George L. Mosse Series in the History of European Culture, Sexuality, and Ideas
Mosse Series Advisors:
Steven Aschheim, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Ofer Ashkenazi, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Annette Becker, Université Paris X-Nanterre
Skye Doney, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dagmar Herzog, City University of New York
Ethan Katz, University of California, Berkeley
Renato Moro, Università degli Studi Roma Tre
Anson Rabinbach, Princeton University
Mary Louise Roberts, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Joan Wallach Scott, Institute for Advanced Study
Moshe Sluhovsky, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
David Sorkin, Yale University
Anthony J. Steinhoff, Université du Québec à Montréal
John Tortorice, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Till van Rahden, Université de Montréal
The Mosse Press Series promotes the vibrant international collaboration and community that historian George L. Mosse created during his lifetime by publishing major innovative works by outstanding scholars in European cultural and intellectual history. The Mosse Series publishes in three categories:
- Books in the English language based on the biennial Mosse Lectures given by a noted scholar chosen by the Mosse Committees in Madison and Jerusalem.
- Outstanding original English-language manuscripts in European cultural and intellectual history, selected by the Mosse Series Advisory Board and a representative of the UW Press.
- English translations of books in European cultural and intellectual history. The Mosse Press Series does not provide translation grants or subventions. The Mosse Series Advisory Board must approve both the selection of a translated book for the Series and the quality of the translation.
Die Mosse Press Series ermöglicht die Publikation herausragender und innovativer Arbeiten zur Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte und fördert so die lebhafte internationale Zusammenarbeit und Gemeinschaft, die der Historiker George L. Mosse zu Lebzeiten schuf. Die Buchreihe publiziert Arbeiten aus drei Kategorien:
- Englischsprachige Bücher, die auf den alle zwei Jahre stattfindenden Mosse Lectures basieren. Diese Vorlesungen werden von renommierten WissenschaftlerInnen gehalten, die von den Mosse-Kommittees in Madison und Jerusalem ausgewählt werden.
- Herausragende englischsprachige Originalmanuskripte zur europäischen Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte, ausgewählt vom Herausgeberkommittee der Mosse Series sowie einem Repräsentanten der UW Press.
- Englische Übersetzungen von Büchern zur europäischen Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte. Die Mosse Press Series gewährt keine Übersetzungszuschüsse. Das Herausgeberkommittee der Mosse Series muss sowohl die Aufnahme eines übersetzten Buches in die Reihe genehmigen als auch die Qualität der Übersetzung bestätigen.
Mosse Series News
New Mosse First Book Prize Honors Work of George L. Mosse
- Proposals accepted between January 15 – May 15, 2021
- Winning author will receive a $5,000.00 prize and will be published in the George L. Mosse Series in the History of European Culture, Sexuality, and Ideas
- Submission guidelines are available here
Watch Skye Doney discuss Eva Noack-Mosse’s Theresienstadt memoir Last Days of Theresienstadt with Professor Terrence Peterson.
Read about our new online course and the Collected Works of George L. Mosse, “New course, book series bring the words of George L. Mosse into contemporary discussions” on The Lifelong Learner blog.
Read the University of Wisconsin Press story about the new Mosse Series title.
Read Professor Dagmar Herzog describe her work Unlearning Eugenics on the SSRCInsights page, “Debating Abortion and Disability Rights: The Lasting Impact of Nazi Eugenics.”
Read the H-Diplo Roundtable on Dagmar Herzog’s Unlearning Eugenics: Sexuality, Reproduction, and Disability in Post-Nazi Europe.
Collected Works of George L. Mosse
George L. Mosse, The Crisis of German Ideology: Intellectual Origins of the Third Reich (2021)
Critical Introduction by Steven Aschheim
This new edition revisits the renowned historian George L. Mosse's landmark work exploring the ideological foundations of Nazism in Germany. First published in 1964, The Crisis of German Ideology was among the first to examine the intellectual origins of the Third Reich. Mosse introduced readers to what is known as the völkisch ideal—the belief that the German people were united through a transcendental essence. This mindset led to the exclusion of Jews and other groups, eventually allowing Nazi leaders to take their beliefs to catastrophic extremes. The critical introduction by Steven E. Aschheim, the author of Beyond the Border: The German-Jewish Legacy Abroad and many other books, brings Mosse's work into the present moment.
