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Forgotten Land: Journeys Among the Ghosts of East Prussia (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Max Egremont

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

Praise for "Siegfried Sassoon"
"This is it. The thoroughly authentic, artistically intelligent biography we've been waiting for. The book is refreshingly rich and subtle as well as psychologically acute. Thank you, Max Egremont." --Paul Fussell, author of "The Great War and Modern Memory"

Praise for "Forgotten Land"

"Memory, its suppression and manipulation, is a recurrent theme in this original book . . . Egremont has written a book that tries to make sense of this history--not as a single, chronological narrative, but as a sequence of short, interconnected essays in which measured reflections, portraits of the leading political and cultural figures, and conversations with exiles from this 'forgotten land' are interwoven. Egremont's allusive prose style seems to echo these multiple perspectives, changing frontiers, blurred racial identities, shifting allegiances and the mass movement of peoples--a story for our time." Richard Calvocoressi, "The New Statesman"

"The book's canvas is remarkable . . . Egremont's compelling tale exploits his boundless intellectual curiosity, mastery of German and eye for whimsy as well as tragedy. I know enough of the story he tells to appreciate how much he has discovered that is quite unfamiliar to Anglo-Saxon readers . . . his literary journey through its past makes fascinating reading." --Max Hastings, "Sunday Times" (UK)

"East Prussia is Germany's lost province, in national memory the place of Immanuel Kant, honorable nationalism, and military strength. Max Egremont has captured the spirit of the land and its people." --Professor Roger Louis

"The experience of reading Max Egremont's wonderful evocation of the final years of East Prussia is like watching a film whose images you know will stay with you for years to come. You stumble out onto the street numb and haunted, unable and reluctant to rejoin the present . . . Its characters represent not only the vanished fringes of Germany, but of that swath o

Pressestimmen

Praise for "Siegfried Sassoon"
"This is it. The thoroughly authentic, artistically intelligent biography we've been waiting for. The book is refreshingly rich and subtle as well as psychologically acute. Thank you, Max Egremont." --Paul Fussell, author of "The Great War and Modern Memory"

Praise for "Forgotten Land"

"Memory, its suppression and manipulation, is a recurrent theme in this original book . . . Egremont has written a book that tries to make sense of this history--not as a single, chronological narrative, but as a sequence of short, interconnected essays in which measured reflections, portraits of the leading political and cultural figures, and conversations with exiles from this 'forgotten land' are interwoven. Egremont's allusive prose style seems to echo these multiple perspectives, changing frontiers, blurred racial identities, shifting allegiances and the mass movement of peoples--a story for our time." Richard Calvocoressi, "The New Statesman"

"The book's canvas is remarkable . . . Egremont's compelling tale exploits his boundless intellectual curiosity, mastery of German and eye for whimsy as well as tragedy. I know enough of the story he tells to appreciate how much he has discovered that is quite unfamiliar to Anglo-Saxon readers . . . his literary journey through its past makes fascinating reading." --Max Hastings, "Sunday Times" (UK)

"East Prussia is Germany's lost province, in national memory the place of Immanuel Kant, honorable nationalism, and military strength. Max Egremont has captured the spirit of the land and its people." --Professor Roger Louis

"The experience of reading Max Egremont's wonderful evocation of the final years of East Prussia is like watching a film whose images you know will stay with you for years to come. You stumble out onto the street numb and haunted, unable and reluctant to rejoin the present . . . Its characters represent not only the vanished fringes of Germany, but of that swath o


Produktinformation

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1056 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 368 Seiten
  • Verlag: Picador; Auflage: Main Market Ed. (12. Oktober 2011)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B005V224QA
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #176.151 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Amazon.com: 4.1 von 5 Sternen  37 Rezensionen
62 von 68 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen "Forgotten Land" Passable Overview of Former East Prussia 26. November 2011
Von Thomas J. Burke - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I picked up Max Ergemont's book "Forgotten Land" after reading a positive review in the "Wall Street Journal." Overall it is a passable overview for readers unfamiliar with the complex and often dark history of the former German province of East Prussia which was divided after WWII by Poland, the USSR, and Lithuania.

