Contesting the German Empire / Edition 1

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This volume provides an up-to-date and accessible guide to the diversity of current thinking on Imperial Germany.

  • Offers a historiographical overview, spanning more than a century of works on the German Empire
  • Guides readers through the main approaches, from ‘personalist’ to ‘structuralist’ and ‘post-structuralist’
  • Presents varying perspectives on gender, cultural history, foreign relations, colonialism, and war
  • Explores the controversial historical reputations of Bismarck and Kaiser Wilhelm II
  • Reflects the wide range of opinions on Imperial Germany held by historians today
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Excellently suited for undergraduates developing a critical approach to historiography." (European History Quarterly, Spring 2010)

"The great merit of the volume is thus to analyze the playing out, if not the full resolution, of these controversies, during the era that has followed German reunification." (English Historical Review, June 2009)

"Jefferies has produced a balanced, up-to-date book which will be an invaluable study aid for students and academics alike. ... A welcome arrival in so densely researched a field." (History, April 2009)

"In the past two decades, American, British and German historians have offered fundamentally new perspectives on the trajectory of Imperial Germany, often informed by recent approaches in social and cultural history. What was still needed, therefore, was a companion to the findings of this burgeoning and often controversial literature, a companion that is now available with this very informative and always reliable book by Matthew Jefferies."(History Today)

"A very readable and balanced account of the historiography of the German Empire. He focuses on the historical social science school and its main competitors, from neoconservatism through British neo-Marxism to a variety of cultural approaches." (CHOICE)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405129978
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/9/2008
  • Series: Contesting the Past Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Jefferies is Senior Lecturer in German History at the University of Manchester. He is the author of Imperial Culture in Germany, 1871-1918 (2003) and Politics and Culture in Wilhelmine Germany (1995).

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Table of Contents



1 The German Empire and its historians.

2 Great Men? Bismarck and Kaiser Wilhelm II.

3 ‘Democracy in the undemocratic state?’.

4 ‘Familiar features in an unfamiliar light’ Social and cultural perspectives.

5 The Kaiserreich transnational? Germany, colonialism, and the First World War.

Epilogue: Remembering Imperial German.



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