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Distributed for Haus Publishing

Reluctant Meister

How Germany’s Past is Shaping Its European Future

Distributed for Haus Publishing

Reluctant Meister

How Germany’s Past is Shaping Its European Future

The Euro crisis has served as a stark reminder of the fundamental importance of Germany to the larger European project. But the image of Germany as the dominant power in Europe is at odds with much of its recent history. Reluctant Meister is a wide-ranging study of Germany from the Holy Roman Empire through the Second and Third Reichs, and it asks not only how such a mature and developed culture could have descended into the barbarism of Nazism but how it then rebuilt itself within a generation to become an economic powerhouse. Perhaps most important, Stephen Green examines to what extent Germany will come to dominate its relationship with its neighbors in the European Union, and what that will mean.

352 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 3/4 | © 2014

History: European History

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“The best book of 2014 was Reluctant Meister, Stephen Green’s superb analysis of German history and culture. . . . [The German] example is a lesson to the world, for good and for ill. Anyone who wants to understand that lesson should read Stephen Green’s book.”

Globe and Mail

“For Stephen Green, Germany’s greatest achievement has been in coming to terms with its history. ‘The process of confrontation has been neither easy nor quick,’ he says. ‘There are many who have gone to their graves without being honest to themselves about their sins of omission and commission. But for all its imperfections, this atonement has been more thoroughgoing than in most other countries where human evil has been rampant within living memory.’ It would be hard to put it better.”

Financial Times

"The miracle, as Lord Green rightly points out, is that from this state of total collapse, Germany ... rose again to become a country with model democratic institutions and a highly successful economy."


“Green traces the relationship between Germany and Europe over 2,000 years, from the Germanic tribes’ victory over the Romans to the Bundesrepublik’s cautious response to Ukraine. He guides us deftly though politics and poetry, theology, and economics to allow the reader to understand how Germany—the reticent giant—sees itself and its role in the Europe of tomorrow. This is the history that is now shaping our continent: Green is the ideal person to help us understand it.”

Neil MacGregor, author of A History of the World in 100 Objects and Germany: The Memories of a Nation

Table of Contents


1. Springtime in Berlin

2. Tears for my Country

3. That Cursed Duty

4. The Awakening of Germania

5. Dem Deutschen Volke

6. Memories, Dreams and Nightmares

7. The Pact with the Devil

8. Remnants, Renewal, Redemption, Reconciliation

9. Confronting the Ghosts of Germany Past

10. The Reluctant Leader of the New Europe

11. Transfiguration and Apotheosis?


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