Walther Rathenau by Shulamit Volkov
Weimar's Fallen Statesman (Jewish Lives)

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Synopsis

This deeply informed biography of Walther Rathenau (1867–1922) tells of a man who—both thoroughly German and unabashedly Jewish—rose to leadership in the German War-Ministry Department during the First World War, and later to the exalted position of foreign minister in the early days of the Weimar Republic. His achievement was unprecedented—no Jew in Germany had ever attained such high political rank. But Rathenau’s success was marked by tragedy: within months he was assassinated by right-wing extremists seeking to destroy the newly formed Republic.

Drawing on Rathenau’s papers and on a depth of knowledge of both modern German and German-Jewish history, Shulamit Volkov creates a finely drawn portrait of this complex man who struggled with his Jewish identity yet treasured his “otherness.” Volkov also places Rathenau in the dual context of Imperial and Weimar Germany and of Berlin’s financial and intellectual elite. Above all, she illuminates the complex social and psychological milieu of German Jewry in the period before Hitler’s rise to power.

 

About Shulamit Volkov

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Shulamit Volkov is the Konrad Adenauer Chair for Comparative European History and Professor of Modern European History at Tel Aviv University. She was previously a fellow at St Anthony's College, Oxford, the Wissenschaftskolleg, and the Historisches Kolleg. Volkov is the author of The Origins of Popular Antimodernism in Germany: The Urban Master Artisans, 1873-1896 (1978) and the editor of Deutsche Juden und die Moderne (1994) and Being Different: Minorities, Aliens, and Outsiders in History (2000).
 
Published January 24, 2012 by Yale University Press. 254 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Travel.

Unrated Critic Reviews for Walther Rathenau

Publishers Weekly

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Imagine that Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, were also an influential public philosopher who published numerous books on society and political affairs and you will begin to get a sense of Walther Rathenau

Nov 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Walther Rathenau: Weimar's Fa...

The Wall Street Journal

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A prominent industrialist and statesman whose assassination marked a turning point in the turbulent life of the Weimar Republic.

Feb 29 2012 | Read Full Review of Walther Rathenau: Weimar's Fa...

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