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Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 30. Januar 2009

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"Iron Kingdom," is a triumph of scholarship and imagination. This is a big book in every sense--at almost 800 pages, it's not one to slip in your briefcase for the train--but it zips along in a manner that belies its weight. In part this is because Clark writes so elegantly. This is history in its "grand sweep," but his vivid sketches of characters, places and events lighten the narrative. Yet for all its entertainment value, "Iron Kingdom" is at heart an unflinching engagement with one of Europe's most complex and far-reaching political and cultural entities, spanning four centuries of history and, he suggests at the end, even beyond. -- Richard Aldous "Irish Times" (08/26/2006)

"Iron Kingdom," Christopher Clark's stately, authoritative history of Prussia from its humble beginnings to its ignominious end, presents a much more complicated and compelling picture of the German state, which is too often reduced to a caricature of spiked helmets and polished boots. Prussia and its army were inseparable, but Prussia was also renowned for its efficient, incorruptible civil service; its innovative system of social services; its religious tolerance; and its unrivaled education system, a model for the rest of Germany and the world. This too was Prussia--a tormented kingdom that, like a tragic hero, was brought down by the very qualities that raised it up. Mr. Clark, a senior lecturer in modern European history at Cambridge University, does an exemplary job. A lively writer, he organizes masses of material in orderly fashion, clearly establishing his main themes and pausing at crucial junctures to recapitulate and reconsider. Prussia, a self-invented artifact right down to its name, demands the kind of careful demythologizing that it receives from Mr. Clark, who gently but insistently exposes the flaws in most of the received wisdom about his subject. A result is an illuminating, profoundly satisfying work of history, brightened by vivid character sketches of the principals in his drama. -- William Grimes "New York Times" (09/27/2006)

Clark's book, a survey of Prussian history from 1600 to 1947, is well-written, even sometimes sprightly, although it is hard to make easy reading of matters such as Pietism or the administrative reforms of the Baron Stein. "Iron Kingdom"'s triumph lies in a narrative structure that is even more impressive than the mass of detail that forms it; and one feels secure in the hands not only of a scholar but of a humane and fair interpreter of history.--Max Egremont"The Spectator" (09/02/2006)

"Iron Kingdom", is a triumph of scholarship and imagination. This is a big book in every sense--at almost 800 pages, it's not one to slip in your briefcase for the train--but it zips along in a manner that belies its weight. In part this is because Clark writes so elegantly. This is history in its "grand sweep," but his vivid sketches of characters, places and events lighten the narrative. Yet for all its entertainment value, "Iron Kingdom" is at heart an unflinching engagement with one of Europe's most complex and far-reaching political and cultural entities, spanning four centuries of history and, he suggests at the end, even beyond.--Richard Aldous"Irish Times" (08/26/2006)

This book ranks as the best history of Prussia currently available in any language... It is a virtuoso performance.--John Adamson"Sunday Times" (09/03/2006)

You couldn't have the triumph and the tragedy of Prussia better told. Christopher Clark has a voracious appetite for detail and a tart turn of phrase. His study of Prussia, from beginning to end, vividly paints one of the big pictures of European history.--Peter Preston"The Observer" (08/13/2006)

This book can...be read for sheer pleasure...It is the pleasure of discovery that Christopher Clark offers in this account of the rise and fall of Prussia...Prussia was much more than its wars, but without its wars it would not have been Prussia, and they and their protagonists (Mr. Clark's Bismarck is priceless), origins, conduct, and consequences occupy a large part of this excellent book, which scholars of Germany and Prussia will want to ponder very carefully, and which many an unencumbered reader will simply enjoy.--Edward N. Luttwak"New York Sun" (09/27/2006)

[An] enthralling, shrewd, and sparkling narrative...Clark's immensely learned, judicious, and entertaining book provides a definitive general narrative of its subject for our times...Clark's achievement is substantial.--R. J. W. Evans"New York Review of Books" (09/27/2007)

A massively impressive history of Prussia that surely takes its place as the definitive history of this much-maligned state. Elegant, entertaining, nicely illustrated and full of arresting characters, this is a terrific book.--Dominic Sandbrook"Daily Telegraph" (12/09/2006)

