The biographical approach to German unification in Bruce Waller’s Bismarck leaves the reader without much information on the European political picture as a whole and by no means provides a plethora of information on many of the political power players outside of Bismarck’s Germany. For example, Waller’s approach to Bismarck’s economic foreign policy is clearly lacking an explanation of outside factors, and those factors of the European economic situat...
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...e, if one is seeking to obtain knowledge of the European political climate in general, then an account such as Hobsbawm’s is vastly more helpful in understanding the bigger picture; likewise, Fulbrook’s account on German history as a whole provides a similar level of big picture understanding but in a uniquely German setting. However, if one already has a grasp on the bigger picture, then Waller’s Bismarck is most likely the best option to advance one’s knowledge to a new level. Thus, biographical approaches to history are only truly helpful once one understands the events taking place outside of the life of the figure in question.
Bruce Waller, Bismarck, (Malden: Blackwell Publishers, 1997)
Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire 1875-1914, (New York: Vintage Books, 1989)
Mary Fulbrook, A Concise History of Germany, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
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