James Hawes

Germany’s post-war recovery was no economic miracle

Lord Macaulay wrote that ‘during the century and a half which followed the Conquest there is, to speak strictly, no English history’, because everything in England was decided by an elite who spoke French. This, of course, makes it one of the most fascinating and overlooked parts of our national story.By a similar token, the

Whitewashing Bismarck just won’t wash

The reviewer’s first duty is to declare any skin he may have in the game, so here goes: I write this in a bone-chillingly old house filled with portraits of Prussian Junkers, ancestors of my third son, the oldest of them still wearing steel plate about chest and shoulders, the more recent armoured only by

Squabbling over Kafka

Benjamin Balint’s Kafka’s Last Trial is a legal and philosophical black comedy of the first water, complete, like all the best adventure stories, with a physical treasure to be won or lost. Balint lays out with cool, collected passion the full absurdity of the 2011 court struggle which climaxed when a couple of boxes of

A meeting of remarkable men

In 1945, with the second world war won bar the shouting, Bertrand Russell polished off his brief examination of Friedrich Nietzsche’s contribution to Western thought with the splendid phrase: ‘His followers have had their innings.’ Russell knew that Nietzsche’s followers didn’t just mean the Nazis. Ten years before Hitler’s acolytes started editing special volumes of