[A] valuable book...[Clark] shows how complicated the history of Prussia really was, and how exciting were the contrasts in its history between religious tolerance and intolerance, enlightenment and obscurantism, centralized power and regional particularism, the rule of law and ruthless authoritarianism...Prussia and its army were full of contradictions, and Clark analyzes them astutely in his book, which is certainly the best recent history of Prussia...[A] masterpiece in which charming anecdotes and serious intellectual analyses mix comfortably with political and military history and descriptions of cultural and social phenomena...Clark's book seldom becomes dull, owing to the elegance of its style and the colorfulness of some of its powerful characters.--Istvan Deak"New Republic" (03/12/2008)

"Iron Kingdom", Christopher Clark's stately, authoritative history of Prussia from its humble beginnings to its ignominious end, presents a much more complicated and compelling picture of the German state, which is too often reduced to a caricature of spiked helmets and polished boots. Prussia and its army were inseparable, but Prussia was also renowned for its efficient, incorruptible civil service; its innovative system of social services; its religious tolerance; and its unrivaled education system, a model for the rest of Germany and the world. This too was Prussia--a tormented kingdom that, like a tragic hero, was brought down by the very qualities that raised it up. Mr. Clark, a senior lecturer in modern European history at Cambridge University, does an exemplary job. A lively writer, he organizes masses of material in orderly fashion, clearly establishing his main themes and pausing at crucial junctures to recapitulate and reconsider. Prussia, a self-invented artifact right down to its name, demands the kind of careful demythologizing that it receives from Mr. Clark, who gently but insistently exposes the flaws in most of the received wisdom about his subject. A result is an illuminating, profoundly satisfying work of history, brightened by vivid character sketches of the principals in his drama.--William Grimes"New York Times" (09/27/2006)

Chris Clark's new history of Prussia trumps all existing accounts. It commands four centuries of complicated history with extraordinary assurance. Its clear and confident argumentation, illuminating concreteness of detail, and sheer richness of texture make it the ideal general history.--Geoff Eley, author of "A Crooked Line: From Cultural History to the History of Society"

Lucid, learned, and light-touched, this comprehensive history of the Prussian state and the society it molded eclipses its rivals, both Anglo-American and German. Its well-crafted narrative form is reader-friendly, while the interpretation it offers will impress seasoned specialists with its sophistication, knowledgeability, and freedom from stereotype and ideas of predetermined destiny. It will be required reading for all students of the history of modern Germany.--William Hagen, author of "Ordinary Prussians: Brandenburg Junkers and Villagers, 1500-1840"

Clark's great accomplishment is to tell the story of the Prussian state's rise and fall in a splendid and compelling way. His interpretation is a sustained critique of the still widely accepted view of Prussia's deviation from the western norm that led to the catastrophes of war and dictatorship in the twentieth century. "Iron Kingdom" is by far the best account of Prussia in English and as good as anything I know in German as well.--James J. Sheehan, President of the American Historical Association

[An] enthralling, shrewd, and sparkling narrative Clark s immensely learned, judicious, and entertaining book provides a definitive general narrative of its subject for our times Clark s achievement is substantial.--R. J. W. Evans"New York Review of Books" (09/27/2007)"

"Iron Kingdom," Christopher Clark s stately, authoritative history of Prussia from its humble beginnings to its ignominious end, presents a much more complicated and compelling picture of the German state, which is too often reduced to a caricature of spiked helmets and polished boots. Prussia and its army were inseparable, but Prussia was also renowned for its efficient, incorruptible civil service; its innovative system of social services; its religious tolerance; and its unrivaled education system, a model for the rest of Germany and the world. This too was Prussia a tormented kingdom that, like a tragic hero, was brought down by the very qualities that raised it up. Mr. Clark, a senior lecturer in modern European history at Cambridge University, does an exemplary job. A lively writer, he organizes masses of material in orderly fashion, clearly establishing his main themes and pausing at crucial junctures to recapitulate and reconsider. Prussia, a self-invented artifact right down to its name, demands the kind of careful demythologizing that it receives from Mr. Clark, who gently but insistently exposes the flaws in most of the received wisdom about his subject. A result is an illuminating, profoundly satisfying work of history, brightened by vivid character sketches of the principals in his drama.--William Grimes"New York Times" (09/27/2006)"

To account for the rise and tumultuous extinction of Prussia is to explain how contemporary Europe came to assume its current form. It is a vast, Zeppelin-sized historical challenge; but it is also one to which Christopher Clark rises triumphantly, piloting his enormous subject through the best part of four centuries, traversing en route most of the continent of Europe, and carrying the reader with him on a bracing and exhilarating ride For sheer range and intellectual horsepower, this book ranks as the best history of Prussia currently available in any language. However, more than that (and here it beats its German rivals hands-down), it is written with a literary finesse and narrative elan that establish its author as one of the finest writers of history at work in Britain today. It is a virtuoso performance.--John Adamson"Sunday Times" (09/03/2006)"