"Mosse has convincingly depicted the combination of the racist idea with nationalism, theosophy, social reform, the youth movement, and agrarianism and their tie to the politics of the Right in Germany...[he] has dredged through the cultural muck of völkisch literature and produced an invaluable guide for any future explorations in this field."
- Journal of Modern History
George L. Mosse, The Fascist Revolution: Toward a General Theory of Fascism (forthcoming, fall 2021)
Critical Introduction by Roger Griffin
The Fascist Revolution is the culmination of George L. Mosse’s groundbreaking work on fascism. Originally published posthumously in 1999, the volume covers a broad spectrum of topics related to cultural interpretations of fascism from its origins through the twentieth century. In a series of magisterial turns, Mosse examines fascism’s role in the French Revolution, its relationship with nationalism and racism, its use by intellectuals to foment insurrection, and more as a means to define and understand it as a popular phenomenon on its own terms. This new edition features a critical introduction by Roger Griffin, professor emeritus of modern history at Oxford Brookes University, contextualizing Mosse’s research as fascism makes a global resurgence.
"whatever the differences of approach or interpretation, all those writing on fascism and Nazism today owe this great historian, who was also a warm and generous man, a debt that only increases with the passing of time."
- American Historical Review
George L. Mosse, Nationalism and Sexuality: Middle-Class Morality and Sexual Norms in Modern Europe (2020)
Critical Introduction by Mary Louise Roberts
This landmark work by George L. Mosse, first published in 1985, examines the history of sexuality through the lens of bourgeois respectability and nationalism. Using a daring breadth of German and English sources, Nationalism and Sexuality pioneered the use of gender stereotypes as a methodology for studying the history of sexuality in mainstream European history. Mosse’s innovative inquiries on gender remain central to discussions about modern constructions of national belonging and the workings of the state. This edition of Mosse’s classic volume includes a new critical introduction by Mary Louise Roberts, whose books include What Soldiers Do: Sex and the American GI in World War II France.
“Insights abound in this remarkable book. . . . It is not an easy task to discuss and integrate nationalism, racism, fascism, homosexuality, and stereotypes of respectability simultaneously, but Mosse has succeeded admirably.”
- American Journal of Sociology
George L. Mosse, Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism (2020)
Critical Introduction by Christopher Browning
Originally published in 1978, Toward the Final Solution was one of the first in-depth studies of the evolution of racism in Europe, from the Age of Enlightenment through the Holocaust and Hitler’s Final Solution. George L. Mosse details how antisemitism and dangerous prejudices have long existed in the European cultural tradition, revealing an appalling and complex history. With the global renewal of extreme, right-wing nationalism, this instrumental work remains as important as ever for understanding how bigotry impacts political, cultural, and intellectual life. This edition of Mosse’s classic book includes a new critical introduction by Christopher R. Browning, author of Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland.
“Mosse claims once again his place in modern historiography as the foremost explicator and demythologizer of ideas which have inflamed and energized men’s minds and worked irreversible evil in human history. . . . Mosse has produced a strikingly original work whose conceptual brilliance and analytic keenness will surely make it the indispensable work on European racism.”
Mosse Series titles:
Erica Moretti, The Best Weapon for Peace (July 2021)
The Italian educator and physician Maria Montessori (1870–1952) is best known for the teaching method that bears her name. She was also a lifelong pacifist, although historians tend to consider her writings on this topic as secondary to her pedagogy. In The Best Weapon for Peace, Erica Moretti reframes Montessori's pacifism as the foundation for her educational activism, emphasizing her vision of the classroom as a gateway to reshaping society. Montessori education offers a child-centered learning environment that cultivates students' development as peaceful, curious, and resilient adults opposed to war and invested in societal reform.
Lorenzo Benadusi, Respectability and Violence (August 2021)
In the aftermath of national unification in the 1860s, the Italian army was tasked with molding generations of men from warring regions and different social strata into obedient citizens of a centralized state. Integrating large numbers of the educated middle classes into the young kingdom’s armed forces proved decisive in establishing the army as the “main school” and backbone for mass nationalization. In Respectability and Violence Lorenzo Benadusi examines the intersection of Italian military and civil society over the last century as they coalesced in the figure of the gentleman-officer—an idealized image of an altruistic, charming, and competent ruling class that could influence the choices, values, and behavior of the “new Italians.”
