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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Germany: The Long Road West, 1789-1933

Al Parsons

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Not about the Great War per se, but about one of the major protagonists in any case. Also, I am assuming that it will be good not only on the whole period but on the years just before, during and after the war.

I am looking for a first class single volume that will give me a better historical insight into Germany. This seems to be the one. Does anyone have any opinions - for or against.

The author has written a second volume which takes the story up to 1990.

Thanks in advance.

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You should try a superb new study about Prussia: Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600 - 1947 Christopher Clark Allen Lane, Penguin Group London 2006. ISBN 978 0 713 99466 7 It is hard to visualise any Anglophone author bettering it.


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Thanks for the info, Jack. I shall add this one to my list.

One advantage of Winkler's book, I assume, is that it presumably deals with the whole of what became Germany; ie. it will include good descriptions of what was going on in Bavaria and Saxony, etc, as well as Prussia. As I understand it, the inhabitants of these various regions did not exactly see "eye to eye" on all the major issues of the day. :)

Anyway, I thank you for your suggestion and, as I say, I shall add it to my list.

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Iron Kingdom is a very good history of Prussia and strongly recommended (very readable too). As I caveat, however, it very much focuses on Prussia pre-German unification.

John Röhl is the pre-eminent expert on Wilhelm II. His multi-volume biography (sadly he's only as far as volume 2 to date) is truly outstanding.


His study of the Kaiser and his entourage is also highly recommended


as is the one by Isabel Hull


as is her study of the German military under the Kaiser


I haven't yet read a book on the Kaiserreich which does for Wilhelm's reign what William L Shirer did and Richard Evans is doing for the Third Reich.

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Halder, thanks very much for the suggestions. They are all new to me and I shall follow them up.

By the way, I ordered Winkler's book yesterday. If it is terrific or a major disappointment (unlikely I think?), I shall give it a review on these pages.

If anyone else would like to join the party with further suggestions, you are all welcome.

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