This book can be read for sheer pleasure It is the pleasure of discovery that Christopher Clark offers in this account of the rise and fall of Prussia Prussia was much more than its wars, but without its wars it would not have been Prussia, and they and their protagonists (Mr. Clark s Bismarck is priceless), origins, conduct, and consequences occupy a large part of this excellent book, which scholars of Germany and Prussia will want to ponder very carefully, and which many an unencumbered reader will simply enjoy.--Edward N. Luttwak"New York Sun" (09/27/2006)"

From the military and agricultural innovations of Frederick the Great to nineteenth-century high academic politics to Bismarck s social-security system, this magisterial and remarkably well-written history of Prussia traces back to the eighteenth century the region s surprisingly tolerant and intellectually rich culture. Clark, a Cambridge historian, suggests that the world is poorer for Prussia s absence.--Benjamin Healy"The Atlantic" (12/06/2006)"

[A] valuable book [Clark] shows how complicated the history of Prussia really was, and how exciting were the contrasts in its history between religious tolerance and intolerance, enlightenment and obscurantism, centralized power and regional particularism, the rule of law and ruthless authoritarianism Prussia and its army were full of contradictions, and Clark analyzes them astutely in his book, which is certainly the best recent history of Prussia [A] masterpiece in which charming anecdotes and serious intellectual analyses mix comfortably with political and military history and descriptions of cultural and social phenomena Clark s book seldom becomes dull, owing to the elegance of its style and the colorfulness of some of its powerful characters.--Istvan Deak"New Republic" (03/12/2008)"

The story of Prussia is one that has been told many times, but seldom as intelligently, elegantly and interestingly as it is here. Christopher Clark has written a monumental history of a state that started from small beginnings as the Mark of Brandenburg, grew in size, violence and pretensions, and ended up being destroyed forever in 1947, when the victorious Allies decided they had had enough of this troublesome phenomenon The bulk of a fascinating text, littered with intriguing detail and wry observation, focuses on this transformation in the 200 years from the bloody Thirty Years War in the 17th century (which cost Prussia half its population) to the creation by the Prussian nobleman Otto von Bismarck of a German Empire in 1871 Clark has written a masterly synthesis of [the] many disparate strands in a long and ultimately forlorn history.--Richard Overy"Daily Telegraph" (08/12/2006)"

It is only by contrary example that this book may remind us how miserable some hastily written products of the recent history boom have been. Clark is not one to swagger over the dead, secure in the knowledge that they cannot answer back. Instead, this is a well-informed and fair-minded historical investigation, written by a man who is plainly fascinated by the changing circumstances under which lives are lived and decisions made. One of the pleasures of this book is to watch Clark weighing the undeniable otherness of the past and resisting any tendency to convert it into a costume drama.--Patrick Wright"The Guardian" (09/09/2006)"

Many states have been conquered, partitioned, occupied, ended and even destroyed. Prussia is unique in that it was formally abolished by decree of the British, American, French and Soviet victors in February 1947, after it ceased to exist in any meaningful sense Christopher Clark begins "Iron Kingdom," his history of the rise and downfall of Prussia, with this famous decree, but his remarkable book is not another exorcism, nor an uncritical celebration. He provides a sophisticated yet accessible account of how a middling German dynasty manoeuvred its way into the European pentarchy of powers.--Brendan Simms"The Independent" (08/18/2006)"

"Iron Kingdom" is a triumph of scholarship and imagination. This is a big book in every sense at almost 800 pages, it s not one to slip in your briefcase for the train but it zips along in a manner that belies its weight. In part this is because Clark writes so elegantly. This is history in its grand sweep, but his vivid sketches of characters, places and events lighten the narrative. Yet for all its entertainment value, "Iron Kingdom" is at heart an unflinching engagement with one of Europe s most complex and far-reaching political and cultural entities, spanning four centuries of history and, he suggests at the end, even beyond.--Richard Aldous"Irish Times" (08/26/2006)"

You couldn t have the triumph and the tragedy of Prussia better told. Christopher Clark has a voracious appetite for detail and a tart turn of phrase. His study of Prussia, from beginning to end, vividly paints one of the big pictures of European history.--Peter Preston"The Observer" (08/13/2006)"

