These first volumes of Prince Bülow's long awaited memoirs cover the period from the beginning of his activity as Minister for foreign affairs in 1897 to the end of his chancellorship in 1909. The period in general and German policy during it in particular have been the subject of heated discussion in Germany for some time, and it is to be expected that these recollections will stimulate rather than settle the argument. These years were unquestionably the most crucial in the development of the international situation before the war, for they were the years of the formation of the Triple Entente and the evolution of the Anglo-German tension. Quite apart from the new factual material supplied by these volumes, they are especially valuable for the light they throw upon Bülow's character and upon his methods of work. There can no longer be the slightest doubt that personal relations played an inordinate part in the conduct of German foreign policy, and that Bülow was more intent on the problem of dealing satisfactorily with the Emperor than upon any other one thing. It is well known that he was unusually successful in this respect until the final debacle of the Daily Telegraph interview, but one is forced more and more, after perusing these volumes, to the conclusion that Bülow's influence was, on the whole, detrimental. In his efforts to be agreeable to the Emperor he encouraged him, frequently with unfortunate results. Bülow himself was clever rather than profound. He lacked the directness of purpose and the psychological understanding of a Bismarck, and was all too much inclined to content himself with superficial successes, instead of attempting to get at the root of a matter.