The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape and the Making of Modern Germany

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Pimlico, 2007 - Germany - 497 pages

The modern idea of 'mastery' over nature always had its critics, whether their motives were aesthetic, religious or environmentalist. By investigating how the most fundamental element - water - was 'conquered' by draining fens and marshes, straightening the courses of rivers, building high dams and exploiting hydro-electric power, The Conquest of Nature explores how over the last 250 years, the German people have shaped their natural environment and how the landscapes they created took a powerful hold on the German imagination.

From Frederick the Great of Prussia to Johann Gottfried Tulla, 'the man who tamed the wild Rhine' in the nineteenth century to Otto Intze, 'master dambuilder' of the years around 1900, to the Nazis who set out to colonise 'living space' in the East, this groundbreaking study shows that while mastery over nature delivers undoubted benefits, it has often come at a tremendous cost to both the natural environment and human life.

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User Review  - mnicol - LibraryThing

…”Compelling narrative” glowing review in the Economist 18-Feb-2006, much less insightfully, but favourably, reviewed in the New York Review. Neal Ascherson, in a better framed article in the LRB ... Read full review

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User Review  - jontseng - LibraryThing

Many times more interesting than its subject suggests. If that's your sort of thing, that is. Read full review

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About the author (2007)

David Blackbourn was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1949, and studied history at Cambridge University, where he was Research Fellow of Jesus College from 1973 to 1976. He taught at London University from 1976 to 1992, before moving to Harvard, where he is Professor of History and Senior Associate of the Center for European Studies. His work has appeared in six languages, and he is the author of Class, Religion, and Local Politics in Wilhelmine Germany (1980), The Peculiarities of German History (with Geoff Eley, 1984), and Populists and Patricians (1987), and co-editor (with Richard Evans) of The German Bourgeoisie (1991). He lives with his wife and two children in Lexington, Massachusetts.

"From the Hardcover edition.

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