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The Trouble with Publishers

Fritz Stern, 19 September 1996

The Nietzsche Canon: A Publication History and Bibliography 
by William Schaberg.
Chicago, 297 pp., £29.95, March 1996, 0 226 73575 3
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... Another book on Nietzsche – to add to the thousands that already attest his towering presence in our world. But this one is different. It restricts itself to one central theme, Nietzsche as author, and to the history of the 56 works and compositions that he prepared for publication. We are told how and when and with whom these books, pamphlets and musical scores were published, according to what plans and instructions, with what covers, what quality of paper, what price, what fate ...

Bitter as never before

David Blackbourn: Einstein, 3 February 2000

Einstein's German World 
by Fritz Stern.
Princeton, 335 pp., £15.95, October 1999, 9780691059396
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... On Einstein’s 50th birthday in 1929, the chemist Fritz Haber wrote to him: ‘In a few centuries the common man will know our time as the period of the World War, but the educated man will connect the first quarter of the century with your name.’ This salute from one German-Jewish Nobel laureate to another was written six months before the Wall Street Crash helped to make National Socialism a mass movement, and it introduces some of Fritz Stern’s central themes ...

Lectures about Heaven

Thomas Laqueur: Forgiving Germany, 7 June 2007

Five Germanys I Have Known 
by Fritz Stern.
Farrar, Straus, 560 pp., £11.25, July 2007, 978 0 374 53086 0
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... 180-metre long, obstacle and horror-filled space makes clear the tragedy of their error. Fritz Stern also begins with a room. In 1979, he returned to his hometown, Breslau, now Polish Wroclaw, for the first time since 1938. He wrote about this ‘homecoming’ for his children not long afterwards, and now uses that private account as a public ...

Tod aus Luft

Steven Shapin: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, 26 January 2006

Between Genius and Genocide: The Tragedy of Fritz Haber, Father of Chemical Warfare 
by Daniel Charles.
Cape, 313 pp., £20, September 2005, 0 224 06444 4
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... pressure, a catalyst and the design of the reaction vessel. In 1909, the academic physical chemist Fritz Haber and the industrial metallurgical engineer Carl Bosch succeeded in doing this, and they patented the process the following year. Within four years, the process had become commercial, the foundation of a huge German-dominated industry centred on ammonia ...


Peter Clarke: True or False?, 16 August 1990

... to be the strongest currency, because of their habits.’ Now who said that? Was it Professor Fritz Stern, with a streetwise perspective which made it worth flying him in from JFK? Was it Professor Gordon Craig, proving yet again that you can always tell a Harvard man but you can’t tell him much? Was it the measured judgment of Lord Dacre? Was it ...

The First Calamity

Christopher Clark: July, 1914, 29 August 2013

The War That Ended Peace 
by Margaret MacMillan.
Profile, 656 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 1 84668 272 8
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July 1914: Countdown to War 
by Sean McMeekin.
Icon, 461 pp., £25, July 2013, 978 1 84831 593 8
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... of Italian Fascism, the Nazi seizure of power or the Holocaust. It was, as the historian Fritz Stern put it, ‘the first calamity of the 20th century, the calamity from which all other calamities sprang’. It is hard to imagine a worse initial condition for the modern era of which we are the inheritors. A second reason is the exceptionally ...

‘Famous for its Sausages’

David Blackbourn, 2 January 1997

The Politics of the Unpolitical: German Writers and the Problem of Power, 1770-1871 
by Gordon A. Craig.
Oxford, 190 pp., £22.50, July 1995, 0 19 509499 9
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... naive, unworldly German intellectuals from the Enlightenment onwards. One of the most respected, Fritz Stern, coined the phrase ‘vulgar idealism’ to describe this cast of mind in the decades after unification, and wrote an influential essay on ‘the political consequences of the unpolitical German’. All this sounds intuitively plausible, but does ...

Bush’s Useful Idiots

Tony Judt: Whatever happened to American liberalism?, 21 September 2006

... Israel’s brutal over-reaction risks turning Lebanon into Iraq. In Five Germanys I Have Known, Fritz Stern – a coauthor of the 1988 New York Times text defending liberalism – writes of his concern about the condition of the liberal spirit in America today.3 It is with the extinction of that spirit, he notes, that the death of a republic ...

Dubious Relations

Sander Gilman, 20 June 1985

The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess: 1887-1904 
edited by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson.
Harvard, 505 pp., £19.95, May 1985, 0 674 15420 7
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... to their cultural context. A great deal of research has been done in this area by such scholars as Fritz Stern, Carl Schorske, William McGrath and George Mosse and it is a pity that Masson makes no reference to it. It is useful to have a new, augmented text of the letters, but it would have been even more useful had it contained some intellectual meat ...

Drowned in Eau de Vie

Modris Eksteins: New, Fast and Modern, 21 February 2008

Modernism: The Lure of Heresy from Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond 
by Peter Gay.
Heinemann, 610 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 434 01044 8
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... and on to Hitler. Gay, along with other German émigré historians, such as George Mosse and Fritz Stern, helped change all that by pointing to the variegated hue and social implications of cultural symbols. He was fond of describing his effort as the social history of ideas. Born in Berlin in 1923, fortunate emigrant to the United States in the ...

Fiction and the Poverty of Theory

John Sutherland, 20 November 1986

News from Nowhere 
by David Caute.
Hamish Hamilton, 403 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 241 11920 0
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by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 469 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 241 11948 0
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Ticket to Ride 
by Dennis Potter.
Faber, 202 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 9780571145232
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... old (sentimental) socialism and the new (hard) left. The hero of News from Nowhere, Richard Stern, updates Caute’s earlier hero, middle-aged, middle-of-the-ideological-road Steven Bright, the fortyish academic trapped between two eras whose crack-up was portrayed in The Demonstration (1970) and The Occupation (1971). The formal advantage of the novel ...


Peter Wollen: Tank by Patrick Wright, 16 November 2000

Tank: The Progress of a Monstrous War Machine 
by Patrick Wright.
Faber, 499 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 571 19259 9
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... Committee was to be chaired by Tennyson d’Eyncourt, a submarine expert. Its secretary was Albert Stern, a banker in civilian life. By the end of summer there was general agreement that without caterpillar tracks there would be no tank. The Holt proved unsuitable, but – by a great stroke of good luck – Commander Briggs, a Navy man, happened to go into ...

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