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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE?
Another reviewer has expressed surprise that the author of this history of Prussia from 1600 to 1947 scarcely mentions the First World War; but this is to misunderstand the purpose of the book. This is not a narrative history of Prussia, let alone Germany. It is an attempt to explain some of the contradictions in Prussian history and politics; and why a state which so...
Published on 19 Oct. 2011 by Stephen Cooper

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Prussian Perspective
The most surprising thing about this cool and definitive history of Prussia is the revelation is that it was not from the 18th century a modern Sparta, devoted to the martial arts, but a cultured almost Athenian society with a large and efficient army. Its indeterminate boundaries in the centre of constantly war-torn Europe gave it a feeling of vulnerability and its...
Published 23 months ago by John Michael Hope


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and thorough, 26 July 2008
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This review is from: Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 (Paperback)
Christopher Clark's history of Prussia is, to say the least, comprehensive. It's also interesting, covering as it does the whole period from 1600 until the end of World War II. Occasionally, it gets a little dry, but most of the time it is a well written portrayal of not just the royal court, but also of peasants, burgers, aristos, merchants and the emerging of the working class.

Although the book charts the rise and eventual fall of the Hohenzollern dynasty, it does so within the framework of the geopolitics of a state that was peculiarly vulnerable to attack for most of its existence. It also traces the two influences that defined the Prussian state - militarism and a progressive and enlightened liberalism.

Fascinating, and fundamental to understanding the 20th Century history of Europe.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars To whom it may concern, 9 May 2014
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It is not at all clear who Christopher Clark thinks he is addressing.

He is obviously knowledgeable, and his research thorough, but there are great failings in how he communicates. I agree with other reviewers who use the words "cultural" and "sociological" to describe the book, which point to two failings.

One is that he does not adequately address or explain the events or the people whose actions influenced or determined them. He is instead more interested in the processes which the events exemplify.

The second is that he is poor at describing these people as people. There are a few brief summaries of the main actors, but they fail to give any particular sense of them as individuals. This failing I suspect follows from what seems to me to be his main interest in the sociology, the processes he sees being enacted, to the exclusion of an interest in the people whose actions had effects. (I could make a similar analysis of his book on the origins of the first World War.)

There is also a further great difficulty, which is his writing style. He must surely be aware of Orwell's rules for clear writing, in "Politics and English Language", but there is almost a perversity in the way he breaks at least three of them. Never use a long word when a short one will do, if it is possible to cut a word out then do so, never us a foreign phrase, scientific word or a jargon word when there is an everyday English equivalent. He writes as though he is demonstrating his academic credentials to other academics, but his language obfuscates what could and should have been a far more acute analysis of a major strand in relatively recent European history..
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and well written but a bit too detailed for ..., 2 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 (Paperback)
Interesting and well written but a bit too detailed for me. Very difficult early on to keep track of places and people. I'm hoping it will get less convoluted later on so am ,persevering.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading, 12 April 2014
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If you are interested in German history, this book is easily read and gives an understanding of the history of this great country, it's rise and fall and it's people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book..., 27 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 (Paperback)
this is a great book if you are needing it for an essay but i wouldnt suggest it for someone just interested in the period as it is abit impenetrable
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5.0 out of 5 stars History at its best, 14 Jan. 2014
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Well-written and researched, this is an excellent book that brings a new light unto this important period of European history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 11 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 (Paperback)
A very interesting read, essential after visiting Berlin in the summer.
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A good book - but not popular history, 5 May 2008
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R. A. Cookson (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 (Paperback)
This is a well-researched book covering a fascinating period, but shouldn't be described as popular history. Many sections - indeed entire chapters - have little interest for the general reader. This is a shame, as the good parts are excellent. If you are tempted, be aware that you have 688 pages of compact type to negotiate!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 24 April 2015
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This review is from: Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 (Paperback)
Great book fascinating subject beautifully written
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good history., 24 Oct. 2013
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Freiburg (north-east London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 (Paperback)
I choose books carefully, as far as possible. I'm glad I chose this. The positive reviews are right. A good general history of Brandenburg-Prussia and Prussia as part of larger, later, polities.
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Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947
Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 by Christopher Clark (Paperback - 6 Sept. 2007)
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