Judging the Past in Unified Germany (Hardback)
  • Judging the Past in Unified Germany (Hardback)
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Judging the Past in Unified Germany (Hardback)

(author)
£54.00
Hardback 274 Pages / Published: 09/04/2001
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In recent years, no modern democracy has taken more aggressive steps to come to terms with a legacy of dictatorship than has the Federal Republic of Germany with the crimes and injustices of Communist East Germany. In this 2001 book, A. James McAdams provides a comprehensive and engaging examination of the four most prominent instances of this policy: criminal trials for the killings at the Berlin Wall; the disqualification of administrative personnel for secret-police ties; parliamentary truth-telling commissions; and private property restitution. On the basis of extensive interviews in Bonn and Berlin over the 1990s, McAdams gives new insight into the difficulties German politicians, judges, bureaucrats, and public officials faced sitting in judgment on the affairs of another state. He argues provocatively that the success of their policies must be measured in terms of the way they used East German history to justify their actions.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521802086
Number of pages: 274
Weight: 570 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
'A clear and well-argued study.' Publishers Weekly
'Well-written with tight analysis, this book should benefit graduate students and scholars of contemporary German affairs.' Choice
"[A] clear and well-argued study." Publishers Weekly
"Well-written with tight analysis, this book should benefit graduate students and scholars of contemporary German affairs." Choice
"McAdams has found the necessary scholarly distance to assess Germany's judgment of its past. ....McAdams' book untangles the legal, philosophical, and political pitfalls plaguing a pursuit of retrospective justice. ....McAdams addresses such complex issues with the precision of a legal scholar, the sensitivity of a moral philosopher, and the realism of a political scientist. As a brilliant overview and synthesis of the past decade's debates about the communist past in Germany, his book will be of interest to any scholar interested in issues of postauthoritarian justice, of reconstructing democratic societies after communist dictatorship, and of contemporary German history." The Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"McAdams has produced what is surely the most thoroughly researched and sensitive treatment of retrospective justice in the post-communist world. Its breadth of coverage and depth of analysis will cetainly make this book the gold standard for similar kinds of studies." Jeffery Kopstein, University of Colorado
"McAdams has written a powerful and provocative book that will surely serve as a model for future studies about Germany and many other countries that have sought--or will seek--conciliatory and fair processes (and products) of retrospective justice." Political Science Quarterly
"McAdams' book is engaging, beautifully written and smart. . . . It's a valuable contribution--balanced, reasonable, judicious, and well researched. And a just plain good read." Kim Lane Scheppele, University of Pennsylvania
"Whether in South Africa, Bonsia or Rwanda, the idea of using legal means to rectify a country's wrong has gained currency in the past decade. This timely, balanced case study examines that process in Germany...advocates looking for ammunition for war-crimes trails, whether nationally or internationally managed, will find it in this clear and well-argued study." Publishers weekly
"McAdams eschews making general normative claims about the value and utility of these different measures, and instead provides us with an excellent overview and critique of their strengths and shortcomings." - Ernesto Verdeja, The Law and Politics Book Revew

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