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

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9781416526155: 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:

"A tour de force. . . . It is impossible not to be impressed by his range and versatility as he bounds across the disciplines. . . . This intelligent book presents a breathtaking panorama."--Sunday Times (London)

"[An] engrossing, vast chronicle. . . . English now dominates the arts and sciences, but Watson writes an absorbing account of a time not so long ago when German ruled."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A compilation of essential German contributions to philosophy, theology, mathematics, natural and social science and the arts since 1750. Watson enshrines a vast pantheon of creative thinkers... [including] compressed summaries of some exceedingly difficult ideas. The range of subjects is impressive, from painters to physicists."--New York Times Book Review

"["The German Genius" is] Watson's eight-hundred-and-fifty-page love letter to the all-stars of the Teutonic intellect...his ?lan generates its own momentum... The book's breadth is part of the point."--The New Yorker

"[A] colossal encyclopaedia. . . . Heroic. . . . Watson derives the German genius from deep springs."--The Guardian

"Reveals several surprises. . . . A remarkable book on many levels. The research is first-rate and it is surprisingly accessible."--Tucson Citizen

"Few wasted words--a welcome resource for students of modern history, literature and cultural studies."--Kirkus Reviews

"Watson's book is intended to subvert the negative German stereotypes. Though it checks in at just short of 1,000 pages, it is a usefully concise introduction to the principal themes and personalities of German scientific, philosophical, social, literary and artistic culture since 1750."--The Times (London)

"A powerful and vivid opus. . . . Watson's story is brimming with life. You can barely put the book aside."--Berliner Zeitung.

"A joy, for its ambition, its seriousness and its moral integrity."--The Scotsman

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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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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9780060760229: 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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