Cover image for Germany : the empire within
Germany : the empire within
Shlaes, Amity.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1991.
Physical Description:
264 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DD257 .S47 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
DD257 .S47 1991 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Two accounts of the people whose lives will be molded by national reunification supplement Gunter Grass' more philosophical discussion of the new Germany in Two States, One Nation? Against the Unenlightened Clamoring for a Reunified Germany (HBJ, 1990). Indeed, Grass' warnings are borne out in the early returns as Borneman and Shlaes assess the first effects of this political transformation. Borneman focuses on the once-divided city of Berlin, particularly on the lives of East Berliners who will be most affected by the social and economic changes in the wake of the wall's destruction. An anthropologist who had been doing research on the divided population of the city, Borneman was in a good position to record the changes during the political revolution in 1989. Despite the initial euphoria broadcast by the media, the author's interviews suggest a sense of the harder realities as a new society attempts to arise from the dissolution of the old order. Whether what has been lost will eventually be replaced with something better is the question that troubles the minds of Berliners, suggesting widespread disillusionment as socialism gives way to democracy. Shlaes, a European correspondent for the Wall Street Journal until 1990, offers a broader examination of what the future may hold for the German nation and the German people. With a rebirth of national identity in store, Shlaes covers events and personalities in both West and East Germany from the past decade and suggests how these may mold a new national character. More cautiously optimistic than Grass and not as narrowly concentrated as Borneman, Shlaes in her report mixes the good and bad news as she surveys Germany's past, present, and future. --John Brosnahan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Is the newly reunified Germany--a country with no strong traditions of either democracy or freedom--a sleeping dragon? For Shlaes, an American Jew and a European correspondent for the Wall Street Journal , the answer is an uneasy no, although she perceives a deeply entrenched, often unacknowledged nationalism and a widespread sense of the kinship of German blood. In this impressionistic travelogue, she seeks out such ``odd groups'' as hip urban drifters, career soldiers, self-important Bavarians, aristocrats committed to politics or civic do-gooding, and disillusioned Silesians and Sudeten Germans whose families were forced to evacuate Eastern or Central Europe at the end of WW II. At a Jewish school in Berlin, she meets anxious Jews (many of them immigrants from the Soviet Union) surrounded by constant reminders of the Holocaust. Shlaes's meticulous reporting lends force to her telling observations. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Wall Street Journal correspondent Shlaes contributes interesting insights into various facets of the German psyche as the ``Volk'' confront the uncertainties of reunification. Obviously well-versed in things Teutonic, she examines different social aspects that will shape and explain the new nation: the recent and historical ``aussiedler'' (settlers) from Eastern Europe; the politics of music in Bavaria; the contemporary status of German nobility; a private Jewish school in Berlin; and the unification of a once-divided city. Exhibiting considerable sympathy, she manages to make understandable a great deal of the nation's postwar behavior. She is at her best when dealing with the West German reaction to those coming in from the East, pointing out that Germans, commonly considered cold and aloof, feel a real warmth and sense of responsibility for the emigres. Her acute observations on a people once again thrust into a position of primacy on the European continent make this a good choice for public and academic libraries.-- Norman Lederer, Stevens State Sch. of Technology, Lancaster, Pa. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.