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Reviews

'Inhumane propaganda, humanely analysed?'

Review of David B. Dennis' Inhumanities. Nazi Interpretations of Western Culture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), in Reviews in History. For the past few years, David B. Dennis has had the unenviable task of steeping himself in the (turgid, yet strangely compelling) prose of the Völkischer Beobachter, the Nazi party’s major propaganda organ, and the Third Reich’s daily paper of choice. The result is a synoptic compendium of National Socialist thought on major cultural and artistic figures, which is both chilling in the delusion it reveals, and startling in its originality.Read more...

From Humboldt to Hitler? The Third ReichFrom Humboldt to Hitler? The Third Reich's Education Ministry Revealed

Review of Anne C. Nagel's Hitlers Bildungsreformer. Das Reichsministerium für Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung 1934-1945 (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch, 2012), in Reviews in History.

What's in a name? Often, particularly with books marketed at a more popular audience, all too much seems to be at stake - the controversy caused by Paul Preston's The Spanish Holocaust being a recent case in point. Thus far, criticism of Anne C. Nagel's 2012 volume, Hitlers Bildungsreformer, has followed similar lines.Read more...

Totalitarian Individualism? Berliners Under the Microscope from Weimar to the WallTotalitarian Individualism? Berliners Under the Microscope from Weimar to the Wall

Review of Moritz Föllmer's in Individuality and Modernity in Berlin: Self and Society from Weimar to the Wall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), published in the Book Reviews section of the Wiener Library Blog.

All too often, it is glibly assumed that the rise of individuality, the spirit of modernity, and the triumph of democracy must necessarily go hand in hand. Moritz Föllmer’s new monograph provides an important corrective to this frequently uninterrogated set of assumptions.Read more...

'An Uncompromising Generation' in a French Impressionist Key? Christian Ingrao's Anatomisation of "Intellectuals" in the SS War Machine

Review of Christian Ingrao's Believe and Destroy: Intellectuals in the SS War Machine (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013), published in the Book Reviews section of the Wiener Library Blog. In 2006, a publishing sensation erupted in France with the publication of Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones, a novel which sought to recreate the motivation and incremental brutalisation of an intelligent, educated SS officer, as he becomes ever more damningly implicated in the horrors of the Holocaust.Read more...

Masculinity and the German First World War Experience: A Secret HistoryMasculinity and the German First World War Experience: A Secret History

Review of Jason Crouthamel's An Intimate History of the Front: Masculinity, Sexuality, and German Soldiers in the First World War (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), in Reviews in History

In his classic thriller Greenmantle, first published in 1916, John Buchan describes his hero Richard Hannay's first encounter with his adversary, the German officer Colonel Ulrich von Stumm, in a fashion which hints at a hidden strain of sexual deviance within the German armed forces:Read more...

Review of Review of 'German Philhellenism' by Damian Valdez

Review of Damian Valdez, German Philhellenism: The Pathos of the Historical Imagination from Winckelmann to Goethe (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), in Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 40 (1), March 2017, pp. 138-9.

Damian Valdez’s monograph provides a keen dissection of the clashing currents of idealism and historicism which shaped German thought on ancient Greece during the eighteenth century, placing idealism – and particularly idealists such as Goethe, Herder, Schlegel and Winckelmann – squarely within their respective contexts.Read more...

Review of Review of 'Contested Commemorations' by Benjamin Ziemann

Review of Veterans and Weimar Political Culture, by Benjamin Ziemann (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), in The English Historical Review 131 (553), December 2016, pp. 1569-71.

Views of the Weimar Republic as essentially anarchic, unloved and unmourned have been extensively questioned in recent scholarship. Still, popular pronouncements tend to perpetuate such impressions – witness one critic of a recent exhibition, who began with the statement that ‘Nobody in Germany liked the Weimar Republic’. Read more...

HistoryHistory's proximity? Crisis and Colonisation in Greece – and the Greek Imagination

Review of Daniel M. Knight, History, Time, and Economic Crisis in Central Greece (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and Sheila Lecoeur, Mussolini’s Greek Island: Fascism and the Italian Occupation of Syros in World War II (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015), in Reviews in History.

There were times during the resurgence of the economic crisis in 2015 when it seemed as if 'Greek-bashing' had become a pan-European pastime. In this fraught international context, Daniel Knight’s first monograph provides a salutary reminder of the human consequences of austerity.Read more...

Review of Review of 'Philanthropy, Civil Society, and the State in German History, 1815-1989' by Thomas Adam

Review of Philanthropy, Civil Society, and the State in German History, 1815-1989, by Thomas Adam (Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2016), in the Modern Language Review 112 (3), July 2017, pp. 738-40.

The aim of this survey of philanthropy and its entangled relationship with the State in Germany is twofold. Firstly, Adam emphasises the indispensability of private donations and endowments to the maintenance of social and civic institutions in the spheres of education, culture, and poor relief. Read more...

Greek Debts: Literal and Symbolic; Ancient and ModernGreek Debts: Literal and Symbolic; Ancient and Modern

Review of Johanna Hanink's The Classical Debt: Greek Antiquity in an Era of Austerity (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2017), in Reviews in History.

At the height of the Greek financial crisis, reports from colleagues based in Athens painted a sorry picture of citizens who had fallen upon hard times desperately rummaging in dustbins to supplement their dwindling larders. The statistics told an even grimmer story – between 2010 and 2011, suicide rates in Greece rose by 40 per cent.Read more...