Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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Of the American historians of his generation George Mosse was one of the greatest teachers, perhaps the best known abroad, and certainly one of the most beloved. There were many long and thoughtful reviews of his life and work in the German and French press, in Italy and Israel. They showed among other things that George had become a legend in his own lifetime, ...
1 - Introduction: On Native Ground
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W HY WRITE an autobiography? Is it because having spent a life time in encounters with other people's histories, I finally want biography hardly apply. The most common reason is to pass one's own history on to one's descendants, and I have none. Then there are those who have lived a public life or who regard themselves-rightly or wrongly-as makers of history, and I cannot make such a claim. As an academic I deal ...
2 - The Setting
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N o SENSE of impending doom marred my childhood, lived in Ber lin during the last years of the Weimar Republic. I witnessed those opulent lifestyle which served to block out the realities of life. What other child had a car and driver of his own when not yet ten years of age and was driven to primary school when other children walked? Moreover, a series of governesses took care of all my needs. I had my own living room as well ...
3 - Family Matters
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THE SETTING in which I was reared, rather than the family itself, seems to have exercised the most direct influence on my life; never theless, it was my family's history which not only made the setting itself possible, but remained a constant if rather silent presence, even if I did not realize its full importance. The family's deeds which affected my life, and indeed defined my place in German society, seemed to have been ...
4 - Building Character in Salem
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I T IS my firm belief that a historian in order to understand the past has to empathize with it, to get under its skin, as it were, to see the world through the eyes of its actors and its institutions. But in an autobiogra phy I must analyze how I myself conceived of people and institutions, how they struck me as I lived among them, and all but ignore their own views of themselves, their own self-representations. This change of focus ...
5 - Experiencing Exile
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FIFTEEN years would elapse before I saw Germany again. I was al most fifteen years old when I left and thirty years old when I visited dates, and I was to feel no nostalgia, no real emotion, when eventually I revisited the scenes of my youth, including Schenkendorf, where I had had so many happy times. This was no doubt because I was so young when I left and because, as I see it, my real growing up took place outside Germany. ...
6 - Political Awakenings
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ENTERING Cambridge I began a new chapter in my life. While I had been away from boarding-school restraints during the long vaca tions, I could now leave character building behind me for a new found freedom. Moreover, I began to make my own friends (not selected from those I was forced to live with) and asserted my own tastes and intel lectual priorities. But first I was confronted with the problem of what I ...
7 - Gaining a Foothold
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M y FIRST month in the New World, instead of being the brief visit of discovery which I had planned, turned into a veritable adven ture story. It all began normally enough with the kind of experi ence millions of immigrants had encountered as they arrived in the United States. I had crossed the Atlantic in August 1939 from Southampton to New York in some luxury aboard the Statendam of the Holland-America ...
8 - The Iowa Years
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THE UNIVERSITY of Iowa, as I saw it in 1944, was a strange mixture of avant-garde, sharp young faculty and elderly men gone to seed. The avant-garde aspect was the most striking, especially for one concerned with cultural history. The departments of art history, fine arts, creative writing, and theater were then at the height of their creativity and power, and it would have been difficult to find their equal anywhere else. ...
9 - Finally Home
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W HEN I arrived in Madison, Wisconsin, in the autumn of 1956 I had no real sense that a whole epoch of my life had ended, that brought an end to a long period of searching and gave me a feeling of self confidence and belonging, the years in Madison had no such far-reaching consequences. I now had a foundation upon which I could build; there was no real rupture with the past, and themes like Americanization or the road ...
10 - Confronting History
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T HE HISTORY department at Iowa had been remarkable for its prom ise; at the University of Wisconsin the department, as I have de scribed it, consisted for the most part of very well established, in deed renowned, historians. It was a rather tight-knit group of scholars who, whatever their attitude toward each other, were united in their pas sion for history. As Bill Hesseltine, who exemplified this passion and ...
11 - Journey to Jerusalem
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I DO NOT remember many games we played as children, but I can recall one which is called Musical Chairs in the United States, while in Ger many we called it Journey to Jerusalem. Children ran around the dining-room table to a tune played on the piano. When this tune stopped abruptly you had to sit down just where you were, and whoever was lucky enough to sit in the chair designated as the throne won the prize. For me the ...
12 - Excursus: London as Home
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O F ALL THE many cities I have mentioned and experiences I have thus far recalled, London is missing simply because it is so for wartime, no year has passed that I did not stay for some time in that city. Moreover, the basic research for most of my books was done there, at first in the British Museum, watched over by the ghosts of Karl Marx and Charles Darwin, and then in the Wiener Library, which specialized in the ...
13 - The Past as Present
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M y LIFE would have been different had circumstances allowed me to remain in Germany and live a life of abundance. Almost certainly I would not have developed a passion for the study of history. But the world of my childhood was not to last. All that my grand father had founded and accumulated seemed forever lost. And indeed, his newspapers did not appear again after the war, although my father told ...
George L. Mosse Seriesin Modern European Cultural andIntellectual History
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Steven E. Aschheim, Stanley G. Payne, Mary Louise Roberts, and David J. SorkinLorenzo Benadusi; translated by Suzanne Dingee and Jennifer PudneyCataclysms: A History of the Twentieth Century from Europe’s EdgeLa Grande Italia: The Myth of the Nation in the Twentieth CenturyEmilio Gentile; translated by Suzanne Dingee and Jennifer Pudney...
Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 30 b/w photos
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: George L. Mosse Series
Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth