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The Shortest History of Germany by James…

The Shortest History of Germany (2017)

by James Hawes

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853208,583 (3.56)5



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When I saw this book, I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about the history of Germany. Disappointment set in almost from the moment I opened the book. Non-existent documentation, an overly familiar writing style, and blatant political bias plagued the account. In a small book such as this, one expects superficial treatment; however, the author's biases seem to drive what he glosses over and what he treats more in-depth. The author needs to return to writing fiction and refrain from non-fiction unless he plans to document his work and ignore his own biases. I received an advance electronic copy through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review. The book's index was not included in the version I read. ( )
  thornton37814 | Jan 10, 2019 |
The book isn't long, describes the overall history of Germany, is easy to read in terms of language and is fascinating.

It's hard for me to understand why this book is not getting good reviews but I'm not here to judge others. Perhaps all I needed from the book were small pieces of information that sat in exactly the right places and the correct language and made it the perfect book for me at this time.
( )
  Bertchuba | Jan 10, 2019 |
What shall we make of this book? Not easy!
First, almost no sources are given (towards the end a few names are mentioned, as an afterthought, so it seems) - thus the editorial standard falls short of wikipedia requirements and, in this respect, the book must be dismissed with the lowest possible mark, i.e. half a *! Then there is no index, neither a bibliography encouraging further reading. But further reading is definitely required as only the barest of bare bones are given, quasi a clean-picked skeleton that badly needs some flesh to be put on.

On the other hand, I found only minor factual errors (e.g. Nicolaus von Jersoschin was the translator, not the author of the Chronicle of Prussia) and as I turned the pages, it grew on me. Now, every historic narrative is subjective, an objective historiography does not exist: always a selection has to be made what to mention what to leave out, let alone an inevitable bias in the way events are related and this book is no miraculous exception! So, reader, beware! With this book it is simply impossible to disentangle his own opinions from those of others, neither are we told to what extend the given outlines are accepted or controversial.

The idea (his? or whose? - we are not told) that the seeds of WW1 and the Nazi 3rd Reich can be traced back to Britain handing 1814 the Rhineland with what soon became Germany’s industrial heart-land of the Ruhr to Prussia, thus strengthening Prussia to the extend that it can ride roughshod over all the little principalities in the Rheinbund and making Germany a Prussian empire in 1871 is interesting (but again: how widely accepted is this idea?). So Britain meddling where it has no business (and later, in 1938, under Chamberlain not meddling when it should!) may have a lot to answer for! Read it, but critically! And certainly it is not a book that should ever be quoted as a source! (VII-17) ( )
1 vote MeisterPfriem | Jul 27, 2017 |
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To the memory of my father, Maurice Hawes, and the future of my third son, Karl Maurice Hawes v. Oppen, whose lives crossed for a few hours on 25 February 2015
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The West is in full retreat.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The West is in full retreat. The Anglo-Saxon powers, great and small, withdraw into fantasies of lost greatness. Populists all over Europe cry out that immigration and globalisation are the work of a nefarious System, exploited by unseen masters with no national loyalties.… (more)

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