George L. Mosse, Confronting History: A Memoir (2000)
Confronting History describes Mosse’s opulent childhood in Weimar Berlin; his exile in Paris and England, including boarding school and study at Cambridge University; his second exile in the U.S. at Haverford, Harvard, Iowa, and Wisconsin; and his extended stays in London and Jerusalem. Mosse discusses being a Jew and his attachment to Israel and Zionism, and he addresses his gayness, his coming out, and his growing scholarly interest in issues of sexuality. This touching memoir—told with the clarity, passion, and verve that entranced thousands of Mosse’s students—is guided in part by his belief that “what man is, only history tells” and, most of all, by the importance of finding one’s self through the pursuit of truth and through an honest and unflinching analysis of one’s place in the context of the times.
"[Mosse's] fascinating memoir is the story, the very affecting story, of an outsider's true homecoming: the full acceptance of himself."
- Saul Friedländer, “Coming Home. Review of: George L. Mosse, Confronting History: A Memoir,” in The New Republic, CCXXIII, 17, Oct. 28, 2000, pp. 35-38.
„Insgesamt beeindruckt die Autobiografie durch ihre Aufrichtigkeit und Selbstreflexivität. Ihr wissenschaftlicher Wert liegt in der doppelten und synthetisierten Perspektive, durch die der Historiker Mosse seine Lebensgeschichte erinnert und seine Erlebnisse in unmittelbarem Zusammenhang mit der historischen Vergangenheit erzählt: Biografie wird hier zu Geschichte und Geschichte zu Biografie.“
- Gregor Pelger, Autor von Wissenschaft des Judentums und englische Bibliotheken: Zur Geschichte historischer Philologie im 19. Jahrhundert
Dagmar Herzog, Unlearning Eugenics (2018)
Since the defeat of the Nazi Third Reich and the end of its horrific eugenics policies, battles over the politics of life, sex, and death have continued and evolved. In Unlearning Eugenics, Dagmar Herzog documents how reproductive rights and disability rights, both latecomers to the postwar human rights canon, came to be seen as competing—with unexpected consequences. Herzog restores to the historical record a revelatory array of activists: from Catholic and Protestant theologians who defended abortion rights to historians who uncovered the long-suppressed connections between the mass murder of the disabled and the Holocaust of European Jewry. Unlearning Eugenics shows how central the controversies over sexuality, reproduction, and disability have been to broader processes of secularization and religious renewal.
"A must-read for scholars and activists wishing to understand why and how the current political impasse emerged in Europe, though her insights are applicable to other regional contexts, especially North America. The book pulsates with a sense of political purpose and urgency."
- H-Diplo Roundtable Review
Eva Noack-Mosse, Last Days of Theresienstadt (2018)
Translated by Skye Doney, Birutė Ciplijauskaitė
In February of 1945, during the final months of the Third Reich, Eva Noack-Mosse was deported to the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt. A trained journalist and expert typist, she was put to work in the Central Evidence office of the camp, compiling endless lists—inmates arriving, inmates deported, possessions confiscated from inmates, and all the obsessive details required by the SS. With access to camp records, she also recorded statistics and her own observations in a secret diary.
Noack-Mosse's aim in documenting the horrors of daily life within Theresienstadt was to ensure that such a catastrophe could never be repeated. She also gathered from surviving inmates information about earlier events within the walled fortress, witnessed the defeat and departure of the Nazis, saw the arrival of the International Red Cross and the Soviet Army takeover of the camp and town, assisted in administration of the camp's closure, and aided displaced persons in discovering the fates of their family and friends. After the war ended, and she returned home, Noack-Mosse cross-referenced her data with that of others to provide evidence of Nazi crimes. At least 35,000 people died at Theresienstadt and another 90,000 were sent on to death camps.
“Includes the rare account of someone involved in the continuing administration of the camp after the war, facing the issues of epidemic and quarantine and coping with the inquiries from relatives seeking any word of their family members’ fates.”
— Christopher Browning, author of Ordinary Men and Collected Memories
Mary Gluck, The Invisible Jewish Budapest (2016)
Budapest at the fin de siècle was famed and emulated for its cosmopolitan urban culture and nightlife. It was also the second-largest Jewish city in Europe. In The Invisible Jewish Budapest, Mary Gluck delves into the popular culture of Budapest’s coffee houses, music halls, and humor magazines to uncover the enormous influence of assimilated Jews in creating modernist Budapest between 1867 and 1914. She explores the paradox of Budapest in this era: because much of the Jewish population embraced and promoted a secular, metropolitan culture, their influence as Jews was both profound and invisible.
"Gluck’s book provides a rich cultural history of Budapest, Budapest Jewry and paradoxical identity debates. Sumptuous literary artefacts and images add much-needed flavour to a deep analysis of the urban life and soul of Budapest until roughly the First World War. It is a masterpiece of cultural history and deserves its place alongside other influential works on fin de siècle Europe."
- James Koranyi, The English Historical Review, 133(564) (2018): 1343-45.
Till van Rahden, Jews and Other Germans (2008)
Translated by Marcus Brainard
Jews and Other Germans is the first social and cultural history to probe the parameters of Jewish integration in the half century between the founding of the German Empire in 1871 and the early Weimar Republic. Questioning received wisdom about German-Jewish assimilation and the pervasiveness of anti-Semitism in Imperial Germany, van Rahden’s prize-winning book restores some of the complexity and openness of relations between Protestants, Catholics, and Jews before World War I.
Closely analyzing the political, social, and cultural life in a major German city, van Rahden shows that Jews were a part of a broad urban community that encompassed diversity within unity, at once offering them a large measure of equality while permitting them to remain meaningfully Jewish. Jews and Other Germans also substantially revises the chronology of anti-Semitism in Germany, showing that Jews only began to experience exclusion from Breslau’s social world during World War I.
"No book about the long nineteenth century can possibly expect to have the last word about how Jews ended up in Auschwitz. But the fact that van Rahden’s detailed descriptions of how Jews and non-Jews interacted in imperial Germany strongly diverge from the tenor of life during the Third Reich firmly supports his assertion that the path to Auschwitz did not begin in imperial Germany."
- Rebecca Ayako Bennette, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 40(1) (2009): 106-07.
Michael Wildt, An Uncompromising Generation (2010)
Translated by Tom Lampert
In An Uncompromising Generation, Michael Wildt follows the journey of a strikingly homogenous group of young academics—who came from the educated, bourgeois stratum of society—as they started to identify with the Nazi concept of Volksgemeinschaft, which labeled Jews as enemies of the people and justified their murder.
Wildt's study traces the intellectual evolution of key members of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) from their days as students until the end of World War II. Established in 1939, this office fused together the Gestapo, the Criminal Police, and the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) of the SS. Far from being small cogs in a big bureaucratic machine, Wildt finds that the people who made up the RSHA constructed the concepts and operated the apparatus that carried out the Holocaust.
"This is a difficult book to fault, for Wildt makes an eloquent and compelling case…a supremely fresh, well-researched, well-written (and translated) exemplar of German perpetrator scholarship, which is to be recommended to as wide a readership as possible."
- Christopher Dillon, Holocaust Studies, 16(3) (2012): 175-78.
Payne, Sorkin, Tortorice eds., What History Tells (2003)
Foreword by Walter Laqueur
What History Tells presents an impressive collection of critical papers from the September 2001 conference "An Historian's Legacy: George L. Mosse and Recent Research on Fascism, Society, and Culture." This book examines his historiographical legacy first within the context of his own life and the internal development of his work, and secondly by tracing the many ways in which Mosse influenced the subsequent study of contemporary history, European cultural history and modern Jewish history.
"What emerges from these essays is an intellectual biography of a man who did not set out to be a historian of something; rather, he drew eagerly on innovative methodologies from multiple fields while pursuing his many interests with vigor. This intellectual openness and flexibility proved to be a tremendous advantage. It took him, for example, outside the field of history to areas such as anthropology, long before anthropological theory became fashionable among historians."
