The German Genius and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $35.00
  • Save: $10.99 (31%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Usually ships within 5 to 9 days.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by Gilbert's Goods
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping! Clean & unhighlighted text. Very minor wear to cover and page edges.
Trade in your item
Get a $3.51
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century Hardcover – June 22, 2010


See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$24.01
$16.39 $12.99

Frequently Bought Together

The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century + The Great Divide: Nature and Human Nature in the Old World and the New + The Modern Mind: An Intellectual History of the 20th Century
Price for all three: $51.85

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 75%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


Image
Looking for the Audiobook Edition?
Tell us that you'd like this title to be produced as an audiobook, and we'll alert our colleagues at Audible.com. If you are the author or rights holder, let Audible help you produce the audiobook: Learn more at ACX.com.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 992 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780060760229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060760229
  • ASIN: 0060760222
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. We are shamefully ignorant of German culture, asserts veteran British historian Watson (The Modern Mind) in this engrossing, vast chronicle of ideas, humanists, scientists, and artists: Bach, Goethe, Hegel, Gauss, and many more. Stirred by the French Revolution, German nationalism exploded. The same era in Germany produced the modern university—in which professors are expected to discover, not just teach, knowledge, and students learn to reason, not just memorize—and new forms of scholarship. There followed a cultural renaissance as important as Italy's earlier one. Science flourished, stimulated by new university-based laboratories. Modern medicine started as German medicine (bacteriology began with Robert Koch). From Bach to Schoenberg, music became overwhelmingly German. Kant, Marx, Hegel, Nietzsche, and others dominated Western intellectual life. An ominous byproduct, though, was a growing, pugnacious sense of national superiority. This led to trouble, but until Hitler wrecked everything after 1933, Germans won more Nobel prizes than Britain and America combined. English now dominates the arts and sciences, but Watson writes an absorbing account of a time not so long ago when German ruled. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* As shown in The Modern Mind (2001) and Ideas (2006), Watson has an abiding interest in showing how certain “Big Ideas” have defined the trajectory of history and a gift for accessibly presenting the vast and varied material required to substantiate such claims. Both qualities are amply displayed in his latest work, a panoramic review of German cultural and intellectual development from 1750 to the present. Examining the contributions of literally hundreds of German thinkers and doers and mapping the conceptual connections between them, the author demonstrates the breadth, volume, and influence of German output in philosophy, science, industry, art, literature, and all forms of scholarly activity. But Watson's true focus is the cultural crucible, forged in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and informed by notions of Bildung and inwardness, that gave rise to such accomplishments but also set the stage for the evil actions of the Third Reich. To some extent an effort to untether our understanding of German history from the conflicts of the twentieth century, this study is also a reminder that our modern Western worldview has deep German roots. The U.S. and Great Britain, says Watson, “may speak English but, more than they know, they think German.” Comprehensive, erudite, ausgezeichnet. --Brendan Driscoll

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

The book is written in an engaging style.
Jackal
This acknowledgement of how much Germans have contributed to science, literature, technology, music and art, by a non-German is overdue and important.
josef
Read this book, it is both a history and a timeless story.
GDP

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 113 people found the following review helpful By GDP on September 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is intended as a history of German ideas over the last 250 years or so, and specifically not a political, economic, or comprehensive "national" history of Germany. The narrative begins near the end of Bach's life (1685-1750), well prior to a German nation having been achieved (1871), and continues beyond the events of 1989 and the subsequent re-unification of what we recall as East and West Germany.

The book considers German ideas as being those of German people, which exceeds the bounds of citizenship in any German nation but instead also includes people of German cultural background from Austria, Bohemia, Moravia and other territories where German-speaking peoples lived en masse. A reader may no doubt quibble with some of the persons who are included as being "German" by the author, but a disagreement over any one person is indeed a quibble, not an indictment of the underlying premise.

The book would seem to have at least three purposes:

1) By documenting the immense fertility of German culture in generating powerful advances in the arts, science and the humanities the author attempts to restore (for those for whom it is needed) a wider, more balanced perspective on Germany than apparently currently exists. Without any attempt to minimize, dismiss, or overlook the evil of the Nazi's and the Holocaust (for which "Germany" has been stigmatized), the narrative offers a reminder of great achievements that were not accidental, but a product of German culture and society.

2) By explaining the elements of German culture that gave rise to those fertile developments, an explanation is also proposed for reasons that some of those same elements could ironically allow or make possible the barbaric (and distinctly uncultured) Third Reich.
Read more ›
8 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
180 of 206 people found the following review helpful By Gaius Valerius Catullus on July 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Oh please, with peace to the previous reviewer. Here's my problem with the review. When one says that they are rather ignorant of German culture and history and then goes on to myopically focus in on the Nazi era and holocaust as if it were the sum of German history, I have to wonder if they had learned anything constructive from Watson's excellent survey at all.

It is as if Anglos are perpetually in the grip of wartime propaganda some 70 years after the war. Actually, the propaganda really goes back to WWI in which the UK launched the first modern state propaganda campaign against another people, using race imagery btw.

Watson's book is an attempt at a corrective to this distorted and one sided view of history, and it should be applauded in so far as it succeeds. Unfortunately, based on the previous review, I wonder if he has. Although I'm of Anglo ancestry, I have lived in Germany and speak German with intermediate ability. It is a wonderful country and people, and being a classical musician, I can say that their achievement in that sphere is unparalleled in the history of mankind. The most we Anglos can muster seems to the Beatles and other such low rent music (Elgar, who spent summers in Bavaria, excepted). What does that compare with Mozart or Bach?

What galls me in such thinking is the presumptuous, arrogant and glib superiority complex that Anglos have about themselves. We view ourselves as the world's angels, forgetting the international slave trade (which Germans had nothing to do with), the creation of concentration camps (for Boers in S.A. during the Boer War), the wholesale extermination of various native tribes in North America, and host of other crimes against humanity.
Read more ›
36 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Ludvig on August 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This work is compendious and detailed, indeed may be too heavy for some readers. There is a wealth, not only of facts
but also a comprehensive reporting of most aspects of society and the matrix in which modern German contributions and thinking across the spectrum of activities.
Definitely the best I've read on this subject
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Telamon on September 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Excellent one-volume overview of the German genius from the death of J. S. Bach to the advent of the Third Reich. Obviously a well-read man, Watson gets to the heart of these geniuses and their work in a decidedly pithy way; to me, this book is the starting-point of my real research into the German genius.

But if you wanted the author to write more about Goethe, Schopenhauer, Diesel, Hegel, Schlegel, Schiller, Schubert, Mahler, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Friedrich, Herder, Wolf, Fichte, Humboldt (and so on and so on), well, you ask for too much. So, I'd say start here and enjoy the journey.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By zkreg on September 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The introduction alone was worth the purchase price and is what pulled me into purchasing the book. It is quite fascinating. Given that it is written by a British author/journalist who discusses England's relationship to Germany and some of his motivations for writing the book is also a plus.

German Genius is not a fast read and at times I wish for more of the synthesis of information that he displayed in the Introduction, however one realizes the problem as he appears to really be trying to bring in every German of significant contribution.

And as an author he appears to be able to stand in the background. I'd like to read this book faster, but it doesn't lend itself to that because of the level of detail, but I am finding out things about Germany I have never seen in other contexts.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews