The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$14.31
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$10.76
(Save 40%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 88%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $11.25   
  • Used (11) from $1.99   

Overview

"Brilliantly conceived....[A] tour de force in historical writing."—Ian Kershaw
Majestic and lyrically written, The Conquest of Nature traces the rise of Germany through the development of water and landscape. David Blackbourn begins his morality tale in the mid-1700s, with the epic story of Frederick the Great, who attempted—by importing the great scientific minds of the West and by harnessing the power of his army—to transform the uninhabitable marshlands of his scattered kingdom into a modern state. Chronicling the great engineering projects that reshaped the mighty Rhine, the emergence of an ambitious German navy, and the development of hydroelectric power to fuel Germany's convulsive industrial growth before World War I, Blackbourn goes on to show how Nazi racial policies rested on German ideas of mastery of the natural world. Filled with striking reproductions of paintings, maps, and photographs, this grand work of modern history links culture, politics, and the environment in an exploration of the perils faced by nations that attempt to conquer nature.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
There have been numerous books chronicling Germany's development as a nation, but we think this landmark study by British historian David Blackbourn approaches the subject from an original and richly rewarding angle. The author claims that modern Germany is the result of three centuries of engineering regional water sources, a process of altering the landscape by "aquaforming." From Frederick the Great's Englightenment-inspired plans to cultivate and improve waterways to the Third Reich's obsession with imposing order on the chaos of nature, this important illustrated history weaves cultural, political, and environmental history into a mesmerizing read.
Publishers Weekly
A modern-day German magically transported back 250 years would barely recognize his own country, says Blackbourn, a professor of history at Harvard. Where today manicured fields, straight canals and windmills dominate, then the landscape was "[d]ark and waterlogged, filled with snaking channels half-hidden by overhanging lianas" and inhabited by mosquitoes, frogs, wild boar and wolves. Blackbourn investigates this remarkable feat of aquaforming as Germans sought to manacle nature by means of mammoth hydrological projects, from building dams to "remaking" the Rhine. The simple act of draining a marsh, Blackbourn points out, can be interpreted in multiple ways. Liberals saw in human mastery of the waters a shining instance of scientific rationalism-which could be applied to settling national conflicts. Conservatives thought that reclaiming marshland would provide Frederick the Great's regiments with an unimpeded line of march to the battlefront. The Nazis, too, perceived land reclamation as a duty for a "people without space." More recently, Greens have highlighted the downsides of water engineering (loss of biodiversity, pollution, overconsumption) even as its supporters trumpet its successes (free commerce, the end of malaria, control of flooding). The unique framing of Blackbourn's interpretation of German history and the lavish illustrations make this an engrossing read. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393329995
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/13/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 1,480,674
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

David Blackbourn is the Coolidge Professor of History at Harvard University. His previous books include Germany in the Long Nineteenth Century and Marpingen: Apparitions of the Virgin Mary. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction : nature and landscape in German history 3
1 Conquests from barbarism : Prussia in the eighteenth century 21
2 The man who tamed the wild Rhine : remaking Germany's river in the nineteenth century 77
3 Golden age : from the 1848 revolution to the 1870s 121
4 Dam-building and modern times : from the 1880s to World War Two 189
5 Race and reclamation : national socialism in Germany and Europe 251
6 Landscape and environment in the postwar Germanys 311
Epilogue : where it all began 347
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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

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