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Faust's Metropolis: A History of Berlin (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – Mai 1998

4.3 von 5 Sternen 13 Kundenrezensionen

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An ambitious undertaking, Faust's Metropolis : A History of Berlin aims to chronicle the history of Germany through the microcosm of its most dramatic city. Alexandra Richie's thousand page tome spans from the time of Nero to Helmut Kohl. It is an encyclopedic description of the Schicksal Stadt Deutschlands--the City of German Destiny--filled with the politics of rulers and the ideology of artists.

Richie doesn't romanticize Berlin; early on, she invokes Goethe's view of the city as bourgeois, brash, and onerous. "Like the metropolis in Faust it has always been a rather shabby place," Richie comments. "It is neither an ancient gem like Rome, nor an exquisite beauty like Prague, nor a geographical marvel like Rio. It was formed not by the gentle, cultured hand which made Dresden or Venice but was wrenched from the unpromising landscape by sheer hard work and determination." By placing her historical account in a world-encompassing perspective, the culture described in Faust's Metropolis comments on the whole of Germany and its people.

The author is most eloquent in describing the recent history of the city. As a resident during its divided years, she describes Berlin as the ultimate "border city," on the frontline of the dueling Weltanschauungs of the Cold War. Her tone is familiar in describing the changing face of the city, and her enthusiasm evident as the book moves into the modern era. Filled with the insights of its unique and myriad residents, Faust's Metropolis recounts Berlin's culture, providing the reader with a thorough history and authoritative analysis.

Pressestimmen

'Thoroughgoing and engrossing. Modern Berlin was the hub of commerce, centre stage for politics, mecca for high culture, and a haven for extravagance and eccentricity. Alexandra Richie controls all this material superbly.' Peter Gay 'A wide-ranging book, full of fascinating detail, and compellingly written.' Robert Conquest 'A unique combination of an analysis of Berlin with a study of the entire history of Germany and of Germany's problems of national and linguistic self-definition.' Harold James -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book, despite its length, was a compelling read, almost a page-turner. Seldom does it lag. The author writes well, and researched the book thoroughly. She has an eye for the ironies of German history--one of the greatest being the Slavic origins of the German capital, one of the many facts of the German past which Hitler suppressed. As a scion of the von Moltke family, she has some special insights to offer, and occasionally throws in a reflection on an ancestor or a bit of her own experience as a former Berlin resident. (It would have been nice to know a bit more of her own history, since she often chimes in with pieces of it.) As a good history should, this one reflects on the future, too--and the transcedent question of the meaning of Berlin as the once and future deutsche Hauptstadt. As a German-American, I have read many books of German history, but this is clearly one of the best. It is full of new insights, and very cleverly uses Berlin itself as a ! prism through which to view German history. It dispels the myth of the "typical Berliner"--given Berlin's relatively short history, most Berliners, even the famous ones, have reasonably short heritages in the city, and many came to Berlin from other parts of Germany or Europe--while presenting a fairly empathetic picture of the terrible times which Berliners have faced--including the post-WWI starvation and hyperflation, the Hitler tyranny, the ruthless Russian conquest, the oppression of the Russian occupation and the hope of the Berlin Airlift, the tragic division caused by the erection of die Schandemauer, and the heroic attempts at escape, culminating in the joy of November 9, 1989, when the wall came down. I can wholeheartedly recommend this work to anyone interested in modern Germany or modern European history.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is an engrossing read, history on a sweeping scale. The book is not so much a history of the city of Berlin as a history of Germany from a Berlin perspective. While I was a bit disappointed that there was not a more detailed description of the development of parts of the city, buildings, social life, etc., this aspect should not deter readers from diving into the book. The author's theme that Berlin has been the engine that has driven Germany for the past several centuries is, I believe, well substantiated. The story of a backwater town in the small state of Prussia emerging suddenly in the Nineteenth Century as the center of the German universe is extremely well documented. From the perspective of the serious German history student this book is a good summary and the footnotes lead to worthy sources. From the reader's perspective it is a book that you have trouble putting down. I even found myself looking forward to returning home from work each night to begin reading the next chapter, each one better than the one before.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book may be entertaining, but there are many places where Ritchie simply ignores information that would conflict with the right-ist argument she wishes to make about the outcome of the cold war. She somehow knows better than all of the politicians who participated in the actual events (e.g., terming Roosevelt's decisions during the yalta conference "criminally ignorant"). Her presentation of the East German situation is so far right that even I (a moderate) would say that it borders on tendentious. And she makes a number of egregious errors in German. Not worth the money, even at the discounted price it's being offered at now.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I read Ms. Ritchie's book prior to a trip to Berlin this past fall and found it a fabulous preparation for the visit. The most important aspects of the book to me were the insights into the character of Berliners and other players in the dramatic history of this city.
The key lessons I took away from the book were:
- People have consistently underestimated the potential capacity for evil of those in power.
- People have also underestimated the boldness and deceit with which dictators can act (both Stalin and Hitler, as well as others).
- Sometimes the only way to deal with bullies is with strength and threats, rather than diplomacy--which can take too long--and appeasement, which plays into their hands.
- While it seems from the book that Berliners fell prey to this often in history, the lesson to us is to not be naive about the possible consequences of the political actions and wars one's government gets involved in.
- Government is most loyal to its citizens when those citizens are more broadly represented in its ranks.
- It was amazing to read how easy it was for the various Prussian governments and the Nazis to shape public opinion at their will. While I hope our age of information makes that less likely it's still chilling to read.
There's a bunch more, but it really reads as a wake-up call to act quickly to call out evil words and behavior and to avoid unquestioning obedience to authority.
Although a very long book, it's fascinating as well.
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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I am so impressed! When I first saw this book I wondered if I should bother with a 1000+ page book on the history of Berlin. 1000 pages later, I realized that about the only thing I did not like about this book was the fact that it was so bulky. Nonetheless, I wish it were twice as long as I enjoyed reading every single page. I had never read a history book that was so all encompassing. This book dealt with everything from the psyche, culture, history and military, to the arts, music, work ethics, literature, and social movements of the people of Berlin. The reader will learn so much about Germany, Prussia, Poland, Russia, the cold war, German literature, film, music, economy, and, ... yet never leave Berlin. I wish Ms. Richie would win a Pulitzer Prize for her great effort and contribution to history. I just loved this book and it is by far one of the best books I have ever read. This is for the history buff and all others interested in a great read.
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