In one concise volume, Hagen Schulze brilliantly conveys the full sweep of German history, from the days of the Romans to the fall of the Berlin Wall. A story two thousand years in the making, it rings with battle, murmurs with intrigue, and hums with the music of everyday life. This richly various legacy, often overshadowed and distorted by the nation's recent past, offers a hopeful answer to the perennial question of what kind of country Germany is and will be.
From the revolt of the indigenous tribes against Roman domination, Schulze leads us through the events that have defined a nation at the center of European culture--the Thirty Years' War and the decline of the Holy Roman Empire, Luther's Reformation and Bismarck's attendance at the birth of modern Germany, the Great War and its aftermath, the nationalistic megalomania under Hitler, the division of the nation after World War II and its reunification. Throughout, we see what these developments have meant for the German people, in the arena of private life and on the stage of world history. A lavish array of illustrations provides a lively counterpoint to Schulze's elegantly written narrative.
As it follows the threads of German language, nationalism, and culture to the present day, this dramatic account provides ample reassurance that recent history will not repeat itself. Germany: A New History will prove indispensable to our understanding of Germany, past and present, and the future of Europe.
In Germany: A New History, Hagen Schulze, an expert on the rise of German nationalism, has given us a concise summary of the story of the warlike tribes situated east of the Rhine and of their descendants up to the present day. But throughout this accessible survey of German history--which is punctuated by splendidly reproduced works of art--the author focuses on a key question: "Who are the Germans?" His answer, which sets this book apart from other general histories, emphasizes just how recently the identity of that group has developed...Germany: A New History is printed on art-book stock and contains 56 color illustrations and 59 halftones from the German Historical Museum in Berlin. These range from a panoramic painting of the 1683 siege of Vienna to paintings and propaganda art of the 1940s to more recent adverstisements and photos. Lengthy captions describe the contents and significance of most of these works.
[Schulze] march[es] briskly through the centuries to produce a highly engaging, compact volume that shouldn't scare off general readers...He has produced a lucid primer that is a valuable addition to a field crowded with dense, specialized volumes. Mark Twain once explained that he was writing a long letter because he didn't have the time to write a short one. Schulze clearly had the time, and used it well.
The virtues of the book...include both reliability and brevity. The text runs to 340 pages, but is so lavishly illustrated that nearly 100 of those pages are taken up with pictures and their captions. A summary of the whole of German history in 240-odd pages of words can give a valuable bird's-eye view...[Schulze] argues powerfully that today's Germany is unlike any of the Germanys of the past, that it can and should become a "normal" nation-state.
[Hagen Schulze provides] a clear summary of the major political, social and intellectual developments that shaped a nation...His overview of German culture is a model of clarity and perception. Moreover, his willingness to examine the fundamental, and often ambiguous, nature of German society is to be applauded, as is whole-hearted rejection of the vision of a Germany based around a single purpose or set of common values...This remains an impressive and well-conceived work which will no doubt inform and entertain for years to come.
Schulze admirably succeeds in providing a concise overview of 2,000 years of German history...For informed general readers who wish to broaden their knowledge of European history, Schulze's well-organized and easily digested account will be ideal.
Schulze projects the 19th-century idea of Germany as a "delayed nation" on German history as a whole--an effective leitmotif for this balanced and beautifully written book. The narrative moves comfortably through the archaic principles of the Holy Roman Empire, the emergence of a Pan-German identity, the lack of "inner ties" within the Kaiser's empire, and the 'inner stability' of the Federal Republic. This view correctly emphasizes the country's social and economic transformation without neglecting Germany's larger European context...The author's grasp of historical possibility makes credible his concluding assertions about the "fundamental" differences between today's Germany and its earlier versions. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries.
Schulze has written a thoughtful, well-conceived short history of Germany...[It] is based on extensive reading of the recent scholarly historiography of German history on Schulze's own substantial work on twentieth-century German history...A Short History of Germany is especially good in its treatment of the last forty years of German history, and it has the distinct virtue of presenting a thoughtful evaluation of the consequences of the revolution of 1989-90 for the future construction of German national state. The book is also filled with many attractive and for the most part appropriately chosen illustrations, and it is written in an engaging style...It is filled with shrewd observations and analytical comments which raise it above the level of a mere chronological narrative...This is an elegant short narrative.
With the aim of explaining what Germany represents and what ëit can and should be, "Schulze proposes ëto tell anew the story of German history." And quite a good story-teller he is...This book pursues two major aims: it wants to provide a concise history of modern Germany that emphasizes diversity, if primarily at the level of politics; it also hopes to reassure both Germans and their neighbors that history is not going to repeat itself...This [book] is a reliable and very readable history of Germany.
- 368 pages
- 5-3/16 x 8-1/2 inches
- Harvard University Press
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