIBLY fun
Oct 15, 2015 [P] rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bitchin
A few years ago a friend of mine sent me an email containing a link to a newspaper article. This article referred to the discovery of, if I remember correctly, a previously unknown type of lobster. Underneath the article my friend had written: ‘How long before this ends up on a plate in some restaurant?’ To which I replied with something like: ‘They’ll probably dissect it or fuck it first.’ It has long been a running joke between us that with anything we – by which I mean human beings – encounte ...more
Jul 24, 2011 Jan-Maat added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy and science-fiction fans, the oppressed and downtrodden and newts everywhere
Great fun.

The story of mankind's downfall and destruction as caused by human hubris.

The tensions and ambitions of Imperialist Europe find new expression once a species of super-newt is discovered. This is expressed in Oswald Spengler style musings and a reimaging of the super-newts as having the characteristics of the empires that employ them. To the surprise of all the newts eventually turn against the humans, but in a nice touch they hire human lawyers to represent their interests at the peac
May 18, 2015 Krbo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
humor, parodija, satira, ironija, komedija...

nema čega nema u ovom genijalnom djelu, nema ikoje nezgodne ljudske osobine koju nam Čapek nije primjereno nabio na nos.

jako ugodan čitanjac, drago mi je da sam se podsjetio i svima apsolutno preporučujem.

1936. godina, a tako svježe i primjenjivo i dan danas

više od 5
Nov 27, 2011 Sokolik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Svět po první světové válce propadl iluzi, že udělal vše pro to, aby se už podobné hrůzy neopakovaly. Avšak ve třicátých letech se stále více ukazovalo, jak byly tyto představy naivní. Svět naplno prožívá hospodářskou krizi, a mnoho lidí hledá podporu v extremistickych hnutích, jak by se daly nazvat všechny ty ...ismy na vzestupu. A právě takové společnosti nastavuje ve svém románu Válka s mloky Karel Čapek zrcadlo. Nabízí světu nový způsob, jak se vymanit z krize, zlepšit blahobyt všech. Avšak ...more
Apr 09, 2007 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Shelves: done-reading
Synopsis: Kapek wrote in the post-WW1 era. In the book, a sea captain finds a bay that harbors giant newts, about the size of a ten year old human, complete with digits and all. The newts are intelligent, and he trains them to capture pearls for him. Eventually, a company forms that sends the Newts to all parts of the world for slave labor. Because of their intelligence (about equal to humans) and the training and supplies given them by man, the Newts spread all over the world (they get up to 70 ...more
May 24, 2015 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant book. This book is one of the high peaks between Swift and Twain and later broad scale social critics in fiction such as Kurt Vonnegut. Published in 1936 it takes it chops up a broad sample of contemporary politics, culture and values. Most of what it has to say about mankind and its collective arrogance holds up today with astounding clarity. This book has not dated at all in any significant way.

The book is about the discovery of an intelligent species of water dwelling beings appa
Capitalists seeking downward pressure on wages create their antithesis in the form of effective slave labor force that very predictably revolts and supersedes them.

First third is episodic, almost low farce. We know the poor newts are in for it when the guy who ‘discovers’ them refers casually to “nigger superstitions” (12) and “realized that the honor of the white race was now at stake” (14). Discoverer goes to investor in order to obtain backing for his plan to exploit newt labor, which investo
Czarny Pies
Oct 31, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone wishing to understand how America armed ISIS.
Recommended to Czarny by: Lucie Nowak
Shelves: czech-lit
Save The War with the Newts for a time when you need a laugh. It will keep you in stitches from beginning to end. Once the laughing is over, you can add it to your "read" list on Good Reads on your "Great Classics of European Literature" and "masterpieces of satire" shelves. The newt is a remarkable fable that seems to describe the conflict for colonies that France, England and Germany waged in Africa in the second half of the nineteenth century and the bloody wars they fought on European soil i ...more
Lorenzo Berardi

It may not be a conventional Czech or Slovakian speciality, but a válka s mloky is an excellent and tasty alternative to the unbearable lightness of being when a metamorphosis into an engineer of the human souls is too loud a solitude.

