Sunday, 15 January 2017

"Germany: Memories of a Nation" recommended

There is no attempt here to write a full review. The main point of this post is to recommend the book - “Germany: Memories of a Nation” by Neil MacGregor.

I suppose I have studied some German history every year since I was first introduced to Luther and to Charles V in 1965. Then there was the Thirty Years War and the Great Elector. At university I was lucky enough to have Vivian Fisher teach me about Charlemagne and Norman Stone introduce me to the Habsburg Empire, and to serious work on the Third Reich. As a teacher I gave more than three decades to eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century Germany. So I guess I was as well up in German History as you would expect a school teacher to be.

Then I heard Neil MacGregor on the radio talking about Germany chapter by chapter, and I knew I had to read the book. It took nearly two years before I got hold of it in the library, but at last I have finished it.

I found I did not want to read more than a chapter at a time, so that each one of the thirty made its impact. It might be sausages or art or war memorials or Bismarck or the Holy Roman Empire. The breadth, the humanity, the perception of the thinking is quite exceptional. This is one of the best history books I have read since I retired. I wish it had been written while I was teaching. I recommend it warmly.