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Gold and Iron

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About This Book
Winner of the Lionel Trilling Award
Nominated for the National Book Award
“A major contribution to our understanding of some of the great themes of modern European history—the relations between Jews and Germans, between economics and politics, between banking and diplomacy.” —James Joll, The New York Times Book Review
“I cannot praise this book too highly. It is a work of original scholarship, both exact and profound. It restores a buried chapter of history and penetrates, with insight and understanding, one of the most disturbing historical problems of modern times.” —Hugh J. Trevor-Roper, London Sunday Times
“[An] extraordinary book, an invaluable contribution to our understanding of Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century.” —Stanley Hoffman, Washington Post Book World
“One of the most important historical works of the past few decades.” —Golo Mann
“In many ways this book resembles the great nineteenth-century novels.” —The Economist
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Winner of the Lionel Trilling Award
Nominated for the National Book Award
“A major contribution to our understanding of some of the great themes of modern European history—the relations between Jews and Germans, between economics and politics, between banking and diplomacy.” —James Joll, The New York Times Book Review
“I cannot praise this book too highly. It is a work of original scholarship, both exact and profound. It restores a buried chapter of history and penetrates, with insight and understanding, one of the most disturbing historical problems of modern times.” —Hugh J. Trevor-Roper, London Sunday Times
“[An] extraordinary book, an invaluable contribution to our understanding of Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century.” —Stanley Hoffman, Washington Post Book World
“One of the most important historical works of the past few decades.” —Golo Mann
“In many ways this book resembles the great nineteenth-century novels.” —The Economist
Product Details
eBook (672 pages)
Published: March 6, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307829863
Other books byFritz Stern
  • Five Germanys I Have Known

    Five Germanys I Have Known
    The "German question" haunts the modern world: How could so civilized a nation be responsible for the greatest horror in Western history? In this unusual fusion of personal memoir and history, the celebrated scholar Fritz Stern refracts the question through the prism of his own life. Born in the Weimar Republic, exposed to five years of National Socialism before being forced into exile in 1938 in America, he became a world-renowned historian whose work opened new perspectives on the German past. Stern brings to life the five Germanys he has experienced: Weimar, the Third Reich, postwar West and East Germanys, and the unified country after 1990. Through his engagement with the nation from which he and his family fled, he shows that the tumultuous history of Germany, alternately the strength and the scourge of Europe, offers political lessons for citizens everywhere--especially those facing or escaping from tyranny. In this wise, tough-minded, and subtle book, Stern, himself a passionately engaged citizen, looks beyond Germany to issues of political responsibility that concern everyone. Five Germanys I Have Known vindicates his belief that, at its best, history is our most dramatic introduction to a moral civic life.

    The Failure of Illiberalism

    The Failure of Illiberalism
    Essays on the Political Culture of Modern Germany
    Though collections of Chinese fiction, poetry, and drama abound, there have been no English-language anthologies of Chinese essays on the market. Now, veteran sinologist David Pollard has selected and translated the best and most representative examples of Chinese prose writing from the third century to the contemporary period. Succinctly tracing the history of the genre in China in his introduction, Pollard then wittily and informatively introduces each writer chosen. The selections themselves include Ye Shengtao's ruminations of making a boat trip to visit his ancestors' graves, Fan Bao on life in prison, Gui Yougang's reminiscence of his mother, Yuan Mei's essay on borrowing books, and more. These writings not only give us marvelous little sketches of everyday life, lifting the curtain to a past world, they reveal still more about the minds of the writers and how they saw the world they lived in. Though the compositions span the past 1,800 years, the bulk of the selections are from the twentieth century and range from early masters of the form, such as Lu Xun and Zhou Zuoren, to the major writers of the middle generation, such as Ye Chengtao, Zhu Ziqing, Feng Zikai, Liang Shiqiu, and Liang Yuchun, and conclude with living writers who publish in both Taiwan and the mainland. Pollard's aim has been to translate examples that are both good in and of themselves and also contribute something to the essay form. The classical selections represent the native tradition that the modern essayists either imitated or reacted against. Taken together, these writings illuminate Chinese attitudes and reactions to the world they inhabit and provide a vast amount of information about the details of everyday life, social intercourse, and man's reaction to his environment.

