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A Concise History of Germany

(Cambridge Concise Histories)

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  407 ratings  ·  44 reviews
The multi-faceted, problematic history of the German lands has supplied material for a wide range of debates and differences of interpretation. This second edition spans the early Middle Ages to the present day, synthesizing a vast array of historical material. Mary Fulbrook explores the interrelationships between social, political and cultural factors in the light of the ...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 277 pages
Published March 8th 2004 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1991)
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I think it is ok for what it is, although the author's opening plea that it is easier to criticise than to write a book like this may have swayed my heart towards mercy.

At two hundred and sixty pages of text with maps and illustrations, we are in the territory of the Very Short Introductions , save somewhat more expensive so I do wonder who this book was written for.

An idea flashed across my mind when in the context of discussing medieval Germany she mentioned Minnesang, and indeed so she
Text for my German history class Fall Semester 2018. This was the first time I have taken a history class focusing on Germany. Prior to this, I have only known the basics about the countries past, mostly about the two world wars. I really enjoyed this class, and I learned quite a lot, even about the parts of its history I had watched while it happened, like the fall of the Berlin wall. I'm glad my advisor suggested this class to me.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
As the title says, a very concise history of Germany but if you want to learn more, this book can guide you to more resources. A very good starting point, basically an appetizer.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mary Fulbrook manages to disperse the hazy fog hovering over German history with ease, guiding the reader through the early centuries in antiquity and through to post-unification Germany. A brief overview of the Roman Empire's interaction with the German tribes along the Rhine-Danube frontier is provided and it is here that we are taught that key cities such as Trier, Cologne, Augsburg and Regensburg have Roman foundations. Such interactions with the Romanised Germans of Germania Inferior and ...more
Chris Witt
May 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
So what I was looking for was some sort of cursory review of German history. I really enjoyed my trip to the country a few years ago and, between that and other things I've read about the country, I was struck by how many different cultures appear to have influenced various facets of the land. Curious, I thought a little history reading might be in order.

The problem with this book isn't so much in that such information isn't found within. The problem is in the presentation. Allow me to give an
Barnaby Thieme
May 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: germany, history, europe
I know that a concise history of Germany is a tall order, but this book is an elliptical synopsis of a synopsis. It's hard to retain much information from this skeletal read. I would have much preferred the general contours of the history and less focus on minutia. Who could possibly get a sense of the character of the many political parties she tracks through the Weimar government, for example, when many are referred to solely by initials?

The focus of this book is overwhelmingly on the
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I read this book in preparation for my PhD qualifying exams. This book was extremely helpful to me, a seasoned student of Modern Germany and German culture, to give me an overview of the parts of history I do not as often deal with, particularly the period prior to the 1880s. Fulbrook does a good job of informing the reader of when there are multiple positions in debates over German history, at the same time supplying her own questioning of historians who were popularly touting theories about ...more
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a much better short history of Germany than the flawed The Shortest History of Germany (Hawes) which was my introduction to the topic. I feel I'm starting to grasp the outlines of the subject. Fulbrook's book dispenses with the stone, bronze, and iron ages, and with the Romans, in about 4 pages. German history begins in earnest when the Frankish king Clovis defeats the last Roman emperor in 486 CE and the Merovingian dynasty is established. From this admittedly arbitrary point this ...more
Jacob Aitken
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Some sections were slow, but overall it was pretty good. The section on the Aufklarung was outstanding. It forced me to rethink some categories I had on the Enlightenment. I had used to judge the Enlightenment by its French anti-Christian representatives. German proponents of the Aufklarung, while perhaps bad Christians themselves, were by and large conservative and usually quite insightful. Kant's remarks on the need for a monarch to guide the philosophers were astute.

Speaking of monarchy,
Jari Peteri
Jul 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
As good an introduction as you can get in 260 pages. A question for further study: when Hitler came to power in January 1933, the nazification of Germany was done very quickly and efficiently. That means good preparation. Who did it and how?
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Brief, Effective

Brief, Effective, February 18, 2016

This review is from: A Concise History of Germany (Cambridge Concise Histories) (Kindle Edition)
My own interest reading this book was to gain an understanding of the evolution of German nationality transitioning from the Holy Roman Empire though the collection of mini-states that flourished from 1300-1800 up until the time they coalesced under Bismark. The book is heavy in historic detail, perhaps difficult to remember but valuable to read
Alexander Seifert
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: History people
This review is for the OG edition, which was revised in 1992, a few years after the reunification of Germany.

The text is what it states it is: 'A concise history of Germany.' The pace is very fast, and there are only a few spaces in here where I felt the author was getting bogged down. Starting with some nods to the Saxon kings and the foundations of the HRE, the main focus of the text is the years 1500 to 1990. Within that section, there's a lot of love given to the Cold War Era.

