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  • Weimar Germany

  • Promise and Tragedy, Weimar Centennial Edition
  • By: Eric D. Weitz
  • Narrated by: Robert G. Slade
  • Length: 18 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Summary

This audiobook narrated by Robert G. Slade paints a riveting portrait of the Weimar era.

Weimar Germany brings to life an era of unmatched creativity in the 20th century - one whose influence and inspiration still resonate today. Eric Weitz has written the authoritative history that this fascinating and complex period deserves, and he illuminates the uniquely progressive achievements and even greater promise of the Weimar Republic. Weitz reveals how Germans rose from the turbulence and defeat of World War I and revolution to forge democratic institutions and make Berlin a world capital of avant-garde art. He explores the period’s groundbreaking cultural creativity, from architecture and theater, to the new field of "sexology" - and presents richly detailed portraits of some of the Weimar’s greatest figures. 

Weimar Germany also shows that beneath this glossy veneer lay political turmoil that ultimately led to the demise of the republic and the rise of the radical right. Yet for decades after, the Weimar period continued to powerfully influence contemporary art, urban design, and intellectual life - from Tokyo to Ankara and Brasilia to New York. Featuring a new preface, this comprehensive and compelling book demonstrates why Weimar is an example of all that is liberating and all that can go wrong in a democracy.

©2018 Eric D. Weitz (P)2020 Princeton University Press

Critic reviews

"[Weitz] bring[s] to bear his uncommon erudition and a prose style that is at once rigorous, wonderfully animated, and distinguished by breathtaking clarity." (Noah Isenberg, Bookforum)

"Weitz effortlessly blends politics and economics, philosophy and literature, art and architecture in a gripping portrait of a culture whose pathology was exceeded only by its creativity.... This is history at its best." (Josef Joffe, publisher and editor of Die Zeit and fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University) 

"Excellent.... [A] superb introduction...probably the best available." (Eric Hobsbawm, London Review of Books

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    4 out of 5 stars

A solid bit of cultural history

This book is like an updated version of Peter Gay's [[ASIN:B07RRSF63M Weimar Culture (1968)]], reading the political history alongside the social, cultural and artistic achievements to give the Weimar period a distinct character - Weitz even adds a 'bibliographic essay' of the kind Gay always included. As other reviewers not, the title is Weimar Germany but focus is very much on Berlin and the book really complements Jason Lutes' graphic novel [[ASIN:B07NGZTQCZ Berlin (2018)]]. There is nothing about the provinces (where I lived many years ago), but I didn't mind this - it did give the book extra focus.

Weitz is a clearly a fan of the republic - it was a time of change and creative friction between all sorts of different elements: tradition and modernity, rural immigrants and a dynamic urban metropolis, and so on. He champions those who seek to see such tensions as a spur for creativity. So, he gives a lot of space to the architect Bruno Taut, whose Berlin housing estates were the kind of thing that came to define Modernism - but Taut's housing was multicoloured and engaged with traditional forms, rather than being a dull white cube (the author is harsher about Gropius). The conclusion even reports on Taut's stay in Japan and his work in Turkey after the end of the Weimar Republic (to chart the export of Weimar ideas).

The author gave each chapter to a particular theme and picked out a couple of writers/architects/artists/films to explore in depth. I think this worked well. Obviously this means a million things get left out, but he is not producing a complete survey so much as making the point that the Weimar Republic provided a culture of creative friction that the best artistic works could exploit and transform. This is a message from that time to our own time of ever widening social divisions. He wants the 'centre to hold' - and he is angry at the way the political right exacerbated the tensions to kill the republic.

it was all very accessible and the Audible narrator did a great job.

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  • LMW
  • 13-03-21

A smug and disappointing read

I was interested in learning about the transition of the German people between Versailles and Hitler, but this book deals mostly with the art and architecture of the Weimar period, which was disappointing. The book has a condescending tone towards anything that does not see Weimar as a Utopia and is delivered on audiobook with a flippant dismissal towards the millions of German people with concerns about the fundamental changes that occurred after 1918. In some passages, you can actually hear the speaker roll his eyes at a political stance or argument. This book gave me promise, but reading it was a tragedy.

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  • Vinko
  • 25-10-20

An Amazing, Ultimate Guide to Weimar Germany 10/10

Weitz has written a truly unparoled guide to Weimar Germany. He extrapolates key lessons and ideas applicable to a wide range of society and politics that are expertly argued. One of my biggest takeaways is that the insight provided by Weitz is greatly applicable and could serve as a warning to the reader about the chaotic and divided nature of the United States today.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-04-21

Ended up returning this one

Purchased this with a Credit thinking it was going to be a thorough history of the Weimar Republic era of German History. I expected the book to be more about the struggles of a fledgling democracy trying as it can to stand up under the weight of Versailles, international turmoil, economic strife and internal agitants. Instead, it was largely a droning about the society, arts, architecture, etc., which while interesting to some is not interesting to me. I wanted history, instead I got sociology.

On a positive note, the narration is good. So there's that, at least...

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  • Will Georgiadis
  • 24-01-21

Very good

This is a great history of an often overshadowed period in German history. I would recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about the Weimar Republic. Also, the narrator was exceptional, I would definitely put him up there with Grover Gardner for best narrators.

1 person found this helpful