Adenauer: The Father of the New Germany

Adenauer: The Father of the New Germany

Adenauer: The Father of the New Germany

Adenauer: The Father of the New Germany

Synopsis

Critical Acclaim for ADENAUER "A gripping narrative . . . brings to life an intriguing historical figure . . . an enthralling perspective on the processes that shaped the postwar world." --Daily Telegraph (London) "Charts the ironies of Adenauer's complicated life. This is the story of a marathon man, but it is narrated at the pace of a sprinter and with the elegance of a hurdler."--The Times (London) "Lucid and engaging. This is a well-researched and elegantly written volume which deserves a wider readership than the purely political."--The Herald (Glasgow) "A highly readable, thoroughly reliable, intelligently critical life-and-times. . . . This portrait does justice to a man who is often invoked as a prophet of a United States of Europe, but who was in truth the greatest of German patriots."--Literary Review (London) "Well-researched and admirably written . . . reveals Adenauer the man--with all his authority and strength, his persistence and endurance, and his streak of ruthlessness and political cunning."--The Independent (London) THE LAST GREAT FRENCHMAN "Knowledgeable, lucid . . . the best English biography of de Gaulle."--The New York Times Book Review "Charles Williams has matched a great subject by something near to a great book."--Daily Telegraph (London)

Excerpt

The story of Adenauer's life can best be seen as three stories in one. The first is the story of a homeland: the land of the Rhine, that ambiguous and mythic river which — like Adenauer's own life — rises in obscurity, gains strength and momentum in its course, but ends in doubt and confusion. The second is the story of the emergence of a fourth Germany out of the shipwreck of the three earlier Germanies through which he lived. The third is the story of a man who lived a full and occasionally dangerous life, who was disliked by many for his complex and difficult character but who, at the end of his biblical span, summoned the energy and ambition to bring his country back into the civilised world from what seemed to be permanent ostracism and into a new Europe based on the recognition of individual freedom, tolerance and, above all, democracy.

The passage of years and the onward march of events provide another peg on which to hang the triple story. The collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent reunification of Germany have brought to light new sources of information from the former Soviet Union and its satellites. Moreover, distance lends its own perspective. It may now be possible to put Adenauer's whole life, with its three stories merging into one, into the context of history. That he can legitimately be called a great leader is no longer in doubt; but who this difficult man was and why the accolade of greatness seems appropriate needs to be explored and examined. This I have attempted to do in this book.

Pant-y-Rhiw April 2000 . . .

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