- H. Glenn Penny, H-German (2004)
„What History Tells ist ein gelungener Versuch, die Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten zwischen den vielen Forschungsgebieten von George L. Mosse herauszuarbeiten und einmal mehr zu zeigen, wie vordenkerisch und einflußreich sein Werk war.“
- Marcel Rotter, Associate Professor an der University of Mary Washington
Christopher Browning, Collected Memories (2003)
In Collected Memories, Christopher R. Browning addresses some of the most heated controversies that have arisen from the use of postwar testimony: Hannah Arendt's uncritical acceptance of Adolf Eichmann's self-portrayal in Jerusalem; the conviction of Ivan Demjanuk (accused of being Treblinka death camp guard "Ivan the Terrible") on the basis of survivor testimony and its subsequent reversal by the Israeli Supreme Court; the debate in Poland sparked by Jan Gross's use of both survivor and communist courtroom testimony in his book Neighbors; and the conflict between Browning himself and Daniel Goldhagen, author of Hitler's Willing Executioners, regarding methodology and interpretation in the use of pre-trial testimony.
Despite these controversies and challenges, Browning delineates the ways in which the critical use of such problematic sources can provide telling evidence for writing Holocaust history. He examines and discusses two starkly different sets of "collected memories"—the voluminous testimonies of notorious Holocaust perpetrator Adolf Eichmann and the testimonies of 175 survivors of an obscure complex of factory slave labor camps in the Polish town of Starachowice.
„Der Wert dieses schmalen Bändchens liegt nicht allein in den dort publizierten Forschungsergebnissen, sondern vor allem in der hier beispielhaft vorgeführten Methode des Umgangs mit der schwierigen, aber für den Holocaust-Historiker unverzichtbaren Quellengattung der postwar testimony. Nicht nur Studenten, auch der gestandene Praktiker wird Collected Memories mit Gewinn lesen.“
- Joachim Neander, Autor von „Hat in Europa kein annäherndes Beispiel“: Mittelbau-Dora – ein KZ für Hitlers Krieg
Michele Sarfatti, The Jews in Mussolini's Italy (2007)
Translated by John and Anne C. Tedeschi
Often overshadowed by the persecution of Jews in Germany, the treatment of Jews in fascist Italy comes into sharp focus in this volume by Italian historian Michele Sarfatti. Using thorough and careful statistical evidence to document how the Italian social climate changed from relatively just to irredeemably prejudicial, Sarfatti begins with a history of Italian Jews in the decades before fascism—when Jews were fully integrated into Italian national life—and provides a deft and comprehensive history from fascism's rise in 1922 to its defeat in 1945.
"This erudite study goes further than all others to lay bare the road to Auschwitz that Fascism tried to pave for the Jews in Italy"
- James T. Mellone, History: Reviews of New Books, 35(2) (2007): 69.
Raphael Gross, Carl Schmitt and the Jews (2007)
Translated by Joel Golb
Foreword by Peter C. Caldwell
German jurist and legal theorist Carl Schmitt (1888–1985) significantly influenced Western political and legal thinking in the last century, yet his life and work have also stirred considerable controversy. While his ideas have been used and diffused by prominent philosophers on both the left and the right, such as Jürgen Habermas and Leo Strauss, his Nazi-era past, especially his active efforts to remove Jewish influence from German law, has cast a cloud over his life and oeuvre. Still, his many supporters have generally been successful in claiming that Schmitt's was an "antisemitism of opportunity," a temporary affectation to gain favor with the Nazis.
In Carl Schmitt and the Jews, available in English for the first time, historian Raphael Gross vigorously repudiates this "opportunism thesis." Through a reading of Schmitt's corpus, some of which became available only after his death, Gross highlights the importance of the "Jewish Question" on the breadth of Schmitt's work. According to Gross, Schmitt's antisemitism was at the core of his work—before, during, and after the Nazi era. His influential polarities of "friend and foe," "law and nomos," "behemoth and Leviathan," and "Katechon and Antichrist" emerge from a conceptual template in which "the Jew" is defined as adversary, undermining the Christian order with secularization. The presence of this template at the heart of Schmitt's work, Gross contends, calls for a major reassessment of Schmitt's role within contemporary cultural and legal theory.