The book, however, gets some important details wrong. At various points Ergemont refers to the "Prussians" who inhabited the area prior to the arrival of the Teutonic Knights (or German Order) in 1230 AD. In fact these people were actually called the Prußen or Prussen by the Germans. The term Preußen or Prussian in English came later. The German Order did not lead to "an extinction of the pagan Prussians [sic]" but instead they assimilated in with the Germans and Poles over time.

The author states that "On 6 April 1945, the librarian [Diesch] was on the last ship to leave Pillau..." The last ship to leave the East Prussian port city of Pillau was actually on April 24, 1945, before it fell into Soviet hands the next day. It's a significant error as the port of Pillau was the last escape route for East Prussians and others fleeing the Red Army after land routes were cut off in January of 1945. Some 451,000 refugees and 141,000 were evacuated by the German Navy via Pillau to relative safety in the west. Many more ships and boats made the dangerous journey to pick up refugees and the wounded from April 6 to April 24 despite being under constant attack from the air and from artillery.

Throughout the book the author leans especially heavily on the best-known 20th century East Prussian writer, Countess Maria Dönhoff. Ergemont paraphrases the prolific Dönhoff at length as well as others.

Yet the 1944 massacre of German civilians, including young children and babies, in the frontier town of Nemmersdorf by the Red Army receives little attention. A German counteroffensive retook the town and the atrocities were documented. Word of the Nemmersdorf massacre had the effect of stiffening the resolve of the German troops to continue fighting in a lost cause to buy time for refugees to make their escape. It also created panic among German civilians who were prevented from an orderly evacuation by fanatical Nazi regional and local leaders until it was too late.

The book could have benefited from more detailed maps of the former East Prussia which has just a single one. The photographs are somewhat muddy also in their reproduction.

However, English language books about East Prussia are few and far between. For someone interested in a primer on East Prussian history and culture I still recommend "Forgotten Land." The author is at his best in travelogue fashion, traveling through the modern-day territory that was once East Prussia, including the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad which is back in the news as Russians threaten to move missles facing NATO to the western border of Kaliningrad. He also recounts the brutal treatment faced by those East Prussians unlucky enough to be left behind and fall under Soviet and Polish occupation until they were forcibly deported in 1947.
50 von 55 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Honoring a lost world 8. November 2011
Von Richard Cumming - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
When hundreds of thousands of Germans were forced to leave their homeland in East Prussia after World War Two the world remained mostly silent. East Prussia was carved up and made into a Russian enclave and into an expanded Poland. All those Germans had to go and be absorbed into what was left of Germany. Imagine the suffering and the displacement they must have felt? They survived the war only to become exiles.

The author takes readers back through the history of this land, from the Teutonic Knights, through the epic battles, Napolean, Hindenburg, the Wolf's Lair of Adolf Hitler. And we meet some amazing people. Some were good. Some, not so good. The book consists of highly fluid essays. Personalities glide across the pages like ghosts. And they come alive for us as we learn about the tragedy of the people and this place. Gone, but not quite forgotten. A savagely brilliant book.
18 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Could have been much better 16. Dezember 2011
Von Jackal - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Very episodic history about people from and to some extent places in what was once East Prussia. The focus is on the first half of the 20th century. I wish we would get more information about the second half too. Each chapter consists of a new topic, but some people are featured in more than one chapter. The book will only appeal to people that are especially interested in the region.

I an fascinated by lost places, but from this perspective the book is not great. I would have liked to see more pictures (there are only around ten of them) and old maps (there are none). For instance, we read about a castle called Friedrichstein, but there is no picture and no map. You can find the information on the net, but I would have liked to have it in the book. And we get hardly any information about the last 60 years. Since the book is not grand history buy just episodes, I would have liked a bit more variation. I get the impression that the author has travelled 2-3 times in the area and then done all the research at at desk at the British Library.

Not bad, but not great either. Somewhere between two and three stars.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Who were these people and why did this happen? 22. April 2013
Von Don - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
I suspect I may be the only person reviewing this book who is not German.

