Germany

Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man by Thomas Mann, translated by Walter D. Morris

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September 2021, no. 435

Nobel Laureate, author of The Magic Mountain (1924) and Doctor Faustus (1947), Thomas Mann (1875–1955) needs little introduction. His books have long been available in English. Yet one work, Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man (1918), a series of confessional essays on which he laboured throughout World War I, is rarely praised. Mann (not known for his modesty) pointed to its importance as a historical document: ‘By listening to my own inner voice,’ he says in the prologue, ‘I was able to hear the voice of the times.’

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Speechless, Adolf Hitler sat glowering at Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. Since 1933 the führer had gambled repeatedly that France and Britain would capitulate to his latest demands. Now he tried again, reassured by Ribbentrop (no aristocrat, a vain man who had purchased his title) that the feckless Allies would not intervene if ...

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Hitler: A Life by Peter Longerich, translated by Jeremy Noakes and Lesley Sharpe

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October 2019, no. 415

It’s a disconcerting image. Piercing blue eyes stare out at you from the cover of the book. It renders Adolf Hitler somehow human, which is the intent of the author, Peter Longerich, and which sets this biography apart from the many others that have preceded it. Two other notable biographers, Ian Kershaw and Joachim Fest, refused to engage with Hitler’s personal ...

Everyone knows about the final days of Adolf Hitler – his abject suicide in a clammy Berlin bunker. Many prominent Nazis followed suit, including the master propagandist Joseph Goebbels, who broadcast messages to the public espousing the virtue of death over defeat. His wife, Magdalena, wrote ...

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Berlin is built on sand, says Stuart Braun in City of Exiles; it is 'never far away from darkness'. It is a city of tolerance, which exerts a psychic pull for anarchists, artists, and those who become Wahlberliners: 'the people who choose to live in Berlin.'

City of Exiles' own sandy foundations make it difficult to find anything s ...