Emilio Gentile, La Grande Italia (2008)
Translated by Suzanne Dingee and Jennifer Pudney
La Grande Italia traces the history of the myth of the nation in Italy along the curve of its rise and fall throughout the twentieth century. Starting with the festivities for the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of Italy in 1911 and ending with the centennial celebrations of 1961, Emilio Gentile describes a dense sequence of events: from victorious Italian participation in World War I through the rise and triumph of Fascism to Italy’s transition to a republic.
Gentile’s definition of “Italians” encompasses the whole range of political, cultural, and social actors: Liberals and Catholics, Monarchists and Republicans, Fascists and Socialists. La Grande Italia presents a sweeping study of the development of Italian national identity in all its incarnations throughout the twentieth century. This important contribution to the study of modern Italian nationalism and the ambition to achieve a “great Italy” between the unification of Italy and the advent of the Italian Republic will appeal to anyone interested in modern European history, Fascism, and nationalism.
"A student of the great historian Renzo de Felice, Gentile's best known work is The Sacralization of Politics in Fascist Italy (1993; translated in 1996), which clearly reflects the influence of George L. Mosse's views on nationalism as a secular religion…It provides a clear, balanced, and well-informed account of the changing place of national appeals and aspirations in Italian political discourse."
- James J. Sheehan, The American Historical Review, 115.1 (2010): 315-16.
Karel Plessini, The Perils of Normalcy (2013)
A taboo-breaker and a great provocateur, George L. Mosse (1918–99) was one of the great historians of the twentieth century, forging a new historiography of culture that included brilliant insights about the roles of nationalism, fascism, racism, and sexuality. Jewish, gay, and a member of a culturally elite family in Germany, Mosse came of age as the Nazis came to power, before escaping as a teenager to England and America. Mosse was innovative and interdisciplinary as a scholar, and he shattered in his groundbreaking books prevalent assumptions about the nature of National Socialism and the Holocaust. He audaciously drew a link from bourgeois respectability and the ideology of the Enlightenment—the very core of modern Western civilization—to the extermination of the European Jews.
In The Perils of Normalcy, Karel Plessini draws on all of Mosse’s published and unpublished work to illuminate the origins and development of his groundbreaking methods of historical analysis and the close link between his life and work. He redefined the understanding of modern mass society and politics, masterfully revealing the powerful influence of conformity and political liturgies on twentieth-century history. Mosse warned against the dangers inherent in acquiescence, showing how identity creation and ideological fervor can climax in intolerance and mass murder—a message of continuing relevance.
"Plessini makes clear Mosse's commitment to a definition of intellectual work as a sorting out of the present's problems."
- Thomas C. Wolfe, American Ethnologist, 41(4) (2014): 787-88.
George L. Mosse, Nazi Culture (2003)
What was life like under the Third Reich? What went on between parents and children? What were the prevailing attitudes about sex, morality, religion? How did workers perceive the effects of the New Order in the workplace? What were the cultural currents—in art, music, science, education, drama, and on the radio?
Professor Mosse's extensive analysis of Nazi Culture—groundbreaking upon its original publication in 1966—is now offered to readers of a new generation. Selections from newspapers, novellas, plays, and diaries as well as the public pronouncements of Nazi leaders, churchmen, and professors describe National Socialism in practice and explore what it meant for the average German.
By recapturing the texture of culture and thought under the Third Reich, Mosse's work still resonates today—as a document of everyday life in one of history's darkest eras and as a living memory that reminds us never to forget.
"Most important of all, the younger generation in Germany, the United States, and the world must learn the truth in their textbooks and in their classrooms. These young people do not know the full story of German's deadly flirtation with Nazi nihilism. Professor Mosse's book helps keep the record alive."
- Louis L. Snyder, “A Short Trip Down the Styx,” in Saturday Review (May 21, 1966), 28.
Dan Diner, Cataclysms (2007)
Translated by William Templer, Joel Golb
Cataclysms is a profoundly original look at the last century. Approaching twentieth-century history from the periphery rather than the centers of decision-making, the virtual narrator sits perched on the legendary stairs of Odessa and watches as events between the Baltic and the Aegean pass in review, unfolding in space and time between 1917 and 1989, while evoking the nineteenth century as an interpretative backdrop.
