Another Country: German Intellectuals, Unification, and National Identity

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Overview

How did German intellectuals react to unification and how have they conceived the country's national identity and its new international position? This important book not only examines changing notions of nationhood and their complicated relationship to the Nazi past but also charts the wider history of the development of German political thought since World War II—while critically reflecting on some of the continuing blind spots among German writers and thinkers.

Jan-Werner Müller explains why many intellectuals reacted so defensively to unification and why unification plunged the Left in particular into a major crisis that is yet to be overcome. He analyzes the responses of Günter Grass, Jürgen Habermas, and others of the so-called skeptical generation, who broke with the tradition of the illiberal interwar intellectuals and reinvented themselves as a "democratic elite" who sought to transform political culture after the war—and tried to do so again after 1989. He discusses the German idea of "constitutional patriotism" as well as the antinationalism of the "generation of 1968," and provides the first full-scale analysis of Germany's "New Right." Written clearly and elegantly, the book assesses the acrimonious debates about the future of the nation-state and public memory in Germany and offers more general reflections on the role intellectuals can play in post-totalitarian societies.

About the Author:B Jan-Werner Müller is a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, and has recently held a senior visiting fellowship at the Remarque Institute at New York University.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
A valuable study . . . . It should become a benchmark for analysis of the intellectual vitality of the German Republic.
Library Journal
On October 3, 1990, Germany was reunified--politically. Ten years later, the "Berlin Republic" still struggles with its Nazi past and the Communist legacy of the German Democratic Republic. M ller (history, Oxford Univ.) here analyzes the views of leading German intellectuals and their contentious debates regarding German identity and nationhood. He has reworked some previously published articles and written new essays to round out the work. M ller examines in detail the antiunification ethos of G nter Grass, Jurgen Habermas's advocacy of constitutional patriotism, attempts by Karl Heinz Bohrer and Martin Walser to recover a German cultural tradition, and the current usefulness of the political theories of Carl Schmitt and Hannah Arendt. General readers will be better served by Mary Fulbrook's insightful German National Identity After the Holocaust (Polity, 1999), Marc Fisher's highly readable After the Wall: Germany, Germans, and the Burdens of History (LJ 4/1/95), and Frederick Kempe's Father/Land: A Personal Search for the New Germany (Putnam, 1999). Recommended for academic libraries with German studies collections.--James Tasato Mellone, CUNY Lib. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Mark Lilla
[A] penetrating study . . . Muller is well placed to examine [how] German intellectuals greeted the unification of their country.—Wall Street Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300083880
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.23 (d)

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