Sun, 25 April 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm BST

The Complete History of Germany (In One Hour)

James Hawes

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Historian and novelist James Hawes tells the story of Europe’s most admired and feared country, from Julius Caesar to Angela Merkel.

Germany has been the epicentre of world events time and again: the Reformation, both World Wars, the fall of the Berlin Wall. It did not emerge as a modern nation until 1871–yet today, Germany is the world’s fourth-largest economy and a standard-bearer of liberal democracy.

In this illustrated talk drawn from his #1 international bestseller The Shortest History of Germany, James Hawes will whisk us through two thousand years of Germany history, making a fresh, concise and entertaining attempt to answer the question: are the Germans really us, or them?

He says: “There’s no point studying the past unless it sheds some light on the present… It is time, now more than ever, for us all to understand the real history of Germany.”

Praise for James Hawes’ The Shortest History of Germany:

‘Comprehensive and vivid… I don’t know of a better short history of this great country.’ – Philip Pullman

‘An excellent little book… [Hawes] knows what he’s on about and his conclusions are measured, but he favours clear, concise prose over dense academese. He has a sense of humour, and a sharp eye for similarities between then and now.’ – Spectator

‘Brexit and Trump have given this sweeping story of Germany’s struggles with its demons an urgent topicality. For as Hawes knows better than anyone, if there is a future for liberal democracy, it will be a German one’ – Nick Cohen

‘Yes, the Nazis are here, but so too is a history stretching from the Germanic tribes who took on the Roman Empire, right up to Chancellor Angela Merkel… Comprehensive, vivid, and entertaining… if you want to understand a country on which much of the free world is now pinning its hopes, you could do worse than start here.’ – Irish Examiner

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James Hawes

Novelist and historian

James Hawes has published six novels with Jonathan Cape. Speak for England (2005) predicted Brexit; it has been adapted for the screen by Andrew Davies, though not yet filmed. His previous book, The Shortest History of Germany, was the bestselling history title of 2018. He is currently working on a BBC documentary series about the history of British creativity, which will be broadcast in autumn 2021. Old Street will publish the accompanying book.