MacGregor, Neil "Germany. Memories of a Nation" - 2014
I used to hate history at school. It was all "Where did this battle take place?" and "When was this war?" etc. without many details. So, I am grateful for all the wonderful books I can read nowadays that give me so much information and make everything so much more interesting.
Over the years, I have read a lot of books about world history, European history, British history, the two World Wars, bits and pieces of German history, but there are hardly any books about German history because the Germany as it exists nowadays has not been the same for that long. And I'm not just talking about the reunification that took place almost thirty years ago.
Now, I happened to come upon a book by Neil MacGregor, a British historian who wrote down everything that put together our nation of today.
If you don't know much about Germany (except that there were Nazis ... everyone knows that), this is the ideal book. I never knew that much about my own country and I am incredibly indebted to the author for putting it all together. Made me quite proud, probably about the first time in my life.
He points out what happened in Germany before that dark part in the history and where it went after that. The struggles and the accomplishments, culture and art, science and industry, the past and the future, that it seems to be the only country according to him who remembers the bad part of their history and not just the wins in certain wars.
And one of the best parts, he doesn't point fingers. He tries to understand how everything happened and he is also aware that not every German was a fan of the Nazis and that it was especially hard for them.
Certainly one of the best books I have read in ages. It was worth any minute. I'd love to read one of his other books.
From the back cover:
"A major new series from the makers of 'A History of the World in 100 Objects,' exploring the fascinating and complex history of Germany from the origins of the Holy Roman Empire right up to the present day. Written and presented by Neil MacGregor, it is produced by BBC Radio 4, in partnership with the British Museum.
Whilst Germany s past is too often seen through the prism of the two World Wars, this series investigates a wider six hundred-year-old history of the nation through its objects. It examines the key moments that have defined Germany's past, its great, world-changing achievements and its devastating tragedies and it explores the profound influence that Germany's history, culture, and inventiveness have had across Europe.
The objects featured in the radio series range from large sculptures to small individual artifacts and items that are prosaic, iconic, and symbolic. Each has a story to tell and a memory to invoke."