Alexander Starritt

Dreams that fade and die

The Dutch writer, Cees Nooteboom, was living in West Berlin in 1989 when the gates opened and the Wall finally came down. At the time he wrote a series of essays about what was happening around him, which were published to great acclaim in Germany and form the first part of Roads to Berlin. He

Land of poets and thinkers

The reason Peter Watson gives for writing this long intellectual history of Germany since 1750 is a convincing one: that British obsession with Nazism has blinded many British people to the achievements of German culture. Watson describes the complaints of German commentators about the emphasis on Nazism even in British schooling, which were borne out

An affable tour guide

In mentioning Heinrich the Fowler, 10th-century King of the Germans and one of the many obscure figures who appears in his book, Simon Winder describes a painting in the Hall of Electors in Frankfurt. A product of the historicising 19th century, it is part of a series of German monarchs stretching from Charlemagne to 1806,