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Learning from the Germans

Nonfiction: History
Unabridged   12.5 hour(s)
Publication date: 08/27/2019

Learning from the Germans

Race and the Memory of Evil

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684576012
Digital Download ISBN:9781684576005


As an increasingly polarized America fights over the legacy of racism, Susan Neiman, author of the contemporary philosophical classic Evil in Modern Thought, asks what we can learn from the Germans about confronting the evils of the past.

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Product Description

In the wake of white nationalist attacks, the ongoing debate over reparations, and the controversy surrounding Confederate monuments and the contested memories they evoke, Susan Neiman's Learning from the Germans delivers an urgently needed perspective on how a country can come to terms with its historical wrongdoings. Neiman is a white woman who came of age in the civil rights–era South and a Jewish woman who has spent much of her adult life in Berlin. Working from this unique perspective, she combines philosophical reflection, personal stories, and interviews with both Americans and Germans who are grappling with the evils of their own national histories.

Through discussions with Germans, including Jan Philipp Reemtsma, who created the breakthrough Crimes of the Wehrmacht exhibit, and Friedrich Schorlemmer, the East German dissident preacher, Neiman tells the story of the long and difficult path Germans have faced in their effort to atone for the crimes of the Holocaust. In the United States, she interviews James Meredith about his battle for equality in Mississippi and Bryan Stevenson about his monument to the victims of lynching, as well as lesser-known social justice activists in the South, to provide a compelling picture of the work contemporary Americans are doing to confront our violent history.


"This exceptional piece of historical and political philosophy provides a meaningful way of looking at the Civil War’s legacy." ―Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"A pointed demonstration of how Germany offers lessons for attending to polarizing issues of the past and present . . . [Learning from the Germans] serves as an important lesson for those who seek to face up to the past wrongs in this country. A timely, urgent call to revisit the past with an eye to correction and remedy." ―Kirkus Reviews

Author Bio

Susan Neiman is the director of the Einstein Forum. Her books, which have been translated into many languages, include Why Grow Up?: Subversive Questions for an Infantile Age, Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-Up Idealists, and Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy.