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The Search for Normality
National Identity and Historical Consciousness in Germany Since 1800
336 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-863-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (August 1997)
ISBN 978-1-57181-620-7 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (September 2003)
eISBN 978-1-78238-711-4 eBook
"This book presents an essential segment of contemporary history that so far has not been explored systematically ... [It is] based on a wide variety of sources and highly informative ... The exhaustive treatment results in a far more differentiated picture than has predominated so far." · IWK
"[The author] has succeeded in presenting a differentiated, rigorously argued and convincing study of the debates that have taken place in the academic and media worlds." · Archiv für Sozialgeschichte
"[The author's] lucid, well structured presentation offers non-German readers in particular a scholarly overview that still preserves the nuances of the subject." · German Studies Review
"Curious observers of Germany's never-ending quarrel with its past will find much to ponder in Berger's assessments." · Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"The author undoubtedly deserves a great deal of recognition ... The way in which he grasps all the diverse facets of his subject, yet pares his account down to the bare minimum is impressive." · Bulletin of the German Historical Institute London
"There is much useful material here for a book on the role of historians and historical debates on the political culture of the Federal Republic during the years immediately before and after unification ... [it is] of great value." · Journal of Central European History
"[The book] registers some important trends in recent historical debate, and does so with energy and insight." · Times Literary Supplement
"A detailed and valuable research on an impressive range of recent historical writing." · Jewish Chronicle
"... an invaluable guide to the political and ideological baggage carried by the standard works encountered by students on the library shelves." · Debatte. Review of Contemporary German Affairs
The Historikerstreit of the 1980s has ended inconclusively amidst heated debates on the nature and course of German national history. The author follows the debates beyond the unexpected reunification of the country in 1990 and analyzes the most recent trends in German historiography. Reunification, he observes, has brought in its wake an urgent search for the "normality" of the nation state. For anyone interested in the development of the national master narrative in more recent German historiography, this book will provide an essential guide through the multitude of historical debates surrounding the nation state.
Stefan Berger is Professor of Modern German and Comparative European History at the University of Manchester, where he is also Director of the Jean-Monnet-Centre of Excellence. Between 2003 and 2008 he directed the European Science Foundation Programme on 'Representations of the Past. The Writing of National Histories in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Europe (NHIST) He has published widely in the areas of historiography, national identity and labour history.