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Germany: A New History Hardcover – 30 Oct 1998


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (30 Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674806883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674806887
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 178,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

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.

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Reviews
"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."
--John E. Pluenneke, BUSINESS WEEK

"[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."
--Andrew Nagobski, WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD

"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."
--Noel Malcolm, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH [UK]

"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."
--Jay Freeman, BOOKLIST

"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."
--Zachary T. Irwin, LIBRARY JOURNAL

"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."
--John W. Boyer, University of Chicago

"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."
--Volker Berghahn, Columbia University


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a bit strange for a history book, and it's not certain what the target audience was meant to be.

If you don't know A THING about Germany and want to find out the basics, it should probably be your choice. However, it's very sketchy up to Bismarck, even allowing for the number of pages, so even in such a case you could simply get confused and lost due to the omissions. Besides, the ommisions (sometimes really surprising) just don't do justice to either the German nation, nor any other nations involved. As the author concentrates strictly on Germany, he very infrequently mentions other countries and contemporary international situations, which makes it difficult to relate to European and international history.

However, basically is appears to be written by a slightly doubtfull and disappointed Wessie. It is partly a voice in the national debate right after reunification, partly an attempt to explain to the world the origins of German Nationalsozialismus, the German nationhood and German nation state, and whether their existance is justified. Probalby hence the sometimes scandalous ommisions in pre-Bismarck history. It is all the more surprising that looking at the broader scope (the contemporary history of rest of the European countries) in more detail would aid his struggles to explain what he so much wishes to explain. After all, there was a time when nationalisms and dictatorships were present in practically every European country.

It is also a bit of a pity that the author concentrates so much on the history of the western parts - he seems to have little relation to the east, and his ambiguous attitude is reflected in, e.g.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Sep 1999
Format: Hardcover
It is no easy task to sum up 1,000 or more years of German history in a single volume without descending to banal generalities. Schulze, however, manages his material with great skill. Apart from the accurate and balanced text, the great virtue of the book lies in its many illustrations and photographs. A good one for the Christmas stocking of a general history reader!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In "Germany: A New History", Schultze looks at German history from Roman times onwards. His theme is the way in which the people of this region have identified themselves, and it's a surprise to discover that the term "German" would only have had meaning for them from the mid 19th Century onwards.

Previously, this patchwork of principalities, duchies, bishoprics, counties, imperial cities and military religious districts such as the Knights of the Teutonic Order were part of the "Holy Roman Empire" - inheritors of the Roman Empire, with a weak elective kingship and strong neighbouring countries that were happy to keep it that way.

He shows how the Napoleonic invasion sparked ideas of nationality with the concept of Germany only arriving with the Prussian defeat of France in 1871. An unstable nationalist Germany crashed spectacularly (twice) before miraculously becoming the foundation stone of a new democratic European Community.
A first rate book about Germany and its people.
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By Freya on 23 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very interesting insight into the history of Germany, definitely an easy read with interesting viewpoints. Would recommend as an accompaniment to a German history course or simply as an informative and interesting book to read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
This book is more about the interpretation of history than the actual events/people 30 Nov 2006
By Brandon Wells - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This history provides only an overview of Germany's history, which is good if you only want to learn general concepts and events. The text is as you might have noticed in the product description, very short. Don't let the fact that it is 300 or so pages fool you; the typeface is very large and the lines are double-spaced. This may be exactly what readers are looking for, but I found the vague references to certain historical figures by surname only annoying, because Schulze is assuming the reader knows the name but he or she may not. I suppose it is only to be expected of a book that spends a few paragraphs on the Reformation and Counter-reformation. I'm not saying it is not a good read, in fact the narrative flows quite nicely, but it is obviously a book more dedicated to exposing Schulze's perspective to readers who already know the people and events in German history. What Schulze wants to convey is his interpretation of the events, their consequences, and lasting effects on the German people. If you want to learn about those events and people, a more detailed history is definitely a must. Readers already grounded in German history will find this perspective interesting, but will probably do like me and wonder why this book is $18.00.
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Highly recommended general survey of German history 5 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It is no easy task to sum up 1,000 or more years of German history in a single volume without descending to banal generalities. Schulze, however, manages his material with great skill. Apart from the accurate and balanced text, the great virtue of the book lies in its many illustrations and photographs. A good one for the Christmas stocking of a general history reader!
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A Concise History of Germany 26 Jan 2005
By Yasin Ozcelik - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am one of those people who likes history but don't have time to read thick history books. When I searched the Internet for a one-volume-book that can cover the complete history of the Germany, I came across Dr. Schulze's book and bought it. It was a very good choice and I finished reading the entire book just in three days! The main reason might be the continuity and the pedagogic nature of the book: the entire history of the "German Nation" is divided into well-defined parts and you know where you are at this long history when reading the book. The author also does a good job by integrating the German History into the World History, drawing important lessons from the past.

The negative sides of the book may be threefold: First, as is the case for most history books, the author writes some parts like a novelist losing the main point. This approach may seem "romantic" for some readers but not for starters like me, who wants to learn rather than to be impressed by the history. Second, probably because the book is a translation, some sentences are longer than necessary and difficult to understand at first reading. Lastly, although the pictures in the book reflect the corresponding era of the history quite well, some of them are not related to the theme highlighted in the corresponding chapter.

Overall, the book is an excellent work especially for intermediate-level history learners, but some pre-requisite reading may be required for starters.

Dr. Yasin Ozcelik

[...]
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Telling Us Germany Straight Forward 30 Dec 2003
By Book Mark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Schulze willfully wrote Germany's 2,000 year history for the general reader with little or no knowledge of the country's history. His digested account starts from Charlemagne to Frederick the Great to Hitler and ends just before the dawn of the European Union.
With four maps, five charts, 56 color illustrations and 59 photos and every page printed on art-book stock, Schulze presents worthy information in this high-quality volume. Interweaving social, economic and cultural events, Schulze leads us through Germany's tumultuous, militant past, telling us about its scientists, theatrical producers and composers. Any book concerning Germany and its history would be remiss without discussing its military leaders, and Germany: A New History is no exception.
This elegant, short narrative is a great source for any reader interested in learning more about the Fatherland's Pan-Germanic identity.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
German History Lite (REALLY Lite) 27 Dec 2007
By Navigator - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is by no means a bad book; it's well-written, even-handed and as a previous review has noted, concise. REALLY concise. An example: World War I is covered in exactly fourteen paragraphs. (You read that right: fourteen paragraphs - about two and a half pages, INCLUDING illustrations.) Germany's rich and fascinating history prior to 1400 is glossed over so lightly that it doesn't even serve as an adequate prologue. (In fact, if this book were your only historical resource, you could be forgiven for believing that Germania didn't even EXIST before the Roman Empire came along.)

If you're looking for an easy-to-read, one-volume overview of German history from the Renaissance to modern times, this is your book. If you already know something of German history, you'll be gravely disappointed by the lack of detail and depth in this work.
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