Preparation time: 1936-1937
Cooking time: approximately 3 days

You will need:
- An aquarium
- An atlas reporting the pre World War II borders
- Around 100 newts of both genders
- Sea salt
- Lemon
- Mayonnaise
- Biscuits in crumbs
- Granny Smith apples
Funniest book, evah (yes, including The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - for Adams couldn't resist himself and so the joke finally ran dry).

Though quite possibly the saddest too.

If you could read only one book of fiction in your whole life, this is it.
Juan Hidalgo
Feb 16, 2014 Juan Hidalgo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Este libro ha resultado una de las mayores decepciones en mis lecturas de los últimos meses. Con un principio genial, prometía una historia de grandes y originales aventuras, más aún cuando, comenzado ya el libro, descubrí que su autor, Karel Čapek, fue quien acuñó el término "robot" en una obra de teatro de 1922.
A pesar de esas expectativas, el relato toma pronto un carácter "enciclopédico", en el que el autor se limita a reseñar supuestos artículos periodísticos, congresos científicos, anuario
May 18, 2011 Julia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-to-me
I think the official story that this book was published in 1936 is a clever hoax designed to confuse future historians.
Kehdannen antaa viisi tähteä, koska harvemmin kuitenkaan tulee luettua näin puhuttelevaa, häiritsevää, ahdistavaa ja samalla hilpeää kaunokirjallisuutta.

Čapekilta muistan lukeneeni aiemmin vain kirjan Puutarhurin vuosi , mutta jo sen perusteella osasin odottaa terävää huumoria. Salamanterisota iskee täysillä ainakin minun nauruhermoihini. Kirjassa leikitellään monella tasolla niin kerronnassa, rakenteessa kuin tyylissä ja piikitellään "nykyajan ilmiöitä". Tuntuu jokseenkin käsittämättömältä, ku
L Fleisig
Jan 14, 2010 L Fleisig rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 19, 2010 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strange mixture of satire, science fiction and cautionary tale -- an obvious statement about the rise of Nazi Germany, but aside from some old-fashioned language, there were many similarities to today's world. The chapter entitled "Earthquake in Louisiana" was particularly eerie, in light of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The book was slow-going in places but I would recommend it.
Nov 03, 2015 Tomislav rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm not sure if the sarcastic tone is common to all Czech writers, or maybe Karel Čapek was just individually influenced by Jaroslav Hašek, but in any case I like it. Through multiple perspectives, this 1937 dystopia follows the rise of an intelligent but cultureless species of undersea salamander from rumors of obscure interactions with a few humans in the South Pacific to their eventual world domination. Along the way Čapek lampoons every major world power, trade group, and social force of his ...more
Ali Çetinbudaklar
Old school olduğu her yerden belli. Çok kral tane tane döşemiş Çapek. Kurduğu dünyayı yedire yedire bizlere sunmuş. Her evrenin etkilerini ve buna karşı ortaya çıkan tepkilerini güzelce temllendirmiş. Distopyaların su gibi aktığı ve artık cılkının çıktığı şuanki dönemin aksine farklı bir tarz ortaya koymuş.
Dec 18, 2015 grimaud rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excelente. No tenía muchas referencias sobre este libro. Conocía al autor por la obra de teatro en la que se usó por primera vez la palabra robot y nada mas. Pero la novela se cruzó en mi camino y me convenció para que me la llevara a casa y me he llevado una agradable sorpresa. No esperaba que me gustase tanto.
El argumento es fascinante. La aparición de nuevos seres inteligentes en La Tierra, las salamandras. La relación entre los humanos y las salamandras hará que la vida en el planeta cambie
Jan Jørgensen
Aug 30, 2014 Jan Jørgensen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dette er en fantastisk bog om menneskes destruktive side om markedskafternes betydning og om ignorance. Bogen tager sine holdninger og sin verdensopfattelse fra tiden kort før anden verdenskrig og skal klart ses som en kritik af den daværende verdens politik.

Jeg er meget begejstret for Capek's skrivestil, den er ekstrem simpel og historien bliver fortalt på en lige frem og banal måde. men alligevel præstere Capek's at hæve indholdet og skabe en klar og tydelig kritik.

Det er en filosofisk bog de
Satire, dark humor, a race of quasi-intelligent super-amphibians that take over the world: a recipe for a happy Velma, indeed. If you want an antidote to today's pessimistic, over-the-top political climate and end-times culture wars: avoid this book like the plague. If, instead, you want a neo-Swiftian dystopian romp of an all-that-is-old-is-new-again, hey-didn't-we-DO-colonialism-slash-fascism-slash-arms-racing-Armageddon-already, we-haven't-come-a-long-way-baby sweet read, then crack the spine ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Nils rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Ein intensives Buch, das seiner Zeit (1936) weit voraus war: Galt es damals in erster Linie als Kritik am und Warnung vor dem Vormarsch der Nazis, kann man es heute aus unendlich vielen Perspektiven lesen.

Aber erst ein paar Worte zur Handlung: Irgendwann in den 1920er Jahren entdeckt der niederländische Kapitän van Toch eine Bucht in Südostasien, die von überraschend intelligenten, etwa menschengroßen Molchen besiedelt wird. Er findet heraus, dass sie von Haien bedroht werden, und beliefert sie
Jul 03, 2011 Joerg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eine bisher unentdeckte Molchart, die von den Menschen im Tausch von Perlen gegen Waffen zum Selbstschutz gegen Haie ausgerüstet wird, schwingt sich durch hohe Fertilität zur neuen dominierenden Gattung auf, die Menschen verstehen es nicht und lassen sich die Welt von den Molchen abkaufen, indem sie anfangs Küstenstriche, später ganze Kontinentalteile von den Molchen abgraben und ins Meer versinken lassen.
Für mich ein Gleichnis auf die Globalisierung - wir, der Westen lagern kleinweise alles, ab
Originally written in 1936, two years before Capek's death and three years before the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia, War with the Newts is considered by many to be Capek's greatest book. Working in the "fantastic" satiric tradition of Wells, Orwell, and Vonnegut, Capek chronicles the discovery of a colony of highly intelligent giant salamanders off the coast of an Indonesian island. Capek sardonically details all the reactions of the civilized world - from horror to skepticism, from intellectu ...more
Gordon Houghton
Jul 28, 2012 Gordon Houghton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes a book comes out of the blue and whacks you over the head with its brilliance. All I knew about Capek before I read this was that he wrote a play about mechanization and introduced the word 'robot' to the English language. So I was expecting something a little serious, and maybe even worthy, from War With The Newts. Instead, it's a bitingly satirical novel of international politics and human greed which maintains a dry wit and occasionally flippant tone without ever sinking into bitter ...more
"War with the Newts" featured rather a lot less war than I expected, being more an account of the events leading up to the said war than a detailed account of the war itself. I enjoyed it a great deal, though my enthusiasm waned during a long chapter "Along the steps of civilisation" which featured lots of footnotes referencing (fictional) news items. I'm not good at footnotes, especially when they span multiple pages; I find it hard to concentrate on the narrative. (Even though all the footnote ...more
Büchael Schock
Jul 31, 2015 Büchael Schock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really loved this book!
It's one of the few written, not before, not after, but during the time of the Nazi regime and also before World War II. This said, it is full of subtle political and social satire and subtle nods to fascism and the apartheid, which are still relevant and comprehensible today. The characters are very distinct, excentric and convincing, although this story is much more about fictional history than it is about some characters' experiences. It also shines by having various pa
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The Evolution of ...: February Group Read: War With the Newts 15 31 Mar 11, 2014 08:05PM  
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Karel Čapek is one of the the most influential Czech writers of the 20th century. He wrote with intelligence and humour on a wide variety of subjects. His works are known for their interesting and precise descriptions of reality, and Čapek is renowned for his excellent work with the Czech language. His play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) first popularized the word "robot".
More about Karel Čapek...

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“It suddenly occurred to me that every move on the chessboard is old and has been played by somebody at some time. Maybe our own history has been played out by somebody at some time, and we just move our pieces about in the same moves to strike in the same way as people have always done.” 9 likes
“It is a well–known fact that the greater a man is the less he has on his door–plate.” 8 likes
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