The German Genius by Peter Watson
Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the Twentieth Century

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Synopsis

The German Genius is a virtuoso cultural history of German ideas and influence, from 1750 to the present day, by acclaimed historian Peter Watson (Making of the Modern Mind, Ideas). From Bach, Goethe, and Schopenhauer to Nietzsche, Freud, and Einstein, from the arts and humanities to science and philosophy, The German Genius is a lively and accessible review of over 250 years of German intellectual history. In the process, it explains the devastating effects of World War II, which transformed a vibrant and brilliantly artistic culture into a vehicle of warfare and destruction, and it shows how the German culture advanced in the war’s aftermath.
 

About Peter Watson

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Peter Watson has been a senior editor at the London Sunday Times, a New York correspondent of the London Times, a columnist for the London Observer, and a contributor to the New York Times. He has published three exposés on the world of art and antiquities, and is the author of several books of cultural and intellectual history. From 1997 to 2007 he was a research associate at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at the University of Cambridge. He lives in London.
 
Published June 9, 2010 by HarperCollins e-books. 992 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The German Genius

Kirkus Reviews

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(Adam Smith would seem as likely a candidate.) Valuably, the author identifies several cultural seedbeds for the rise of Nazism, among them the widespread acceptance among all classes of late-19th-century society of Social Darwinism, competing strains of anti-Semitism, each more virulent than the...

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The New York Times

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A compendium of German contributions in philosophy, art and natural and social science.

Jul 16 2010 | Read Full Review of The German Genius: Europe's T...

The Guardian

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German protestantism, high literacy, well organised universities and a Jewish citizenry devoted to German high culture all played their role.

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Publishers Weekly

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We are shamefully ignorant of German culture, asserts veteran British historian Watson (The Modern Mind) in this engrossing, vast chronicle of ideas, humanists, scientists, and artists: Bach, Goethe, Hegel, Gauss, and many more.

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The New Yorker

Watson’s eight-hundred-and-fifty-page love letter to the all-stars of the Teutonic intellect is more an encyclopedia than a historical analysis, but his élan generates its own momentum, and his judicious attention to his subjects’ sex lives brightens what might otherwise be a serviceable slog.

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BBC History Magazine

Inevitably revisionist arguments have surfaced recently, but most historians would not deviate from the standard line that German intellectual development was effectively stymied by the Thirty Years’ War that throttled the country in the first half of the 17th century.

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Spectator Book Club

He writes near tautologies such as ‘Kant was the first great philosopher who was a university professor and who has had a great impact — on philosophy and on academic life’.

Oct 16 2010 | Read Full Review of The German Genius: Europe's T...

Spectator Book Club

The reason Peter Watson gives for writing this long intellectual history of Germany since 1750 is a convincing one: that British obsession with Nazism has blinded many British people to the achievements of German culture.

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