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A Dance Between the Flames: Berlin Between the Wars

A Dance Between the Flames: Berlin Between the Wars

by Anton Gill

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This fast-paced, wonderfully evocative chronicle of interwar Berlin opens with the Communist revolution of 1918, which nearly took over Germany; it closes on Kristallnacht , Nov. 9, 1938, when Nazis burned and pillaged Jewish property and synagogues. Drawing primarily on German sources, British writer Gill re-creates the creative frenzy of a city that nurtured Bertolt Brecht, Max Reinhardt, Josephine Baker, Kathe Kollwitz, George Grosz, Arnold Schonberg, Christopher Isherwood, satirical journalist Kurt Tucholsky and dozens more against a backdrop of economic chaos and rising Nazism. He charts the Weimar Republic's doomed attempt to introduce democratic ideas to a wrecked, disillusioned people craving order, and he includes a wealth of fresh material on Berlin's cafe society, criminal underworld, theater, arts and its regimented university system--which emphasized militarist nationalism and actively harassed Jewish students and teachers. Photos. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Gill ( Berlin to Bucharest , LJ 11/1/90) here collects wonderful anecdotes from Berliners who remember the Weimar era. A master raconteur who knows Berlin and Berliners well, he captures the Zeitgeist from the collective memory of a city that was both exhilarating and terrifying. Gill doesn't tell how Germany descended into a nightmare, but he shows how Berlin remembers the descent. This work is the perfect complement to the current explosion of books in Germany on the Weimar Republic, which consider whether there is anything to be learned from the pre-Hitler era concerning Germany's present difficulties. There is no fresh scholarship here, however, and Gill gets sloppy with his facts. For example, he cites the controversy about the republic's flag but describes the flag backward. Still, this book will be a good addition to public and undergraduate collections.-- Randall L. Schroeder, Augustana Coll. Lib., Rock Island, Ill.

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Avalon Publishing Group
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1st Carroll & Graf ed

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