Clark s book, a survey of Prussian history from 1600 to 1947, is well-written, even sometimes sprightly, although it is hard to make easy reading of matters such as Pietism or the administrative reforms of the Baron Stein. "Iron Kingdom" s triumph lies in a narrative structure that is even more impressive than the mass of detail that forms it; and one feels secure in the hands not only of a scholar but of a humane and fair interpreter of history.--Max Egremont"The Spectator" (09/02/2006)"

"Iron Kingdom" is not just good: it is everything a history book ought to be. The research is scholarly but never obtrusive, the prose sprightly but never flippant, the judgements bold but always sound The nemesis of Prussia has cast such a long shadow that German historians have tiptoed around the subject. Thus it was left to an Englishman to write what is surely the best history of Prussia in any language.--Daniel Johnson"Sunday Telegraph" (08/06/2006)"

This beautifully written and brilliantly argued longer study will reward scholars, students, and educated laypeople who invest the time to read it [A] riveting narrative.--C. Ingrao"Choice" (08/01/2007)"

Chris Clark s new history of Prussia trumps all existing accounts. It commands four centuries of complicated history with extraordinary assurance. Its clear and confident argumentation, illuminating concreteness of detail, and sheer richness of texture make it the ideal general history.--Geoff Eley, author of "A Crooked Line: From Cultural History to the History of Society""

Prussia was a project for state power invented by monarchs and landlords, generals and civil servants from the vulnerable provinces of north central Europe slowly mobilizing civic loyalties and reinvented for an age of German nationalism and encroaching democracy. In this epic volume, Christopher Clark enriches classic scholarship with the most recent findings to write Prussia s 500-year story from its unpromising Brandenburg origins through its manipulation by the Nazis and final dissolution by the postwar Allies as the byword for German aggression.--Charles S. Maier, author of "Among Empires: American Ascendancy and Its Predecessors""

Clark s great accomplishment is to tell the story of the Prussian state s rise and fall in a splendid and compelling way. His interpretation is a sustained critique of the still widely accepted view of Prussia s deviation from the western norm that led to the catastrophes of war and dictatorship in the twentieth century. "Iron Kingdom" is by far the best account of Prussia in English and as good as anything I know in German as well.--James J. Sheehan, President of the American Historical Association"

This book is everything its subject is supposed not to be: it s sparkling, light-footed and intellectually supple at every turn. Even more refreshingly, it narrates the story of a Prussia that was itself the source of much that was socially and intellectually progressive. The history of Prussia is a history of the West: we are all Prussians one way or another. This humane book, with its unflagging narrative sweep and deftness of touch, reveals the truth of that surprising statement.--James Simpson, author of "Reform and Cultural Revolution""

Synopsis

With its capital in Berlin, Prussia grew from being a small, poor, disregarded medieval state into one of the most vigorous and powerful countries in Europe, the scourge of its many enemies and, ultimately, the motor behind the creation of the German Empire in 1871 with all that implied for the 20th century. After the Second World War Prussia, which had still continued to exist as part of the German state, was abolished by the Allies, blamed for the overwhelming militarism that had led Europe into total disaster. Prussia's role in Europe's fortunes has been incalculable and "Iron Kingdom" is, extraordinarily, the first major book devoted to it. Prussia's power came from a sequence of notably brilliant rulers (most famously Frederick the Great), dynastic marriage and an obsessive focus on military excellence. It was both a progressive, well-run, enlightened country and a huge, threatening barracks. "Iron Kingdom" is a wonderfully readable, gripping account of a state which, for both good and ill, has fundamentally shaped our world. -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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This is a long overdue book. Prussia, as far as the "politically correct" German perception of its history is concerned, was a precursor for everything bad (or worse) that came thereafter. The decision of the Allies to brand Prussia as a militarist state and to expunge it from history in 1947 gave it the mark of Cain in the English speaking world.

Christopher Clark has now produced a comprehensive and dispassionate history of Prussia that puts many of the common prejudices into perspective. In the end, he argues, the German state that arose from Prussia chose to adopt many of the latter's most negative attributes (largely because Germany's increased political weight made it more self-assured and less defensive), while the German unification in 1871 in turn became the undoing of Prussia and Prussian values.

