Otto von Bismarck

When Francois Hollande, the newly elected president of France, arrives today in Berlin for his first meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it will kindle memories of the long history of Franco-German partnership in leading the European Union. In France, it may even trigger the traditional condescension Parisian politicians feel towards their neighbors: the lumbering German economic giant that relies on French diplomatic, military, and nuclear savoir faire to achieve political clout. Increasingly, however, such sentiments are mere nostalgia.

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The Old Way

High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg   By Niall Ferguson (The Penguin Press, 548 pp., $35) If one object of reading is to make ourselves at home in the world, or at least to diminish its somewhat minatory strangeness, then we should now be demanding very many books about banks and bankers.

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The Old Way

High Financier: The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg By Niall Ferguson (The Penguin Press, 548 pp., $35) If one object of reading is to make ourselves at home in the world, or at least to diminish its somewhat minatory strangeness, then we should now be demanding very many books about banks and bankers.

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Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 By Christopher Clark (Harvard University Press, 776 pp., $35) On his way back from self-imposed exile in Paris, in 1844, Heinrich Heine caught a first glimpse of Prussian soldiers in Aachen, a city in the far west corner of Germany: I wandered about in this dull little nest For about an hour or more Saw Prussian military once again They looked much the same as before. [ ...

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