The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust, And German National Identity

In This Review

The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust, And German National Identity

By Charles S. Maier
Harvard University Press, 1988
227 pp.
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The continuing debate about the German past, the various attempts to interpret, relativize or distort it, remains a seismograph of Germany's political culture. Maier, a Harvard historian, sets the recent debate about the past among German scholars and publicists in an admirably comprehensive context, beginning with what he calls "Bitburg history," President Reagan's complicity in establishing a murky mixture of amnesia and denial. Maier explicates a debate that in itself had deeper political significance than intellectual distinction. A judicious and suggestive work, of value not only to historians and Germanists but to anyone concerned with issues of national memory and identity.

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