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Walther Rathenau [electronic resource] : the life of Weimar's fallen statesman /
Shulamit Volkov.
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, c2012.
description
ix, 240 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
9780300144314 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
series title
imprint
New Haven : Yale University Press, c2012.
isbn
9780300144314 (cloth : alk. paper)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
contents note
A German Jew in the making -- A man of many talents -- Incursions into politics -- Captain of industry, literary star, lonely man -- Hitting the glass ceiling -- Politician manqué, prophet with a vengeance -- Fulfillment and catastrophe.
catalogue key
11955181
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 211-229) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2011-11-14:
Imagine that Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, were also an influential public philosopher who published numerous books on society and political affairs and you will begin to get a sense of Walther Rathenau (1867-1922). The longtime head of AEG, the German counterpart to GE, he was briefly Germany's foreign minister before being murdered by fascist anti-Semites. In this entry in Yale's Jewish Lives series, historian Volkov, professor emerita at Tel Aviv University, is, appropriately, particularly interesting on Rathenau's Jewishness. He declared his identity outright in Germany's increasingly hostile atmosphere and, unlike many ambitious German Jews, refused to convert. Yet he internalized some of the worst anti-Semitic stereotypes, writing of the "medieval qualities" of the Jewish proletariat. Volkov also examines the nuances and contradictions of Rathenau's writings. Here was one of Germany's leading industrialists yet he wrote critically of the "mechanization" of modern life. Volkov captures especially well the socially awkward and often lonely man who never married and may have been gay (an issue she judiciously never resolves). Volkov's well-researched and written book has a few of the gaps and flaws of a short biography, but it has far more strengths as a fascinating introduction to an important, multifaceted early 20th-century figure. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An illuminating, thoroughly researched and sympathetic account of this intriguing, enigmatic life."Ian Brunskill, Wall Street Journal
"Incisive and probing."Martin Rubin, Washington Times
"In this remarkable biograph
"In this remarkable biography, Shulamit Volkov offers a subtle analysis of Walther Rathenau''s complex and often ambiguous personality. She describes admirably how Rathenau''s always-reaffirmed Jewishness increasingly became a target for the antisemitic elites of Imperial Germany and, notwithstanding his outstanding services to Germany, an object of fanatical hatred for the extreme Right under Weimar, which led to his assassination. Shulamit Volkov''s book is history at its best."Saul Friedlander, author of the Pulitzer Prizewinning Nazi Germany and the Jews
"This is by far the best and most sophisticated life of Rathenau in English."-Richard J. Evans, London Review of Books
"This is by far the best and most sophisticated life of Rathenau in English."Richard J. Evans, London Review of Books
"Volkov's scholarship illuminates many sides of Rathenau's personality. Her discussion of Rathenau's Jewishness is informed, often moving, and absorbing as both personal and social history."A. J. Sherman, Associate Fellow, St. Antony's College, Oxford
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, November 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This deeply informed biography of Walther Rathenau (1867-1922) tells of a man who - both thoroughly German and unabashedly Jewish - rose to leadership in the German War-Ministry Department during the First World War, and later to the exalted position of foreign minister in the early days of the Weimar Republic.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This deeply informed biography of Walther Rathenau (1867-1922) tells of a man who - both thoroughly German and unabashedly Jewish - rose to leadership in the German War Ministry during the First World War, and later to the exalted position of foreign minister in the early days of the Weimar Republic.
Main Description
Rathenau's murder was intended by his assassins to be yet another step in undermining the hated republic, creating chaos that would lead to a bloody elimination of its unworthy supporters. Killing him, while at the height of his career and in Berlin, the center of the republic's political life, meant an "upgrading" of their prior terrorist activities. And as a Jew, he was a particularly appropriate target for the perpetrators and their sympathizers. He was certainly a convenient target: indifferent to danger, unprotected, constantly on the move. But even the assassins could not have imagined the extent of the reaction to their deed. Book jacket.
Main Description
This deeply informed biography of Walther Rathenau (18671922) tells of a man whoboth thoroughly German and unabashedly Jewishrose to leadership in the German War-Ministry Department during the First World War, and later to the exalted position of foreign minister in the early days of the Weimar Republic. His achievement was unprecedentedno Jew in Germany had ever attained such high political rank. But Rathenau's success was marked by tragedy: within months he was assassinated by right-wing extremists seeking to destroy the newly formed Republic. Drawing on Rathenau's papers and on a depth of knowledge of both modern German and German-Jewish history, Shulamit Volkov creates a finely drawn portrait of this complex man who struggled with his Jewish identity and who treasured his "otherness." Volkov also places Rathenau in the dual context of Weimar Germany and of Berlin's financial and intellectual elite. Above all, she illuminates the complex social and psychological milieu of German Jewry in the period before Hitler's rise to power.
Main Description
This deeply informed biography of Walther Rathenau (18671922) tells of a man whoboth thoroughly German and unabashedly Jewishrose to leadership in the German War-Ministry Department during the First World War, and later to the exalted position of foreign minister in the early days of the Weimar Republic. His achievement was unprecedentedno Jew in Germany had ever attained such high political rank. But Rathenau's success was marked by tragedy: within months he was assassinated by right-wing extremists seeking to destroy the newly formed Republic. Drawing on Rathenau's papers and on a depth of knowledge of both modern German and German-Jewish history, Shulamit Volkov creates a finely drawn portrait of this complex man who struggled with his Jewish identity yet treasured his "otherness." Volkov also places Rathenau in the dual context of Weimar Germany and of Berlin's financial and intellectual elite. Above all, she illuminates the complex social and psychological milieu of German Jewry in the period before Hitler's rise to power.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. vii
A German Jew in the Makingp. 1
A Man of Many Talentsp. 25
Incursions into Politicsp. 54
Captain of Industry, Literary Star, Lonely Manp. 81
Hitting the Glass Ceilingp. 115
Politician Manqué, Prophet with a Vengeancep. 146
Fulfillment and Catastrophep. 173
Indexp. 231
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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