But as a 3rd generation Polish-American, three of whose grandparents grew up within 50 miles of the East Prussian border -and as someone who has traveled through East Prussian, now northern Poland- I found it fascinating.

As Mr. Egremont points out, the people of this region were "victims of what was done to others in their name." Yes, my dad lost a cousin in Warsaw in 1939, shot by a German pilot who must have known he was strafing a teenage girl. (Certainly he know he was shooting civilians.) Or my next door neighbor, who has passed on now but was one of the last of a family of Polish Jews, who lived only because his dad had the luck to come to America. I don't have any friends or relatives who lived through the German occupation of western Russia, but I've read what happened there, and it's not hard to understand why the Russian troops were so full of hatred by 1945.

I've spent a fair amount of my reading time, over the last 30 or 40 years, asking myself the question, how did this happen? Who were these people who could let this happen?

For me, that's what this book is about. Egremont, an Englishman, spent 20 years going back and forth to Germany and what was East Prussia, talking to people and asking them for their stories. Yes, East Prussia was one of the few regions of Germany where a majority actually voted for Hitler when he ran for office, but how could they know what they were getting themselves into? And here we have it, a handful of people's stories - a couple of whom worked actively to promote Hitler's vision - several who worked against it - but mostly people like the rest of us doing their best but with no real idea what they were getting into, until it was too late.

I will agree with the reviewers who say the book meanders. That's part of its strength, however - and I'll give you a tip that will make the book flow a lot better. When you finish, go back and read Chapter 1 again. Chapter 1 is a nice summary - it puts things into perspective to read it again at the end.

I'm not sure I agree with the reviewer who talks about the details the author got wrong. For example, "the 1944 massacre of German civilians, including young children and babies in the frontier town of Nemmersdorf by the Red Army receives little attention." That's not what the book is about. Egremont makes it painfully obvious how many women were raped and how few men, women and children of those who stayed survived - but his purpose is not to provoke outrage at Russia. The real topic is who those people were and why this happened. For me, the book did a wonderful job of getting that across.
8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen An idiosyncratic history and travelogue 5. April 2012
Von R. M. Peterson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I have long wanted to know more about Prussia, so when I saw FORGOTTEN LAND on the bookstore shelves it was a natural purchase. Unfortunately, the book was not really satisfactory; it did not scratch my itch.

Actually, FORGOTTEN LAND focuses on the rather ill-defined area of East Prussia -- the land between Germany and Russia (and Lithuania and Poland). It is a northern, somewhat inhospitable land on the edge of Europe snug up against the Baltic Sea. In the thirteenth century, the Teutonic Knights invaded the region to bring it within the realm of Christendom and eventually it became the eastern-most redoubt of the German Empire. Though now most identified in American consciousness with Germany, since the end of World War II none of East Prussia remains within German territory; instead, it is divided between Poland and the Kaliningrad Oblast, which is detached territory of Russia. It is a region oft-swept by the tides of history, by invading armies or peoples fleeing persecution elsewhere in Europe. The last major tsunami was in 1945, when the Red Army swept through, eradicating or expelling most of the German inhabitants.

As a consequence, Max Egremont writes, "More than most of Europe, East Prussia is strewn with symbols of a turbulent past - in its buildings, its ruins and its graves." And per the subtitle of the book, FORGOTTEN LAND is Egremont's journey among the ghosts and ruins of East Prussia. It is a land steeped in the past with an uncertain future.

The problem with the book is that Egremont meanders through his history and travelogue, back-tracking here and there, then suddenly leaping forward in time or making knight-like chessboard moves to a different place. The reader, at least this reader, is left somewhat disoriented. The style of the book contributes to the impression of myth and nostalgia, but the disjointedness makes learning about time and place (history and geography) much more difficult. So, as eager and receptive as I was at the beginning of the book, I abandoned careful reading about one-quarter of the way into the book and only skimmed the rest.

The book includes about two dozen photographs and one so-so map. Additional and/or better maps would have been much appreciated. FORGOTTEN LAND is a very idiosyncratic book; it may work for some better than it did for me.
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