Bismarck: A Life [NOOK Book]

Overview

This riveting, New York Times bestselling biography illuminates the life of Otto
von Bismarck, 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 ...
See more details below
Bismarck: A Life

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 30%)$14.99 List Price

Overview

This riveting, New York Times bestselling biography illuminates the life of Otto
von Bismarck, 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.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Henry A. Kissinger
Bismarck: A Life is the best study of its subject in the English language.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
For over two decades the study of Otto von Bismarck (1815–1898) has been structured by the seminal multivolume works of Lothar Gall and Otto Pflanze. Steinberg (Yesterday's Deterrent), a professor of modern European history at the University of Pennsylvania, brings a fresh perspective to the subject in a single volume whose insights and presentation make it no less canonical than its predecessors. Steinberg's Bismarck is a man whose power came not from the external "forces and factors," as stated by Gall and Pflanze, but from "the sovereignty of an extraordinary, gigantic self." He embodied Hegel's concept of a world-historical figure: shaping events and people by the potency of his intellect, the force of his character, and the strength of his will. Yet Steinberg demonstrates that Bismarck's rise and survival depended on his relationship to King William I. Serving as prime minister at the pleasure of William I, Devoid of any principle beyond the exercise of power, defining politics as struggle in domestic and international contexts, he singlehandedly "brought about a complete transformation in the European international order." As Steinberg relates, he fostered enmity in order to resolve conflict. The results were a restless Reich, an antagonistic Europe, and eventually a world war. B&w photos. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

"...Bismarck: A Life is the best study of its subject in the English language." -- Henry A. Kissinger, New York Times Book Review

"Fascinating biography...Mr. Steinberg breathes more life into Bismarck than any other biographer, thanks to an unusual scholarly method: He shifts the normal balance between analysis and evidence decisively in favor of the latter...The result is riveting, and we experience Bismarck as a hulking, breathing presence." --The Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal "Book of the Year" selection ("[T]he best biography of the Iron Chancellor to date." --Simon Sebag Montefiore)

"A first-rate biography that combines a standard historical narrative with an intriguing account of Bismarck as a personality...Bismarck offers a fresh and compelling portrait of a fascinating character." -- ForeignAffairs.com

"Bismarck: A Life is a readable, engrossing...biography about the father of the Fatherland, a man who made Germany and remade Europe without a mandate, a crown or an army." -- Dallas Morning News

"This is the best one-volume life of Bismarck in English, much superior to older works. It brings us close to this galvanic, contradictory and ultimately self-destructive figure...Steinberg has an eye for details...and a talent for reconstructing the political drama of the period."-- The Guardian

"Steinberg...brings a fresh perspective to the subject in a single volume whose insights and presentation make it no less canonical than its predecessors." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Jonathan Steinberg's magnificent biography brings out the monstrous egotism of Bismarck more clearly than anyone before him...Steinberg has brilliantly transformed this man of 'blood and irony' into a tragic figure worthy to be compared with Goethe's Faust." -- New Criterion

"The Bismarck story is an oft-told one, and oft-told with a political or social agenda guiding the biographer's pen. Otto Pflanze's magisterial 1990 three-volume work set a new standard for Bismarck biographies and, more recently, Edgar Feuchtwanger's 'Imperial Germany 1850-1918' moved us beyond the standard Bismarck mythology. Jonathan Steinberg's 'Bismarck: A Life' fits neatly into this estimable body of work as a serious, politically detached, study...Steinberg's analysis achieves a degree of personal and political objectivity while avoiding an oversimplification of his political and governmental achievements...his purpose is neither to praise nor vilify the statesman. Rather, he aims to understand and explain Bismarck's profound success story: his brilliant strategies and tactics in bringing together the German states into a unified polity. In this, 'Bismarck: A Life' is a success story itself." -- Forward

"Portrays a fascinating picture of Germany, as well as its culture and politics...Jonathan Steinberg's biography is timely and necessary...Steinberg has written a compelling, readable and important book." -- Jerusalem Post

"If scholars and history buffs want to meet Bismarck in flesh and blood, they need go no further. Steinberg's integration of psychological insights and Bismarck's political strategies yields a worthy biography." -- Booklist

"Those with a serious interest in the subject will find it an intriguing one-volume addition to existing long works on Bismarck." -- Library Journal

"The best biography of the Iron Chancellor to date." -- Simon Sebag Montefiore, Wall Street Journal

"Other Bismarck biographies have been written, but what is unique about steinberg's is his effort to give voice to Bismarck's contemories - how they percieved and experienced him."-- Christian Century

"The book will probably become the standard work in English for some time to come. Essential." -- Choice

Library Journal
Otto von Bismarck (1815–98) unified the separate German states; his actions as Germany's Iron Chancellor had an immeasurable impact on the world and made him one of the most important figures of the 19th century. Steinberg (modern European history., Univ. of Pennsylvania; All or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust 1941–43) delves into Bismarck's life as both an individual and a statesman, drawing on observations from his friends, colleagues, and enemies to advance the idea that much of Bismarck's power came from his magnetic, larger-than-life personality. Though Steinberg's examination often leans toward the darker sides of his subject, the overall result is a complex and understandably contradictory picture: a physical giant whose ill health and hypochondria were legendary; a ruthless manipulator capable of great warmth and emotion; and, at heart, a man whose need for power was so consuming that it poisoned both his personal and his political life. VERDICT The combination of in-depth biography, political analysis, and psychological study might make this volume too weighty for casual readers, but those with a serious interest in the subject will find it an intriguing one-volume addition to existing long works on Bismarck.—Kathleen McCallister, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199845439
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 4/6/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 225,119
  • File size: 19 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

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 - 1943.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

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

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Ruthless Giant Dominating Lilliputians with Blood and Iron

    Jonathan Steinberg explores, with strong opinions, the life and career of Otto von Bismarck from three angles: Bismarck, the man; Bismarck, the genius-statesman; and Bismarck the Iron Chancellor as an icon. Steinberg clearly demonstrates that Bismarck was a pragmatic, ruthless giant, operating in a world populated with Lilliputians. As Prime Minister of Prussia, Bismarck single handily capitalized on the benevolent, weak personality of King and then Emperor, Wilhelm I, to create Modern Germany at the expense of the Kingdom of Denmark, the House of Habsburg, Imperial France, and the German states between 1863 and 1870. Bismarck would not have succeeded in his belligerent policies without the support of brilliant military men such as Albrecht von Roon and Helmuth von Moltke, to whom Wilhelm I gave the command of his armies. As the Iron Chancellor, Bismarck dominated the German Second Reich until his removal from power in 1890 by Wilhelm II with the same ruthlessness, thanks to what Steinberg describes as the uncanny, diabolical personal power that he had over men and affairs. By 1890, Bismarck was already a living legend who embodied the greatness of Germany. Steinberg is definitely at his most controversial when he explores the personality of Bismarck, the man. Bismarck comes out as a violent, intemperate, hypochondriac, and misogynist man who most feared, with very good reasons, to ever cross in their lifetime. Unfortunately, for his creation and the world, Bismarck bequeathed Germany with an unstable web of institutions that he was the only one to temporarily master. The outcome of this instability was two successive world wars at the hands of German leaders, who did not know their limits unlike Bismarck. A humbled Germany rose from its ashes, like the Phoenix under the responsible leadership of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and his successors in the aftermath of WWII.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 22, 2012

    Bismarck

    Very good biography, paints a picture of a key time in modern European history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2011

    To much detail

    To much detail and to many names. Unless you already know a lot about Bismark it is hard to follow.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)