Although I would like to recommend this book to a general audience, its exhaustive and exhausting narrative may be the one thing going against the book. Clark's style is lucid but scholarly, and 700 pages packed with information is a long haul. A must-read in any case for anyone interested in modern German and European history.
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Von Mario Pf. HALL OF FAME REZENSENTTOP 1000 REZENSENT am 10. August 2008
Format: Taschenbuch
Sir Winston Churchill bezeichnete Preußen einst als "die Wurzel allen Übels" und so verwundert es kaum, dass die Churchills Überzeugung zu Grunde liegende Sichtweise von Preußen als Hort des Nationalsozialismus aufgegriffen wurde und in der der Auflösung des Freistaats durch den Alliierten Kontrollrat am 25. Februar 1947 mündete. Nun bricht der 1960 in Sydney geborene Professor für Neuere Europäische Geschichte am St. Catharines' College in Cambridge mit diesem Diktum und zwingt durch sein eindrucksvolles Standard-Werk zu einer Revision des Preußenbildes.

Für Christopher Clark beginnt der Aufstieg Preußens jedoch nicht erst 1701 mit der Krönung Friedrich III. zu König Friedrich I. in Preußen, sondern bereits um 1600, als die Kurfürsten der Markgrafschaft Brandenburg gerade begannen ihre Position im Heiligen Römischen Reich zu festigen. 1613 etwa, konvertierte Kurfürst Johann Sigismund zum Calvinismus und wurde somit zu einem calvinistischen Herrscher über ein lutherisches Land, was zu einigen Differenzen mit dem Landadel führen sollte. Noch waren die brandenburgischen Hohenzollern lediglich Herrscher Brandenburgs, bis sie 1618 das Herzogtum Preußen erbten, welches außerhalb des Heiligen Römischen Reiches Deutscher Nation ursprünglich eine Region zwischen Hinterpommern und dem Kurland bezeichnete.

In den Wirren des Dreißigjährigen Krieges wurden die Länder der Hohenzollern vermehrt verwüstet und der Kurfürst wechselte mehr als einmal die Bündnisse, wobei Georg Wilhelm zuletzt in das eher sichere Preußen flüchten musste, wo er 1640 verstarb.
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Its a long read, but its full with wonderful facts, great analysis, excellent attention to detail and a thorough understanding of the powers that shaped and in the end, destroyed Prussia.

If you are looking for a casual book on Prussian history, then find another book. This is a complete study of cultural, religion, political, military, geographical, economical and industrial aspects of prussia for about 500 years. Its takes time to read, but its rewarding. The book explains to the detail great events like the napoleonic wars, and then goes to a personal level to show you what happened in the King's court, or the Generals' meetings.

Also recomendable, "Diplomacy" by Kissinger, it has a couple of chapters on Bismarck and the Emperor, plus other chapters that help to understand the decisions and attitudes from european statesmen that influenced Prussia, such as Richelieu, Metternich and Napoleon III.

its a great book, kudos to Christopher Clark for an amazing job on gathering so much information.
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Bisher die beste Geschichtsübersicht, die ich über das Thema gelesen habe. Umfassend, manchmal aus überraschender Perspektive (und damit anders ausleuchtend) geschrieben, (z.B. über Bismack). Ich konnte dadurch viele neue Facetten und Einsichten kennenlernen. Clark bemüht sich m.E um eine objektive Darstellung, ohne die andernorts oft übliche Glorifizierung oder Prangerstellung; sein intelligenter, b(k)ritischer Blick von aussen, vereint mit intimer Kenntnis deutscher Geschichte, Wesensart und Gegebenheiten sind eine hervorragende Basis.
Die englische Originalausgabe nach meiner Meinung auch für den Nicht-Muttersprachler mit mittleren Sprachkenntnissen gut verständlich und nicht zu 'gewählt' geschrieben; gibt's inzwischen auch auf deutsch, habe es aber noch nicht gelesen.
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It is a very well researched book. During reading one is overwhelmed with the immensity of this work.
I am not in position, though, to confirm every individual fact mentioned. However, it was a very good decision on my side
to take up this book, in order to learn the history of Prussia and more or less the last 400 years of German history.

The impartial attitude of the book was really important for me, which makes it an important reference book for the topic leaning on tons of reference documents.
It is basically following the chronological order, which is logical but in some individual instances it was going back and forth a couple years, which was not the best for my taste.

The Second World War is completely left out, which was a perfect decision.
I recommend it without doubt, and actually after some time I want to read it once more.

Overall it is a very informative, well structured and surprisingly readable book, but it is a pretty long read.
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