    No Ordinary Men

    No Ordinary Men
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans von Dohnanyi,...
    During the twelve years of Hitler’s Third Reich, very few Germans took the risk of actively opposing his tyranny and terror, and fewer still did so to protect the sanctity of law and faith. In No Ordinary Men, Elisabeth Sifton and Fritz Stern focus on two remarkable, courageous men who did—the pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his close friend and brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi—and offer new insights into the fearsome difficulties that resistance entailed. (Not forgotten is Christine Bonhoeffer Dohnanyi, Hans’s wife and Dietrich’s sister, who was indispensable to them both.) From the start Bonhoeffer opposed the Nazi efforts to bend Germany’s Protestant churches to Hitler’s will, while Dohnanyi, a lawyer in the Justice Ministry and then in the Wehrmacht’s counterintelligence section, helped victims, kept records of Nazi crimes to be used as evidence once the regime fell, and was an important figure in the various conspiracies to assassinate Hitler. The strength of their shared commitment to these undertakings—and to the people they were helping—endured even after their arrest in April 1943 and until, after great suffering, they were executed on Hitler’s express orders in April 1945, just weeks before the Third Reich collapsed. Bonhoeffer’s posthumously published Letters and Papers from Prison and other writings found a wide international audience, but Dohnanyi’s work is scarcely known, though it was crucial to the resistance and he was the one who drew Bonhoeffer into the anti-Hitler plots. Sifton and Stern offer dramatic new details and interpretations in their account of the extraordinary efforts in which the two jointly engaged. No Ordinary Men honors both Bonhoeffer’s human decency and his theological legacy, as well as Dohnanyi’s preservation of the highest standard of civic virtue in an utterly corrupted state.

    Einstein's German World

    Einstein's German World
    The French political philosopher Raymond Aron once observed that the twentieth century "could have been Germany's century." In 1900, the country was Europe's preeminent power, its material strength and strident militaristic ethos apparently balanced by a vital culture and extraordinary scientific achievement. It was poised to achieve greatness. InEinstein's German World,the eminent historian Fritz Stern explores the ambiguous promise of Germany before Hitler, as well as its horrifying decline into moral nihilism under Nazi rule, and aspects of its remarkable recovery since World War II. He does so by gracefully blending history and biography in a sequence of finely drawn studies of Germany's great scientists and of German-Jewish relations before and during Hitler's regime. Stern's central chapter traces the complex friendship of Albert Einstein and the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Fritz Haber, contrasting their responses to German life and to their Jewish heritage. Haber, a convert to Christianity and a firm German patriot until the rise of the Nazis; Einstein, a committed internationalist and pacifist, and a proud though secular Jew. Other chapters, also based on new archival sources, consider the turbulent and interrelated careers of the physicist Max Planck, an austere and powerful figure who helped to make Berlin a happy, productive place for Einstein and other legendary scientists; of Paul Ehrlich, the founder of chemotherapy; of Walther Rathenau, the German-Jewish industrialist and statesman tragically assassinated in 1922; and of Chaim Weizmann, chemist, Zionist, and first president of Israel, whose close relations with his German colleagues is here for the first time recounted. Stern examines the still controversial way that historians have dealt with World War I and Germans have dealt with their nation's defeat, and he analyzes the conflicts over the interpretations of Germany's past that persist to this day. He also writes movingly about the psychic cost of Germany's reunification in 1990, the reconciliation between Germany and Poland, and the challenges and prospects facing Germany today. At once historical and personal, provocative and accessible,Einstein's German Worldilluminates the issues that made Germany's and Europe's past and present so important in a tumultuous century of creativity and violence.

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