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Capsule Review

Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichröder, and the Building of the German Empire

In This Review

Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichröder, and the Building of the German Empire

Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichröder, and the Building of the German Empire
By Fritz Stern
Knopf, 1977, 620 pp. Purchase

Based on years of research, chiefly in widely separated private collections, this book gives flesh to a neglected dimension: private money and our understanding of Bismarck's policy and the Prussian society of the period. The second theme concerns Bleichröder the Jew, at first epitomizing the gains briefly possible for Jews in mid-nineteenth century Germany, but in the end caught up (despite his own fervent conservatism and patriotism) in the tide of anti-Semitism that swept the Right from the 1870s onward. Professor Stern's treatment of both themes is masterly, and the book at least a minor classic.

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