Influenced by continental historical, legal, and social thought, Dan Diner views the totality of world history evolving from an Eastern and Southeastern European angle. A work of great synthesis, Cataclysms chronicles twentieth century history as a "universal civil war" between a succession of conflicting dualisms such as freedom and equality, race and class, capitalism and communism, liberalism and fascism, East and West.
Diner's interpretation rotates around cataclysmic events in the transformation from multinational empires into nation states, accompanied by social revolution and "ethnic cleansing," situating the Holocaust at the core of the century's predicament. Unlike other Eurocentric interpretations of the last century, Diner also highlights the emerging pivotal importance of the United States and the impact of decolonization on the process of European integration.
"we are immersed in the world of multiple, crosscutting conflicts of ethnicity, nationality, and race, much of it fought out (literally) in Europe’s eastern borderlands. E. H. Carr’s “twenty-year crisis” becomes for Diner a century-long crisis, the violence still present, still being worked out in memory battles."
- Eric D. Weitz, The American Historical Review, (2009) 114(5): 1522-1523.
Lorenzo Benadusi, The Enemy of the New Man (2011)
Translated by Suzanne Dingee and Jennifer Pudney
In this first in-depth historical study of homosexuality in Fascist Italy, The Enemy of the New Man brings to light immensely important archival documents regarding the sexual politics of the Italian Fascist regime. Lorenzo Benadusi adds new insights to the study of the complex relationships of masculinity, sexuality, and Fascism; he explores the connections between new Fascist values and preexisting Italian traditional and Roman Catholic views on morality; he documents both the Fascist regime’s denial of the existence of homosexuality in Italy and its clandestine strategies and motivations for repressing and imprisoning homosexuals; he uncovers the ways that accusations of homosexuality (whether true or false) were used against political and personal enemies; and above all, he shows how homosexuality was deemed the enemy of the Fascist “New Man,” an ideal of a virile warrior and dominating husband vigorously devoted to the “political” function of producing children for the Fascist state.
"This book's great strengths are its meticulous archival research and its provision of new perspectives on the fascist regime's construction of masculinity…this is an interesting and well-researched book that makes a strong case for the intrinsic historical interest of the relationship between sexuality and the state, whether fascist or otherwise."
- Mark Seymour, The American Historical Review, 118(1) (2013): 276-77.
Martin Jay, Reason After Its Eclipse (2016)
In Reason after Its Eclipse, Martin Jay tackles a question as old as Plato and still pressing today: what is reason, and what roles does and should it have in human endeavor? Applying the tools of intellectual history, he examines the overlapping, but not fully compatible, meanings that have accrued to the term “reason” over two millennia, homing in on moments of crisis, critique, and defense of reason.
After surveying Western ideas of reason from the ancient Greeks through Kant, Hegel, and Marx, Jay engages at length with the ways leading theorists of the Frankfurt School—Horkheimer, Marcuse, Adorno, and most extensively Habermas—sought to salvage a viable concept of reason after its apparent eclipse. They despaired, in particular, over the decay in the modern world of reason into mere instrumental rationality. When reason becomes a technical tool of calculation separated from the values and norms central to daily life, then choices become grounded not in careful thought but in emotion and will—a mode of thinking embraced by fascist movements in the twentieth century.
Is there a more robust idea of reason that can be defended as at once a philosophical concept, a ground of critique, and a norm for human emancipation? Jay explores at length the communicative rationality advocated by Habermas and considers the range of arguments, both pro and con, that have greeted his work.
"few scholars would be capable of such a momentous effort. In a book of enormous erudition, rare theoretical acuity, and finely tuned critical intelligence, Jay has brilliantly accomplished a necessary and urgent revision of the history of reason, Habermas’s distinctive contribution to this history, and the Frankfurt School’s legacy in the wake of reason’s eclipse."
- Robert Doran, Journal of the Philosophy of History, 14(1) (2018): 93-103.
Nicolas Berg, The Holocaust and the West German Historians (2014)
Translated by Joel Golb
In The Holocaust and the West German Historians, which was first published in Germany, provoked both acclaim and controversy. In this “history of historiography,” Nicolas Berg addresses the work of German and German-Jewish historians in the first three decades of post-World War II Germany. He examines how they perceived—and failed to perceive—the Holocaust and how they interpreted and misinterpreted that historical fact using an arsenal of terms and concepts, arguments and explanations.
