Written by Ellis Ian Fields
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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

image for History Review: The German Genius, by Peter Watson. A German chemist from the period covered by this book.

Subtitle: Europe's Third Renaissance, the Second Scientific Revolution, and the 20th Century.

The German contribution to western culture since the enlightenment has been immense, but the early 20th century and the Nazi era in particular damaged the image - almost irreparably. Can Watson set the record straight?

Ken Lucid writes:

"Oh, surely you're not bringing that on holiday," the Empress said as we were packing.

"I have to, I'm afraid. Supposed to review it."

But she was right. Ruddy nuisance, huge great tome like that when you're on the move.

First of all it's heavy in your hand luggage and you simply can't read it on the 'plane - especially when the idiot in front insists on using the seat recliner.

What is it about that? Never makes me more comfortable or more likely to sleep.

Then, the beach… sun cream, sand. Come to think of it - who do those Daytona Beach attendants think they are? $30 for a couple of sunbeds, table and umbrella for a day! What is it in Spain, Italy, Greece? Five euros? Ten maybe? Bloody rip-off!

Or poolside - you cannot help but get meal stains on your book. My copy now has a page about Heidegger decorated a brown-green and red from the guacamole and salsa in an excellent plate of nachos. A two-page discussion of Bach has been subtly flavoured by a spillage of a glass of Yeungling beer!

So I'm reading it mostly at night - no surprise then that I'm half asleep during the day when the missus is dragging me round some museum or other. The Mercer House in Savannah - that's where the lads Spacey and Cusack did that excellent Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil film

(Oh don't worry - I woke up for the stuff I wanted to do. Heh! No slouch me! National Gallery of Art, Air & Space Museum - see me move in there.)

Oops - running out of space. Yeah… it's not half bad - good job. Just keep it away from jalapenos and beer!

Ken Lucid is Professor of Modern History at the University of Thames Valley East.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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