The history of modern Germany — within four walls

This is a book about boundaries — and relationships. At its heart is the eponymous house by the lake, which…

Hitler with the Goebbels family in the late 1930s

Joseph Goebbels: Hitler’s ‘little doctor’ was devoted unto death

It is ironic that this weighty biography of Hitler’s evil genius of a propaganda minister is published on the day…

The Seagram Building, Park Avenue, New York

The man who gave the world (but not London) the glass skyscraper

Modern Architecture, capitalised thus, is now securely and uncontroversially compartmentalised into art history, its bombast muted, its hard-edge revolutions blurred…


Who are the losers now?

The second world war was the most destructive conflict in human history, but the victors have fared worse than the vanquished, says Paul Johnson

Charming, cold-eyed cosmopolitan

At last a diary as penetrating on Berlin as the Goncourt brothers’ on Paris has been translated into English. The…

Anglo-Saxon divide

Philip Oltermann has set himself an almost impossibly ambitious task. In 1996, when he was 15 years old, he moved…


What was it like at the time?

At midday on Thursday, 8 June 1933 — Erik Larson is very keen on his times — the newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a call put through to the history department at the University of Chicago.


Goodbye to Berlin

Peter Parker is beguiled by a novel approach to the lives of Europe’s intellectual elite in flight from Nazi Germany

A conflict of loyalty

What was life like in Hitler’s Germany? This question has long fascinated authors and readers alike, as books like Alone in Berlin, The Boy with the Striped Pyjamas and The Book Thief bear witness.

Pastures new

On 20 September 1949, five days after his election as Chancellor of the newly created German Federal Republic, Konrad Adenauer addressed the Bundestag: ‘Much unhappiness and much damage’, he told the deputies, ‘has been caused by denazification .


Land of poets and thinkers

The reason Peter Watson gives for writing this long intellectual history of Germany since 1750 is a convincing one: that British obsession with Nazism has blinded many British people to the achievements of German culture.

What we did to them . . .

The perception of war changes, remarked the poet Robert Graves, when ‘your Aunt Fanny, the firewatcher, is as likely to be killed as a soldier in battle’.


Blow-out in Berlin

D. B. C. Pierre’s Vernon God Little was an unusual Man Booker winner (2003).


The threat of holy war

John Buchan’s Greenmantle remains a marvellous read, even if its plot is absurd.


The sound of eternity

The Ninth is not necessarily Beethoven’s greatest symphony.


An affable tour guide

In mentioning Hein- rich the Fowler, 10th-century King of the Germans and one of the many obscure figures who appears in his book, Simon Winder describes a painting in the Hall of Electors in Frankfurt.