Essays on German History and Historians

James J. Sheehan

This volume contains essays that examine two aspects of the “German question”: first, the historical roots and enduring significance of National Socialism that, eight decades after its collapse, still casts a shadow across Germany’s political and moral landscape; second, the problem of German national identity that had apparently been resolved by the formation of the Second Empire in 1871 but reappeared during the era of the Cold War. In addition to these essays on the German question, there are biographies of German historians and American historians of Germany whose lives and work illustrate the interplay of past and present that shapes our historical consciousness.

Praise for the book:

"Here are sixteen short and readable essays on classical German topics and influential historians who have dealt with them in the twentieth century. But the volume also explains why history matters and what it means to “live in history.” The essays are thoughtful and substantive, highly original and sometimes personal reflections resulting from the lifelong work of a master in the field—rewarding not only for readers interested in Germany.”
— Jürgen Kocka, Humboldt University, Berlin

"For the last half century, James Sheehan has been the most insightful, generous, and wide-ranging German historian at work in the United States. Thanks to his broad historical vision and his remarkable ability to identify and embrace the best in his colleagues and students, Sheehan has always recognized, long before the rest of us, where the next vital fields of inquiry lie, beyond ‘small’ Germany, for example, or beyond the nation-state itself. These essays are a vital record of the historical and historiographical wisdom, literary elegance, and humane judgment of this great scholar not just of modern European history, but of the human experience.”
—Suzanne Marchand, Louisiana State University

James J. Sheehan is Dickason Professor in the Humanities and Professor of History emeritus at Stanford University. He is the author of six books on German and European history; his most recent work, “Making a Modern Political Order: The Problem of the Nation State,” will appear in 2023. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Orden pour le Mérite. In 2005, he was president of the American Historical Association.

194 pages. 2022

Cloth ISBN 978-0-930664-33-6. $36.00
Paper ISBN 978-0-930664-34-3. $18.00
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