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Germany: A New History [Paperback]

by Hagen Schulze, Deborah Lucas Schneider
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1, 2001 0674005457 978-0674005457

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.

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Germany: A New History + The Nibelungenlied: Prose Translation (Penguin Classics)
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Editorial Reviews Review

In a pithy, concisely written text, Hagen Schulze chronicles Germany's often spotted historical past from the time of the nomadic Nordic tribes who migrated South into the Roman Empire to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, offering the past as a pretext for what he considers a new history yet unfolding. Consciously written for the general reader with little or no knowledge of German history, Schulze's account reads easily (superbly translated by Deborah Lucas Schneider), combining historical detail with broader analysis and consistently placing the German historical moment within a global context.

In his chronicle of Wilhelmine Germany, the period from 1890 to 1914, Schulze skillfully outlines details of political events both inside Germany and throughout Europe, then illustrates how they delineate a turning point from the precarious political order previously maintained by Bismarck. He interweaves this political narrative with analysis of social, economic, and cultural events of the era: the legacy of Prussian militarism, the rise of industrial and agricultural unions, the disillusionment of German youth with the rise of industrialism, German advances in scientific research, musical developments by Wagner and Brahms, the theatrical productions of Gerhard Hauptmann and Georg Kaiser, and the growing intellectual influence of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and Freud. Supplemented by relevant photos and suggestions for further reading, Schulze's account provides the reader with a concise, accurate, and well-balanced presentation of the pre-war period, exemplifying a consistently balanced approach throughout the text. --Bertina Loeffler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Schulze, professor of European history at the Free University of Berlin, admirably succeeds in providing a concise overview of 2,000 years of German history. Beginning with the Germanic tribes pressing on the frontiers of the Roman Empire, Schulze cogently illustrates how those diverse German-speaking peoples gradually evolved common cultural bonds that eventually led to efforts at political unification. This is a fast-moving survey that manages to touch most of the critical bases--from Charlemagne to Frederick the Great to Hitler--without concentrating on any one particular historical era. Some specialists will find this work a mile wide and an inch deep; however, 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674005457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674005457
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #586,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
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.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended general survey of German history September 5, 1999
By A Customer
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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Concise History of Germany January 25, 2005
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

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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Telling Us Germany Straight Forward December 30, 2003
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars German History Lite (REALLY Lite) December 26, 2007
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Confusing style, difficult translation May 23, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book is a thoughtful, complete history. You can tell that the author is very knowledgeable, but it is translated from German and therefore more difficult to read. It also seems to assume that the reader is familiar with many old names for regions within Germany. I found myself getting lost and having to refer to a wiki on Germany to get more of an overview so that I could understand it better. It would have been better to have more maps highlighting places and some sort of graphic time line depicting a particular chapter's place in German history.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent brief but trenchant history!
First class, concise history. Includes contemporary cultural events. It makes you want to know more. And the translation is very well done.
Published 4 months ago by Eclecta
3.0 out of 5 stars The captions on the pictures have very very small font
The content is fine. It is a translations so the reading is a little hard. The font size on the captions are wayyyyy! too small.
Published 8 months ago by william stammerjohan
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent German history
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... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Baraniecki Mark Stuart
4.0 out of 5 stars Germany: A New History
I admit that I did not begin reading until the WWII info. I found the older history to be dry, but due to my lack of desire to read way back!
Published 12 months ago by purple
5.0 out of 5 stars Germany: A New History
Since I had lived in Germany, I do remember ordering
this book some years ago. =Germany is such an interesting,
and historical country to say the least! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Stevan Clawson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction
This book is a cross between a coffee table book and a serious book of history. The pages are glossy, it is full of pictures to associate a historical personage with the content of... Read more
Published 17 months ago by The Peripatetic Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Good beginners guide to German history
Lately I have had a fascination with all things German. It began with my extensive reading of philosophy. Read more
Published 23 months ago by bronx book nerd
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult task
Almost impossible to give definition to the complex history of Germany in one volume. Good introductory work but as a research tome it is limited.

S.J. Read more
Published on March 15, 2012 by S.J.Tagliareni
5.0 out of 5 stars First Rate!
This is a surprisingly lively account, authoritative and scholarly but filled with insight as well. Events follow rapidly upon one another in an extremely concise narrative, and... Read more
Published on August 22, 2009 by Lloyd Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars To be considered
The tumultuous era of Germany and its serenity epoch are well described. The author established a genealogical ascendance from Bismarck to the present day, and going through the... Read more
Published on June 6, 2008 by Dr. Frederick Openheimer
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