Author(s): Neil MacGregor
Neil MacGregorhas been director of the British Museum since 2002. He was previously director of the National Gallery in London from 1987 to 2002. His celebrated books include "A History of the World in 100 Objects," now translated into more than a dozen languages, and "Shakespeare s Restless World.""
A "Sunday Times" bestseller "The director of the British Museum tells the compelling story of a traumatized country through objects and places that represent the enduring strength and hope of the people. . . . MacGregor traces the evolution of German identity. . . . A comprehensive record jam-packed with visuals." "Kirkus" MacGregor [is] our greatest cultural polymath. . . . Anyone who wants to understand Germany should read this book. Antony Beevor, "The Observer" It s hard to imagine a method more successful than MacGregor s the careful juxtaposition of singular objects with their surrounding history for conveying the complexities of Germany s continuing journey. Miranda Seymour, "Daily Telegraph" "Germany: Memories of a Nation" is deeply felt, carefully conceived, and an important addition to any consideration of the shape not only of modern Germany but of Europe as a whole. "The Economist""
For the past 140 years, Germany has been the central power in continental Europe. Twenty-five years ago a new German state came into being. How much do we really understand this new Germany, and how do its people now understand themselves? Neil MacGregor argues that, uniquely for any European country, no coherent, overarching narrative of Germany s history can be constructed, for in Germany both geography and history have always been unstable. Its frontiers have constantly shifted. Konigsberg, home to the greatest German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, is now Kaliningrad, Russia; Strasbourg, in whose cathedral Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany s greatest writer, discovered the distinctiveness of his country s art and history, now lies within the borders of France. For most of the five hundred years covered by this book Germany has been composed of many separate political units, each with a distinct history. And any comfortable national story Germans might have told themselves before 1914 was destroyed by the events of the following thirty years. German history may be inherently fragmented, but it contains a large number of widely shared memories, awarenesses, and experiences; examining some of these is the purpose of this book. MacGregor chooses objects and ideas, people and places that still resonate in the new Germany porcelain from Dresden and rubble from its ruins, Bauhaus design and the German sausage, the crown of Charlemagne and the gates of Buchenwald to show us something of its collective imagination. There has never been a book about Germany quite like it."