The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany Cover Image
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"Brilliantly conceived....[A] tour de force in historical writing."—Ian Kershaw

Majestic and lyrically written, The Conquest of Nature traces the rise of Germany through the development of water and landscape. David Blackbourn begins his morality tale in the mid-1700s, with the epic story of Frederick the Great, who attempted—by importing the great scientific minds of the West and by harnessing the power of his army—to transform the uninhabitable marshlands of his scattered kingdom into a modern state. Chronicling the great engineering projects that reshaped the mighty Rhine, the emergence of an ambitious German navy, and the development of hydroelectric power to fuel Germany's convulsive industrial growth before World War I, Blackbourn goes on to show how Nazi racial policies rested on German ideas of mastery of the natural world. Filled with striking reproductions of paintings, maps, and photographs, this grand work of modern history links culture, politics, and the environment in an exploration of the perils faced by nations that attempt to conquer nature.

About the Author

David Blackbourn is the Coolidge Professor of History at Harvard University. His previous books include Germany in the Long Nineteenth Century and Marpingen: Apparitions of the Virgin Mary. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393329995
ISBN-10: 0393329992
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: August 17th, 2007
Pages: 480
Language: English