Bismarck: A Life

Bismarck: A Life

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by Jonathan Steinberg
     
 

Otto von Bismarck transformed Europe more completely than anybody in the nineteenth century—except for Napoleon. He unified—and indeed, created—the country at the center of two world wars that would transform the world.
This riveting biography illuminates the life of the statesman who unified Germany but who also embodied everything brutal and

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Overview

Otto von Bismarck transformed Europe more completely than anybody in the nineteenth century—except for Napoleon. He unified—and indeed, created—the country at the center of two world wars that would transform the world.
This riveting biography illuminates the life of the statesman who unified Germany but who also embodied everything brutal and ruthless about Prussian culture. Jonathan Steinberg draws heavily on contemporary writings, allowing Bismarck's friends and foes to tell the story. What rises from these pages is a complex giant of a man: a hypochondriac with the constitution of an ox, a brutal tyrant who could easily shed tears, a convert to an extreme form of evangelical Protestantism who secularized schools and introduced civil divorce. Bismarck may have been in sheer ability the most intelligent man to direct a great state in modern times. His brilliance and insight dazzled his contemporaries. But all agreed there was also something demonic, diabolical, overwhelming, beyond human attributes, in Bismarck's personality. He was a kind of malign genius who, behind the various postures, concealed an ice-cold contempt for his fellow human beings and a drive to control and rule them. As one contemporary noted: "the Bismarck regime was a constant orgy of scorn and abuse of mankind, collectively and individually."
In this comprehensive and expansive biography—a brilliant study in power—Jonathan Steinberg brings Bismarck to life, revealing the stark contrast between the "Iron Chancellor's" unmatched political skills and his profoundly flawed human character.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199782529
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
04/06/2011
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
592
Sales rank:
642,385
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.80(d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Steinberg is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Modern European History at the University of Pennsylvania, and Emeritus Fellow, Trinity Hall, Cambridge. His books include Yesterday's Deterrent: Tirpitz and the Birth of the German Battle Fleet and All or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust, 1941 to 1943.

Table of Contents

Introduction Bismarck: Sovereign Self Chapter 2 Bismarck: born Prussian and what that meant Chapter 3 Bismarck: the 'Mad Junker"
Chapter 4 Bismarck Represents Himself, 1847 to 1851
Chapter 5 Bismarck as Diplomat 1851-1862
Chapter 6 Power Chapter 7 "I have beaten them all! All!"
Chapter 8 The Unification of Germany 1866 to 1870
Chapter 9 The Decline Begins: Liberals and Catholics Chapter 10 "The Guest House of the Dead Jew"
Chapter 11 Three Kaisers and Bismarck's Fall from Power Conclusions Bismarck and His Legacy Bibliography

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