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Combining cultural, political, and psychological history, Phyllis Keller explores the conflicting loyalties and allegiances of three German-American intellectuals—Hugo Munsterberg, George Sylvester Viereck, and Hermann Hagedorn—during the time of the First World War.
Each chose a different political course. Munsterberg, professor of psychology at Harvard, tried to maintain a middle-of-the-road stance; the poet and publicist Viereck became an ardent advocate of the German cause; Hagedorn, like Viereck committed to a literary career, became an American superpatriot.
Keller sensitively demonstrates how each of her subjects made a choice that stemmed from a complex mix of psychological, cultural, and intellectual sources. In doing so, she has made a major contribution to our understanding of the formation of national identity, to American cultural history, and to the history of German-Americans.