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28 Reviews
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reevaluating the Germans
This book exceeded my expectations, despite already knowing quite a bit about Germany and the Germans, having studied the language at school and university, and travelled to or through the country regularly for the past 50 years, and even having a German grandmother.

It is not a book to 'read', but neither is it exactly a reference book, although it can be used...
Published on 20 Nov. 2010 by Mr. R. S. Cooper

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29 of 45 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint-hearted
I am a keen Germanophile and speak German reasonably well, so was delighted to hear about this book which was presented to me as a culturual history of Germany, not least because of the English-speaking world's profound ignorance of non-Nazi German history. However, I have to say I gave up after about 250 pages out of roughly 850. Whilst its intellectual breadth and...
Published on 8 Feb. 2011 by Glenn Abbott


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Husband has not looked up once, 17 Feb. 2014
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Husband had it on wish list for Christmas and nearly cried when he opened gift after gift on Christmas Day and didn't find this among them. So when his birthday came round a month later I made sure it was there in the pile of presents. Well, he started it that evening and instantly said he regretted doing so, as in his words, 'it's so good I can't bear to put it down', when in fact he had a lot of work-related reading to be getting on with. He's a discerning reader with a lot of background knowledge in this area so he gives qualified assessments and he has continued to announce almost daily how wonderful it is. I'm sure he'll write his own review once he's finished it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It is very well written book and took me a ..., 19 July 2014
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It is very well written book and took me a long time to read. Brought the various centuries and subjects and people alive. One could use it as a reference book, to experience as to what the learned people had to offer and often under the most difficult circumstances. If you have the time and want to know something about Germany then that is the book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Readable, Informative and Enjoyable., 1 Jan. 2011
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This review is from: The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution and the Twentieth Century (Hardcover)
Not only a very good read but also a valiant attempt to describe a Germany that isn't the Nazi Germany précis given to students in school for the last 30 years. As with hundreds of thousands of British servicemen I lived in Germany for many years and loved the people, the language, the food and the culture: this book enables me to put the detail onto the fairly extensive knowledge I already had.

Too often we see German such things as art, architecture and music being classified as good or bad merely by assuming that if Hitler/Nazis hated it it was the former and vice versa, instead of looking at their intrinsic worth.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars compulsive read - for an important topic, 6 Nov. 2010
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Ronald G. Young (carpathian mountains) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution and the Twentieth Century (Hardcover)
A well-produced book by Peter Watson which attempts to rectify what he (rightly) considers to be a serious ignorance by the English-speaking world of what Germany has contributed to the world in the past two centuries. The long introduction which summarises various recent debates about the distinctiveness of German development in that period (eg the "Historikerstreit" of the 1980s and the later "Sonderweg" thesis) is intellectual history at its best and demonstrate the depth of Watson's reading and understanding (all referenced with incredible detail). I'm only at page 155 so far but his treatment of the 18th century musicians and dramatists brought these people alive for me. I found it difficult to get through an earlier book of his - A Terrible Beauty: The People and Ideas that Shaped the Modern Mind: A History but find myself turning the pages of this latest book very eagerly. It helps that the page layout is much better than his earlier book - and that the chapters are short. Pity that the sheer size of his books makes it difficult for a few etchings to be included - to break up the text!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 3 Mar. 2013
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Peter Watson deserves our congratulations and gratitude for this masterly survey of the huge contribution which Germany has made to modern civilisation. It should be in every school in the country to counter the impression that German history began in 1933 and ended in 1945.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read, 25 Aug. 2013
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Mr. G. Bu Chedid (london) - See all my reviews
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Still reading thru the many pages. Extremely well written and researched, with a vast history of events covering several centuries and the subtle intellectual and musical influence of Germany which has been mainly missed.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help for a mis-understood people, 21 April 2012
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This review is from: The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution and the Twentieth Century (Hardcover)
Finally, here is a book that corrects some popular misconceptions: that Germans are an aggressive and brutal people, who start wars and bring misery over many other countries. The knowledge of German culture and achievements over 2000 years have been drownd by the 12 years (5 of which are war years) of the Nazi regime; and that is about all the younger generations know of it.
This book concentrates on the formative 130 years, the 'long century', from the German enlightenment with Frederik II of Prussia as torch bearer to the start of WW I. It give brief descriptions of the contribution of German scholars, philosophers, scientists, naturalists, philologists, artists, poets and musicians to the Western culture. The German influence has been tremendous. Partially due to the unpopularity of the German language generally and coupled with the lack of foreign languages in the UK, this period has been closed to the majority of British readers. With Germany in the ascendence again within the larger European framework it is important to understand its role in the forming of our knowledge base and value system.
This book is written for a broad readership: not too academic and therefore still readable, but not shallow. It is not a light read, 1000 pages with many names, cross references and source references. It will contribute to the 'Bildung' of the readers.
A well rounded work and available at just the right time!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius, 4 July 2013
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It's about time someone challenged the stigma attached to the Germans, and give them pride of place as the greatest country on earth.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars german genius, 3 Oct. 2011
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Mind expanding covering a wide scope of cultural history. I am in awe of such sweeps of scholarship and appreciate the revisionist take on German intellectualism.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding introduction to and survey of the intellectual contribution ..., 8 Nov. 2014
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An outstanding introduction to and survey of the intellectual contribution that Germany has made in every field from the natural sciences to the arts to philosophy.
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