Fruitful reading for students of modern European history and the rise of nationalism.

GERMANY

A NATION IN ITS TIME: BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER NATIONALISM, 1500-2000

A noted historian outlines the development of the German nation in novel ways.

Smith (History/Vanderbilt Univ.; German Nationalism and Religious Conflict: Culture, Ideology, Politics, 1870-1914, 2016, etc.) begins his account in 1500, when there was no Germany as such but instead a collection of cities and mostly small principalities: “No charts drew the German lands to scale and no drawings showed its borders. And no one had described Germany as a space with a recognizable shape.” Modern cartography would change this, marking German itineraries and linking German-speaking cities into a “Germania” that “was an act of discovery, not chauvinism.” However, chauvinism would soon follow: Martin Luther railed that the humanism of mapmakers and scholars had “Judaizing tendencies” that yielded too much to “the enemies of Christ.” In time, nationalism would replace the former German devotion to hometowns, and it found expression in the depopulating Thirty Years’ War, which took decades to recover from. On that note, Smith writes, although millions of Germans lost their lives during the Hitler years, recovery was swift—and although a majority of Germans believed, just after the war ended, that national socialism was a meritorious system whose leaders had merely taken a few missteps, by the time the “economic miracle” was at work in full force, most conversely saw that Hitler had been ruinous. German nationalism today is a very different thing from its manifestations in the two centuries prior. Smith writes of a crowd of soccer fans cheering for their team against Portugal during the 2006 World Cup and finally feeling comfortable enough about being German to wave their national flag. Even though Germans are now resolute internationalists, Smith concludes, there are troubling rumblings of a reborn nationalism in opposition to the German government’s comparatively open-door policy toward immigrants and refugees, so that “public discourse now seems increasingly rife with prejudice toward outsiders.”

Fruitful reading for students of modern European history and the rise of nationalism.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-87140-466-4

Page Count: 672

Publisher: Liveright/Norton

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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