This volume in the Oxford History of Modern Europe is a comprehensive study of German history from 1770 to 1866. It examines the manner in which the development of bureaucratic and participatory institutions changed the character and capacities of governments throughout German Europe; the economic expansion in which the productivity of both agriculture and manufacturing increased, commercial activity intensified, and urban growth was encouraged; and the rising culture of print, which sustained new developments in literature, philosophy, and scholarship, and helped transform the rules and procedures of everyday life. These developments, it is argued, led to an erosion of the traditional values and institutions, and played an important part in the transformation of German politics, society, and culture. Rather than viewing the development of a Prussian-led Nation State as "natural" or inevitable, the book emphasizes alternative forces of unity and division which existed up until the Austro-Prussian War of 1866.
`monumental and deeply-impressive ... His text is remarkably well written, full of striking judgements and enlivened by frequent flashes of dry humour: it is extremely readable in a way that long books on German history have not always been.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
`The range and depth of his scholarship are tremendously impressive. Although the book is very long, it is a pleasure to read. Sheehan writes with elegance and clarity and enlivens his narrative with plenty of interesting detail and the occasional flash of scholarly wit. This is historical writing of the highest order. It deserves to be judged as such.'
Times Literary Supplement
`this is a sound and successful volume, full of meat, critical of established opinions and well written ... interesting volume.'
`monumental history ... a worthy companion of Gordon A. Craig's Germany 1866-1945 (1978) it is the great virtue of Sheehan's volume thhat he isn't tempted to importune the reader with spurious anticipations of the hideous events to come'
J.P. Stern, Observer
`accomplished account, broadly cultural in sweep, meticulous in detail and sophisticated in argument'
`The strength of the book lies in its detailed research ... this is definitely a book to know and consult.'
`This is a big book with a big price, and worth every penny of it. It is the best volume to appear even in the very distinguished series of which it is a part. Besides being a model comprehensive account it is also a work of literature, to be read with pleasure as well as instruction ... No-one who is seriously interested in Germany should fail to read this book.'
J.M. Roberts, History Today
`There are many good things to be said about James J. Sheehan's German History 1770-1866. But the book's quality that comes to mind first is that it deals with the varieties of German history in a way that few other overall accounts do ... Gordon Craig's Germany 1866-1945 has found its worthy companion volume, and if that is not praise, nothing is.'
German Studies Review
`Sheehan has produced what is by any account a magisterial exercise in historical reconceptualization ... one comes away from this book with a deep sense of admiration for a historian who has not been afraid to reshuffle the deck of historical cards long stacked by generations of kleindeutsch historians.'
James Van Horn Melton, Emory University, American Historical Review, December 1991
`This book is sure to be regarded as indispensable to students of German history. It has much to offer scholars in other fields as well, particularly those concerned with the genesis of modern nationalism ... Sheehan's book is a kind of summing-up of the work of his own scholarly generation. His colleagues could hardly ask for a more worthy tribute.'
Daniel Moran, University of Northern Colorado, The International History Review
`German History 1770-1866 leads the reader on a remarkable journey through the social, cultural and political history of the people of the German nation.'
The European Studies Journal, Volume IX, Number 1, Spring 1992
'Every historian worth his salt should strive to produce such a book. Its length is its most immediately striking characteristic: 969 pages.'
Panikos Panayi, History Today
Introduction. Part One: Eighteenth-Century Background: Eighteenth-Century Politics; Eighteenth-Century Society; Eighteenth-Century Culture. Part Two: Germans and the French Revolution, 1789-1815: Confrontation and Defeat; Mastering the Revolution; Culture in the Revolutionary Era. Part Three: The Limits of Restoration, 1815-1848: Restoration Politics, 1815-1830; Growth and Stagnation in German Society; The Cultural Establishments and its Critics; The Growth of
Participatory Politics, 1830-1838. Part Four: Towards a New Order, 1848-1866: Revoltion and Reaction; Society in the Age of the Bürgertum; Political Opportunities and Alternatives. Conclusion.