Detachment and involvement complement each other in these illuminating, masterful essays by distinguished historian Stern (Gold and Iron, 1978). Widely regarded as America's foremost authority on 20th-century Germany, Stern is most compelling when focusing on the specific. In the section ""The Dream of Peace,"" he mirrors the rise of National Socialism in the lives of three very different intellectuals: the staunchly anti-German pacifist Albert Einstein; the reknown physicist Fritz Haber, who died tragically in involuntary exile; and the committed Social Democrat (and Mayor of Berlin during the 1948 blockade) Ernst Reuter. The chapter ""The Lure of Power"" deals authoritatively with the temptation Nazism held for the German people; ""Peace and Release from Greatness"" is a workmanlike analysis of present day German restlessness signified by ""ostpolitik"" and disillusionment with US as protector. The least accessible essays concern American scholarship on Germany and the role of the historian."" Rarely in the history of Europe has so much been squandered so catastrophically,"" writes Stern, who traces the roots of devastation to the ""Faustian promise"" held out by Bismarck's 1871 unification. He admirably fulfills his stated intention: ""to set promise and disaster in context.