"This thought-provoking book, based on extremely extensive research in published and archival sources, offers readers a view of the German historical profession’s perspective on the systematic persecution of Jews both inside and outside Germany… The book is not easy reading, but it engages a major issue in a manner that is fair even when its judgments are harsh."
- Gerhard L. Weinberg, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 46(3) (2016): 448-49.
Michael Marrus, Some Measure of Justice (2009)
Foreword by William A. Schabas
Can there ever be justice for the Holocaust? During the 1990s—triggered by lawsuits in the United States against Swiss banks, German corporations, insurance companies, and owners of valuable works of art—claimants and their lawyers sought to rectify terrible wrongs committed more than a half century earlier. Some Measure of Justice explores this most recent wave of justice-seeking for the Holocaust: what it has been, why it emerged when it did, how it fits with earlier reparation to the Jewish people, its significance for the historical representation of the Holocaust, and its implications for justice-seeking in our time.
Writings on the subject of Holocaust reparations have largely come from participants, lawyers, philosophers, journalists, and social scientists specializing in restitution. In Some Measure of Justice Michael Marrus takes up the issue as a historian deeply involved with legal issues. He engages with larger questions about historical understanding and historical interpretation as they enter the legal arena. Ultimately this book asks, What constitutes justice for a great historic wrong? And, Is such justice possible?
"Marrus has provided a concise, thought-provoking, and readable book on the issues surrounding restitution for Holocaust-era suffering…The true strengths of the book are those cases that demonstrate the amount of political and legal maneuvering involved in the campaign, and its meaning for those involved. This book is a strong contribution to literature on reparations. More important is Marrus's analysis of the relationship between history and law, and the meaning of justice for those who survived Nazi persecution."
- Monika Flaschka, H-German (2011).
Jan Assmann, Of God and Gods (2008)
For thousands of years, our world has been shaped by biblical monotheism. But its hallmark—a distinction between one true God and many false gods—was once a new and radical idea. Of God and Gods explores the revolutionary newness of biblical theology against a background of the polytheism that was once so commonplace.
Jan Assmann, one of the most distinguished scholars of ancient Egypt working today, traces the concept of a true religion back to its earliest beginnings in Egypt and describes how this new idea took shape in the context of the older polytheistic world that it rejected. He offers readers a deepened understanding of Egyptian polytheism and elaborates on his concept of the “Mosaic distinction,” which conceives an exclusive and emphatic Truth that sets religion apart from beliefs shunned as superstition, paganism, or heresy.
Without a theory of polytheism, Assmann contends, any adequate understanding of monotheism is impossible. This work will be of great interest to anyone seeking to understand the relationship between God and gods.
"This book is, in many ways, a wonderful survey of concepts and considerations about ancient religions. In it, various forms of theism, especially in ancient Egypt, come to life. Assmann’s brilliance in Egyptology shines in several chapters."
- Mark S. Smith, "Theism and Violence in the Ancient World: The Argument of Jan Assmann," Sefared (2009) 69(1): 229-235.
Alessio Ponzio, Shaping the New Man (2016)
Despite their undeniable importance, the leaders of the Fascist and Nazi youth organizations have received little attention from historians. In Shaping the New Man, Alessio Ponzio uncovers the largely untold story of the training and education of these crucial protagonists of the Fascist and Nazi regimes, and he examines more broadly the structures, ideologies, rhetoric, and aspirations of youth organizations in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
Ponzio shows how the Italian Fascists’ pedagogical practices influenced the origin and evolution of the Hitler Youth. He dissects similarities and differences in the training processes of the youth leaders of the Opera Nazionale Balilla, Gioventù Italiana del Littorio, and Hitlerjugend. And, he explores the transnational institutional interactions and mutual cooperation that flourished between Mussolini’s and Hitler’s youth organizations in the 1930s and 1940s.
"Shaping the New Man offers a rich treatment of Fascist and Nazi youth training and institutions, grounded in meticulous archival research. Ponzio also assumes no prior knowledge of either regime’s history, making this an excellent choice for both undergraduate and graduate reading lists."
- Joan L. Clinefelter, The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, 10(1) (2017): 137-38.