German History in Modern Times: Four Lives of the Nation (Hardback)
  • German History in Modern Times: Four Lives of the Nation (Hardback)
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German History in Modern Times: Four Lives of the Nation (Hardback)

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£72.99
Hardback 482 Pages / Published: 13/02/2012
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This history of German-speaking central Europe offers a very wide perspective, emphasizing a succession of many-layered communal identities. It highlights the interplay of individual, society, culture and political power, contrasting German with Western patterns. Rather than treating 'the Germans' as a collective whole whose national history amounts to a cumulative biography, the book presents the pre-modern era of the Holy Roman Empire; the nineteenth century; the 1914-45 era of war, dictatorship and genocide; and the Cold War and post-Cold War eras since 1945 as successive worlds of German life, thought and mentality. This book's 'Germany' is polycentric and multicultural, including the multinational Austrian Habsburg Empire and the German Jews. Its approach to National Socialism offers a conceptually new understanding of the Holocaust. The book's numerous illustrations reveal German self-presentations and styles of life, which often contrast with Western ideas of Germany.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521191906
Number of pages: 482
Weight: 920 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 30 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Bill Hagen has written a remarkable book that reconceptualizes the course of German history in several critical dimensions. Not only does Hagen take on and challenge several of the most conventional historiographical interpretations of the longue duree of German history (the Sonderweg thesis, etc.), but he shows in a very compelling way that one cannot understand German history in the twentieth century without a deep and profound knowledge of the history of the several competing German nations before 1866 and even before 1806. The result is an elegantly written book of great ambition and fascinating detail, particularly strong in social and political history and filled with surprising interpretive suggestions. The many illustrations, deeply integrated into the multiple, cascading narratives of the book, are also quite noteworthy." -John W. Boyer, University of Chicago
"Over a distinguished career William Hagen's histories have ranged masterfully across the fullest expanse of the German past, beginning in the long nineteenth century and continuing through the largest version of an early modern longue duree, before returning to the first half of the twentieth century. His themes have included the nationality conflicts of the Prussian east, early modern state formation and the character of absolutism, the relations of Junkers and villagers across four centuries, the transition from feudalism to capitalism, and the character of modern anti-semitism. He now brings this extraordinary depth of knowledge to an ambitiously conceived general history, whose varying notations of 'Germany' between the premodern Holy Roman Empire and the successive states of modern times (his 'four lives of the nation') cast a familiar landscape in exciting new light. In its dethroning of His Majesty the nation-state, attentiveness to the many different Germanies, and attunement to the ethico-political challenge of writing German history after Nazism, this is truly a history for our times." -Geoff Eley, University of Michigan
"This book is an extraordinary achievement by a leading authority in the field of German history. Lucid accounts of social and political continuity and change are set within a highly distinctive narrative architecture structured around the violent disruptions of modern German history. Rich in fresh and arresting insights and enlivened by vivid and beautifully illustrated individual portraits, German History in Modern Times is not just a masterpiece, but a deeply enjoyable read." -Christopher Clark, University of Cambridge
"William Hagen's strikingly original book offers a rich picture of the history of German-speaking Central Europe since the Reformation. Hagen treats neither Nazism nor market capitalism as natural or inevitable results of the many-sided history of this diverse region, but emphasizes contingencies-and the reversibility of developments like liberalism, authoritarianism, communist dictatorship, and European integration. Hagen's concise text is accompanied by a thought-provoking visual history which offers a set of unusual and well-chosen images, and a fine bibliography. Both students and professional scholars will find this a fresh, clear and fascinating introduction to the history of not one, but many Germanies over the last 500 years." -Suzanne Marchand, Louisiana State University
"A fresh, judicious, and readable survey which, like Hagen's previous scholarship, spans more than four centuries. His imaginative organization of German history into four 'lives' conveys a sense of its open-endedness and contingency. Though not at all denying the tragic and darker sides of German history, Hagen ends by emphasizing the important ways in which Germans have charted new paths since 1945." -James Van Horn Melton, Emory University; President-elect, Organization of Central European Historians
"German History in Modern Times distills a lifetime of scholarly engagement with the German past. William Hagen's new book has something for everyone, from readers who are looking for a reliable introduction to Germany's turbulent history to experts who will find new and provocative insights. The book's value is enhanced by a fine collection of maps and a large number of carefully-chosen and brilliantly-described illustrations. This is a wonderful book." -James J. Sheehan, Stanford University
"Clear, precise, sophisticated, and profusely illustrated, Hagen's German History in Modern Times is now the best one-volume textbook in the field. It combines wide sweep with remarkable depth, tying together Germany's recent and more distant pasts into a coherent understanding. For serious students of Germany's troubled history, this is an ideal starting place." -Helmut Walser Smith, Vanderbilt University
"William Hagen brings a lifetime of learning to bear on that always fraught topic, German history. The result is an engaging and erudite exploration that bristles with insights and information. Hagen covers the broad expanse of German history, not just the post-1871 territorial state, and effectively combines political, social, economic, and cultural history. Lavishly illustrated with expert commentary, this is a book that both novice and expert will learn from and cherish." -Eric D. Weitz, University of Minnesota, author of Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy
"Highly recommended." -Choice
"...balanced and, above all, sensible." -Thomas A. Kohut, The Weekly Standard
"William Hagen's work in both early modern and modern German history is well known and highly regarded, and this new survey of German history reflects Hagen's broad previous experience." -Frank B. (Ben) Tipton, German Studies Review
"Challenging the usual 'master narratives,' William W. Hagen has succeeded in writing a masterful work." -Dieter Langewiesche, H-NET
"elegantly provide[s] visual and cartopgraphic evidence of different Germanies." -Shelley Baranowski, Central European History
"This review is notable both for its positive quality and for reflecting the views of a younger specialist in the field of German Cultural Studies." -Daniel Villanueva, Rocky Mountain Review

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