28. Paradigms of Political Change. Luther, Frederick II, and Bismarck. The GDR on Its Way to German Unity, by Jan Herman Brinks. ISBN 0-87462-680-3. ©2001. Paperbound. Index. 355 pp. $35

“I am very pleased that Jan Herman Brinks’s book of historical studies in the German Democratic Republic, which first appeared in German in 1992, will now be available to the English reader. Brinks’s book was very timely when it appeared only two years after the collapse of the GDR. Written before 1989, when he was stationed in East Berlin with Dutch television and utilized his stay there to write this book as a dissertation for the University of Groningen, it showed how GDR party and historians had sought to reinterpret German history to legitimize their socialist dictatorship and in the process had manipulated history.

“Although the focus of the book is on the ways in which GDR historians have interpreted and reinterpreted three key figures, Luther, Frederick II (!), and Bismarck, from the perspective of their place in German nation building, the translation offers in fact the only up to date history of historiography in the GDR in English. Brinks is to be thanked for having reconstructed the convoluted history of historical writing and myth building in an authoritarian regime which betrayed its own ideals.” — Georg G. Iggers




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