In a sense, the
Oct 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Picked this up to learn some Germany history prior to a trip. The book is somewhat academic, written as a way for students to use as a diving board to jump into more detailed works of the historical periods discussed.

The book is organized in a chronological way, starting from pre-medieval and coming all the way up to the fall of the Berlin wall.

I found the first half of the book very interesting: learning about the dynamic nature of the German land, with its many princely states, its Roman
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non
Actually still plowing through this work, but not enjoying it. The author in her preface begins with an apology for not being able to delve into multitude of historical nuances so prevalent in the morass of "German" history. Throughout the text, the author pauses to explain herself, to apologize for leaving things out, and to mention the names (but often not theories and conclusions) of other scholars of German history. Perhaps it is a curse to have Cambridge ask one to write a concise history. ...more
J.T.K. Gibbs
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The title does not lie: this is a CONCISE history of Germany. However, attention is well paid to the social and economic forces in German history that even the tangle that was the First and Second World Wars is more comprehensible. Fulbrook's discussion of the 30 Years' War is also enlightening. I count this a valuable resource in any European History endeavor!
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I greatly enjoyed this book even though I often zoned out and would have to reread a page or so about five times over.
I am not sure if this repetition was done because I'm bad at reading history books (I am) or because some of the pages were written a bit too densely, thus the 4/5 instead of 5/5.
The information contained was indeed rather informative, I learned a lot.
This primarily political history is exactly what it says it is: a concise history. Naxos's narrator, Nick McArdle, does a fine job of reading the somewhat dry utilitarian textbook.
J Shaskan
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Pretty bad. Rushed, superficial, and just not interesting. It takes a lot of negative talent to make history boring, but this book does it.
Anthony Cleveland
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Difficult to read due to small print size and complex sentence structure.
Jaan Liitmäe
May 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Very light on earlier periods and heavy on post WWII times. So-so...
Luke Echo
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good introductory text on the long-stretch of 'German' history.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-presented short account of a massive amount of history.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
I suppose this book is okay but it told me very little I didn't already know and spent the bulk of it's time on 20th century Germany. It's not a bad book, but it's not very good either.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it liked it
It's certainly concise. I picked this one up after a trip to Germany where I realized I was seeing several historical monuments that referenced events that I had literally zero context for. While I wouldn't say I'm an expert after reading this, I at least better understand why there are so many random castles.
Michael Dorais
For a book I came across at the downtown library, this was worth the reading. I'm planning a trip to Germany with my mom where her ancestors came to the Midwest in the great migrations of the late 1800's. I wanted to learn about the history of Germany. Germany was usually a sideline of the history I was familiar with, except for the more well-known (and often infamous) cases of WW I, Hitler, the Nazis, WW II, the the Holocaust, divided Germany, and the fall of the Berlin wall. This book gave a ...more
Tyler Goble
Sep 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I only had to read the first 154 pages of this book for my German History class and to be honest, I would give it 3 stars or lower if it was so well-researched. The prose for most of this book is very slow and even verges on dismal at times. I realize that German history, especially early German history, is very complicated but this book doesn't nothing to strip all of it down to where you can digest the material. Instead you have page-long paragraphs with so much detail that you often turn the ...more
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
I was very disappointed in this book. Given the fact that I'm about 75% German, I know my fair share of 'modern history' so to speak; in middle and high school I devoured every book about WWII and the Holocaust that I could and would consider myself an expert in that area. But now when I wanted to learn more about medieval Germany, this book gave me a paltry 13 pages. Definitely not enough, considering how much was devoted to 1900-onward. If, like me, the medieval period in Germany is what ...more
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: research, favorites
The book definitely lives up to its name: Everything is summed up concisely chapter by chapter about the history of Germany and its people since the dark ages through 1990s. Perhaps the most excellent part about this book is that it does not dwell too long on "popular history" and instead takes a lot of interesting paths and explores a lot of different views on historical events; all this while remaining professionally unbiased.
Arjun Mishra
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Informative, concise, and riveting. My caveat is that the section on the GDR is very biased as a result of Fulbrook's belief that everyday life in East Germany was normal. I disagree and that bias permeates the section.
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
This is a concise history of Germany, & the operative word is "concise" - so concise that if you don't already know the material, you probably won't get it from this book. I did understand the 30 Years' War better after reading about it here.
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Mary Jean Alexandra Fulbrook (née Wilson) is a British academic, historian and author. Since 1995, she has been Professor of German History at University College London. She is a noted researcher in a wide range of fields, including religion and society in early modern Europe, the German dictatorships of the twentieth century, Europe after the Holocaust, and historiography and social theory.

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