Wilhelm II and the Germans

Wilhelm II and the Germans : A Study in Leadership

3.75 (16 ratings by Goodreads)
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This striking biography of Kaiser Wilhelm II is the most penetrating study to date of his development and personality, as well as an important contribution to our understanding of the crucial period in history that bears his name, 'Wilhelmine Germany'. A skilful, psychoanalytically informed analysis of the Kaiser's character, the book shows how the powerful leader of Germany's 'Second Reich' became the slave of public opinion - restless, impulsive, and easily swayed by flattery or by those with stronger wills. It reveals a man both anxiously insecure and brashly arrogant, flamboyant and confident in public, yet vacillating and ineffective in his political decisions. Despite his political ineptitude, however, Wilhelm II was one of the most successful and beloved symbolic leaders of modern times. Professor Kohut argues that, in this nationalistic age, the new German nation wanted to see itself as it saw its Kaiser - strong, self-assured, and surrounded by pomp and splendour.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 342 pages
  • 162.6 x 244.3 x 31.2mm | 756.42g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • halftones
  • 0195061721
  • 9780195061727
  • 2,078,269

Review quote

'The great merit of Thomas Kohut's study lies in the fact that he does not approach his subject as an amateur psychologist. He has immersed himself in the relevant literature with the aim of producing a "history informed by psychoanalysis". Nor is he dogmatic about his approach and opts for a range of theories. His pluralistic approach enables the author to interpret the available sources on Wilhelm's birth defect and his upbringing as a royal prince plausibly
and coherently.'
Times Higher Education Supplement `Thomas A. Kohut's attempt at a psychobiography of Wilhelm II is the most convincing yet ... Kohut argues his thesis with insight, sophistication and a wealth of detail culled from a wide reading of primary sources. This is psychobiography at its best ... it is an intelligent and perceptive study, and one which no student of the period can afford to ignore.'
Times Literary Supplement `a welcome addition ... His study is informed by psychoanalytic theory, especially "self-psychology", but is free of jargon and questionable thought-trains ... Kohut successfully shows how and how much William influenced and reflected his countrymen's aspirations and animosities'
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Back cover copy

'An impressive example of what a historian can do in investigating the mixture of unconscious pressures, private motives, and public postures that affect political decisions.'
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Rating details

16 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 25% (4)
4 50% (8)
3 6% (1)
2 12% (2)
1 6% (1)
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