Book Recommendation – Germany: Memories of a Nation

I learned about Neil MacGregor when I saw his name in the History Book Club catalog.  Searching for his name in the local library did not bring me the same book, but I was intrigued by the title Germany: Memories of a Nation.  Reading the memoirs of Heros von Borcke, a famed Prussian cavalryman who served under Jeb Stuart, brought to my attention how little I knew of Germany’s history between Charlemagne and the Renaissance and between the Renaissance and World War II.  With the thought that this book would help fill in those gaps, I plunged into it.

One of the considerable problems with writing a history of Germany is that Germany only first existed as a state in 1871 when Otto von Bismarck brought about unification.  Prior to this point, the land we refer to today as Germany existed as a federation of states known as the Holy Roman Empire.  Though having a ruler, the Holy Roman Empire, the individual states often pursued their own political and economic goals.  How does one create anything like a comprehensive history such a loosely united principalities?

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