Sovereignty of the Self

…and was not very nice to King Ludwig II of Bavaria

tomsbooks

Bismarck

Jonathan Steinberg, Bismarck: A Life

 

            In “Bismarck: A Life,” Jonathan Steinberg has produced a masterful biography of a mercurial figure, Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck, almost certainly the most important diplomatic figure of the second half of the 19th century.  Steinberg shows how Bismarck went from a “shallow country squire” (p.2) to the man who, between 1862 and 1890, unified the disparate German kingdoms, duchies and fiefdoms into the most powerful country on the European continent.  In stitching together modern Germany, Bismarck put the pieces in place for the new powerhouse to lead Europe into two murderous 20th century wars, then transform itself late in the century into what Timothy Garton Ash recently termed “about as solid a liberal bourgeois democracy as you can find on earth. . . civilized, free, prosperous, law abiding, moderate and cautious” (“The New German Question,” New York Review of Books…

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