Berlin: A Portrait of Its history, Politics, Architecture and Society

Overview

In this book Giles MacDonogh shows Berlin in its various incarnations: the trading town, the royal residence, the garrison town, and the industrial city; the capital of the new German nation and the cosmopolitan city of the early twentieth century; the capital of the Third Reich; the divided city after 1945; and finally, Berlin as it is today. He paints a multifaceted picture, drawing from a wide range of sources that range from archives to the Berlin novel. Organized thematically and rich with anecdote, the book...
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1st Ed. (U.S.), VG+/Fine Ink owner name stamp, owner name embossment on Half Title Page, small ink date stamp, number, where bought on last Index Page, o.w. clean, bright & ... tight. Price unclipped. DJ not chipped, torn, etc. Rest of book in Fine Like New condition. ISBN 0312185375 Read more Show Less

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Gift quality, Fine. 8vo. xx, 540 p., 16 p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm. A superior copy in new condition. Clean, unmarked pages. Good binding and cover. Hardcover and dust ... jacket. Journalist and historian MacDonogh has written most extensively about food and drink, particularly in the German-speaking lands. So while there's plenty of history here, MacDonogh is the sort of writer who's fully aware that it's not just fine words that keep one alive. MacDonogh's history is woven into a broadly thematic arrangement that can make it spotty, redundant and hard to piece together. For example, in a section about various revolutions in Berlin in which he notes that "[b]y 1918 the middle classes had achieved their political aims," he sheds little light on the Second Reich's unfair electoral system. Said section belongs in a chapter titled "Belial," which also deals with the battle of Berlin and the 1953 uprising. Other chapters are equally amorphous agglomerations: "City of Order," for example, deals with all facets of regulation whether it be the U-Bahn or the Deutsche Christen movement of the 1930s. But if the various chapters lack an overreaching coherence ("Berlin Itineraries," in particular, almost requires the presence of the city itself to realize any narrative logic), there is still a great deal of fascinating information, mostly about aspects of popular or daily life ignored by more traditional histories. MacDonogh is particularly good on certain recurring themes and people: the history of beer; the satirist Adolf Glassbrenner (aka Brennglas); painter Heinrich Zille, whose subject was the Berlin worker; and police commissioner Wilhelm Stieber. There are also extensive references to Adam von Trott zu Solz (a reflection of his biography of the anti-Nazi conspirator, A Good German) and to E.T.A. Hoffmann that might hopefully indicate a forthcoming biography of that great writer. Read more Show Less

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1998 Hard cover US ed. New. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 540 p. Contains: Illustrations.

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Overview

In this book Giles MacDonogh shows Berlin in its various incarnations: the trading town, the royal residence, the garrison town, and the industrial city; the capital of the new German nation and the cosmopolitan city of the early twentieth century; the capital of the Third Reich; the divided city after 1945; and finally, Berlin as it is today. He paints a multifaceted picture, drawing from a wide range of sources that range from archives to the Berlin novel. Organized thematically and rich with anecdote, the book includes material on aspects of Berlin life as diverse as food, cafes, working life, architecture, crime, slang, education, theater, music, riots, assassins, and leisure time.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Journalist and historian MacDonogh has written most extensively about food and drink, particularly in the German-speaking lands. So while there's plenty of history here, MacDonogh is the sort of writer who's fully aware that it's not just fine words that keep one alive. MacDonogh's history is woven into a broadly thematic arrangement that can make it spotty, redundant and hard to piece together. For example, in a section about various revolutions in Berlin in which he notes that "[b]y 1918 the middle classes had achieved their political aims," he sheds little light on the Second Reich's unfair electoral system. Said section belongs in a chapter titled "Belial," which also deals with the battle of Berlin and the 1953 uprising. Other chapters are equally amorphous agglomerations: "City of Order," for example, deals with all facets of regulation whether it be the U-Bahn or the Deutsche Christen movement of the 1930s. But if the various chapters lack an overreaching coherence ("Berlin Itineraries," in particular, almost requires the presence of the city itself to realize any narrative logic), there is still a great deal of fascinating information, mostly about aspects of popular or daily life ignored by more traditional histories. MacDonogh is particularly good on certain recurring themes and people: the history of beer; the satirist Adolf Glassbrenner (aka Brennglas); painter Heinrich Zille, whose subject was the Berlin worker; and police commissioner Wilhelm Stieber. There are also extensive references to Adam von Trott zu Solz (a reflection of his biography of the anti-Nazi conspirator, A Good German) and to E.T.A. Hoffmann that might hopefully indicate a forthcoming biography of that great writer. (Aug.)
Library Journal
MacDonogh's collection of Berlin vignettes is both comprehensive and sensitive. He moves comfortably from the first settlement of Slavic Wends through a personal "epilog" of a 1989 visit to a crumbling Communist city. However, the book is less a history than a vast thematic tour that defies summary. Several features stand out. The grand material aspirations of Hohenzollerns contrast with the mores, poverty, and crimes of their subjects. The depravity of Nazi "justice" and "racial hygiene" stand alongside the brilliance of Berlin's artists, writers, and scientists. The city's "self-destructive" attitude toward its cultural legacies coexist with its people's resiliency, save for the Holocaust. Students of German culture will appreciate the richly descriptive historical and literary excerpts. MacDonogh, a journalist who has written for the Financial Times and the Guardian, gives a fine account of 19th-century Berlin that nicely compensates for the omission of the city's postwar resurrection. Highly recommended for academic and larger public libraries.--Zachary T. Irwin, Pennsylvania State Univ., Erie
Kirkus Reviews
Another addition to the recent spate of books on the new (old) German capital. It should come as no surprise that since June 1991, when German politicians in the Bundestag voted that Berlin would again be the capital of a united Germany, scholars have turned their attention to that city. Ronald Taylor's Berlin and Its Culture (1998) focused on a rich heritage of art, architecture, music, and theater; Faust's Metropolis by Alexandra Richie (1998) borrowed the brilliant motif of Faust to explore and explain Berlinþs identity. No doubt this latest contribution to a growing genre will be compared with the predecessors; written by MacDonough, a British journalist for the Financial Times and the author of well- regarded historical works (A Good German: Adam von Trott zu Salz, 1992, etc.), his rendering of the city more than holds its own. Berlin, according to the author, is now reinventing itself for precisely the ninth time. No wonder recent tourists have marveled at all the physical construction (and renovation) going on. More important, though, as the author points out, Berlin is rethinking its position as the capital of a united Germany in a united Europe. MacDonough does a fine job of balancing matters of chronology with thematic issues; he gracefully synthesizes social, cultural, and political history. The author of several works on food and drink, heþs roundly unapologetic about devoting an entire chapter here of nearly 50 pages to the topicþone must conclude that cuisine is an excellent means through which to approach history and urban biography. What emerges from the tapestry? "Berlin was and is a city of villages, each with a different character and politicalcomplexion.þ While many in Europe look on in apprehension as Berlin burgeons, MacDonough feels confident of the future of þthe inextinguishable city.þ (16 pages b&w illustrations, not seen)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312185374
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1st U.S. Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 540
  • Product dimensions: 6.53 (w) x 9.61 (h) x 1.71 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgements
Chronology
Introduction: Berlin, the Inextinguishable City 1
1 Ich bin ein Berliner 10
2 Berlin Itineraries 47
3 Berlin Life 180
4 Berlin Bacchanalia 264
5 City of Order 313
6 Bohemian Berlin 357
7 Belial 408
Epilogue 450
Notes 468
Index 519
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