Germany has been the planet's most perplexing country this century. A prime instigator of World War I, it quickly rebounded from an annihilating defeat in that conflict to rise as a nationalist aggressor with designs on world domination. The latter half of the century has found Germany prospering as an economic power while serving as the dividing line--and then unifying locus--of East and West. Where the country's actual identity lies is the topic of consideration for this collection of essays. In this illuminating compilation, Jane Kramer, a frequent contributor to The New Yorker
, addresses the role of Germany's lurking past in its attempts to embrace the future.
From Publishers Weekly
Kramer (The Last Cowboy), a writer for the New Yorker since 1964, is a highly skilled journalist who has a deep passion for her subject and obviously knows her stuff. In these articles collected from the New Yorker and devoted to such topics as Berlin, the Stasi (East Germany's secret police), skinheads and other subjects, she ruminates on the attempts of the Germans from both sides of the Wall to come to terms with their collective past. One problem with this kind of collection is that some of it dates rather rapidly. For example, she goes on about Berlin's "so big, and so conspicuously bombed out" Potsdamer Platz, which is now being rapidly developed by major corporations. Still, her observations can be trenchant: "[W]ith three hundred thousand informers, the Stasi was not so much a mirror of East Germany; to a large extent, it was East Germany." If Kramer could rein in the verbiage, her essays would be compelling.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.