The German Genius is a virtuoso cultural history of German ideas and influence, from 1750 to the present day, by acclaimed historian Peter Watson ( Making of the Modern Mind, Ideas). From Bach, Goethe, and Schopenhauer to Nietzsche, Freud, and Einstein, from the arts and humanities to science and philosophy, The German Genius is a lively and accessible review of over 250 years of German intellectual history. In the process, it explains the devastating effects of World War II, which transformed a vibrant and brilliantly artistic culture into a vehicle of warfare and destruction, and it shows how the German culture advanced in the war’s aftermath.
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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.About the Author:
Peter Watson has been a senioreditor at the London Sunday Times, a New York correspondentof the London Times, a columnist for theLondon Observer, and a contributor to the New YorkTimes. He has published three exposés on the world ofart and antiquities, and is the author of several booksof cultural and intellectual history. From 1997 to 2007he was a research associate at the McDonald Institutefor Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge.He lives in London.
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