The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution and the Twentieth Century

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9780743285537: The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution and the Twentieth Century
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From the end of the Baroque age and the death of Bach in 1750 to the rise of Hitler in 1933, Germany was transformed from a poor relation among western nations into a dominant intellectual and cultural force more influential than France, Britain, Italy, Holland, and the United States. In the early decades of the 20th century, German artists, writers, philosophers, scientists, and engineers were leading their freshly-unified country to new and undreamed of heights, and by 1933, they had won more Nobel prizes than anyone else and more than the British and Americans combined. But this genius was cut down in its prime with the rise and subsequent fall of Adolf Hitler and his fascist Third Reich-a legacy of evil that has overshadowed the nation's contributions ever since. Yet how did the Germans achieve their pre-eminence beginning in the mid-18th century? In this fascinating cultural history, Peter Watson goes back through time to explore the origins of the German genius, how it flourished and shaped our lives, and, most importantly, to reveal how it continues to shape our world. As he convincingly demonstarates, while we may hold other European cultures in higher esteem, it was German thinking-from Bach to Nietzsche to Freud-that actually shaped modern America and Britain in ways that resonate today.

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Review:

'[An] engrossing, vast chronicle . . . Watson writes an absorbing account of a time not so long ago when German ruled'
--Publishers' Weekly (starred review)

'A usefully concise introduction to the principal themes and personalities of German scientific, philosophical, social, literary and artistic culture since 1750' --The Times

`This intelligent book presents a breath-taking panorama. Let up hope that it succeeds in its aim'
--Christopher Clark, Sunday Times

'Outstanding . . . Assembles such a wealth of information, based on an impressive range of sources, that it will be an essential work of reference for years to come' --Independent

'A compelling, epic tale' --FT 11/12

'A lengthy survey of German intellectual achievements that highlights a cultural rebirth'
--BBC History Magazine, Dec issue

`A practiced synthesiser on a grand scale (he is, after all, the author of Ideas: A History from Fire to Freud), Watson succeeds brilliantly in reminding us that Germany amounts to a great deal more than those 12 years of Nazi rule. This is the nation that gave us Kant, Haydn, Goethe, Mozart, Schiller, Beethoven, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Wagner, Marx and Nietzsche to name a few, although eventually Germany's pride in its great culture became pride in "superior culture"' --The Guardian

From the Back Cover:

From the end of the Baroque era and the death of Bach to the rise of Hitler, Germany was transformed from a poor relation among Western nations into a dominant intellectual and cultural force. By 1933, Germans had won more Nobel Prizes than the British and Americans combined. Yet this remarkable genius was cut down in its prime by Adolf Hitler and his disastrous Third Reich--a brutal legacy that has overshadowed the nation's achievements ever since.

In this absorbing cultural and intellectual history, Peter Watson goes back through time to explore the origins of the German genius, explaining how and why it flourished, how it shaped our lives, and, most important, how it continues to influence our world. Watson's virtuoso sweep through modern German thought and culture will challenge and confound both the stereotypes the world has of Germany and those that Germany has of itself.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780060760236: The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century

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ISBN 10:  0060760230 ISBN 13:  9780060760236
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9781416526155: The German Genius: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution and the Twentieth Century

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