Kurt Eisner
Title Details

610 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

24 b/w. Illustrations

Series: German History in Context

Imprint: Camden House

Kurt Eisner

A Modern Life

by Albert E Gurganus

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
The first comprehensive biography in English of the leader of the Bavarian Revolution and Republic of 1918/19, the first Jewish head of a European state and a man who embraced and embodied modernity.
At the end of the First World War, German Jewish journalist, theater critic, and political activist Kurt Eisner (1867-1919), just released from prison, led a nonviolent revolution in Munich that deposed the monarchy and established the Bavarian Republic. Local head of the Independent Socialists, Eisner had been jailed for treason after organizing a munitions workers' strike to force an armistice. For a hundred days, as Germany spiraled into civil war, Eisner fought as head of state to preserve calm while implementing a peaceful transition to democracy and reforging international relations. He rejected another central German government dominated by Prussia in favor of a confederation of autonomous equals, a "United States of Germany." A Francophile, he sought ties with Paris in hope of containing Prussia. In February 1919, on the way to submit his government's resignation to the newly elected constitutionalassembly, Eisner was shot by a protofascist aristocrat, plunging Bavaria into political chaos from which Adolf Hitler would emerge. At the centenary of the Bavarian Revolution and Republic of 1918/19, this is the first comprehensive biography of Eisner written for an English-language audience.

Albert Earle Gurganus is Professor Emeritus of Modern Languages at The Citadel. He is the author of The Art of Revolution: Kurt Eisner's Agitprop (Camden House, 1986).
Introduction
A Novel's Suffering Hero: A Youth in Berlin (1867-1889)
Aristocratize the Masses: From Berlin to Frankfurt to Marburg (1890-1893)
Refuge of All Idealists: Through Cohen to Kant toward Marx (1893-1896)
Dictatorial Megalomania: Lèse Majesté and Plötzensee Prison (1896-1898)
Making the Leap: Back to Berlin as a Social Democrat (1898-1900)
No Idle Dreamer: At the Helm of Vorwärts (1900-1902)
My Life's Purpose: Molding the Readership (1902-1903)
Never . . . a Less Fruitful Scholastic Debate: Intramural Strife - Evolution vs. Revolution (1903-1905)
Revolutionizing Minds: The Scorched Middle Ground (1905)
The Complete Parity of My Experiences: From Exile to Nuremberg (1905-1907)
The Most Genuine and Fruitful Radicalism: Taking the Lead at the Fränkische Tagespost (1907-1908)
So Suspect a Heretic as Surely I Am: New Bearings in North Bavaria (1908)
Dear Little Whore: Personal and Professional Turmoil (1909)
To Find a Lost Life: From Nuremberg to Munich (1909-1910)
Something of a Party Offiziosus in Bavaria: Political Editor at the Münchener Post (1910-1911)
At Peace with Myself: Resettling into Family Life (1912-1913)
The Powerlessness of Reason: The World War Erupts (1914)
Wretched Superfluity: Divided Loyalties (1915-1916)
War for War's Sake: Political Alienation and Realignment (1916-1917)
The Most Beautiful Days of My Life: Leading the Opposition (1917-1918)
Our Power to Act Now Grows: From Prisoner to Premier (1918)
The Terror of Truth: Forging the Republic, Combatting Reaction (1918)
The Fantasies of a Visionary: Martyr of the Revolution (1918-1919)
Now Dead, as It Stands: Outcomes and Legacy (1919-2017)
Abbreviations
Notes
Sources and References
Index
"Gurganus provides a detailed biography of the socialist intellectual Eisner, appreciating him not only in his role as minister-president of the Free State of Bavaria, which he himself proclaimed in 1918. The presentation of Eisner's life shows him in chronological fashion as a thinking, feeling, acting person of his time. Gurganus falls back on his research, which he began as far back as the 1970s, and provides a comprehensive evaluation of the archival sources. On hand of especially thorough reference to Eisner's numerous newspaper articles, Gurganus teases out his intellectual development and his political ideas." Laura Mokrohs, GERMANISTIK
"It is important that an English-language study of the first Bavarian Minister-President is now available." Frank Jacob, FRANCIA-RECENSIO
"[O]ne real strength of this book is that it confers a set of deeper strands to Eisner the public figure-what drove his politics, his journalism, and his relationships with others. . . . [A]n exemplary biography that takes us deep into the mind and context of its enigmatic subject. Gurganus's account is exhaustively researched without being overdetailed, and written with a captivating dramatic verve. . . . [T]he author more than meets his objective to cast his work for 'the broad band of English speakers' with a more general interest in early twentieth-century German history." Marcus Colla, GERMAN POLITICS AND SOCIETY
"Compelling." QUARTERLY REVIEW
"[A]n exhaustive biography of Eisner [that] provides detailed insight into the SPD's party life in late nineteenth-century Germany. . . . [S]hows the breadth of Eisner's erudition. . . . [W]e are offered a beautiful picture of [Eisner's] versatility as an intellectual . . . ." Wim de Jong, H-SOCIALISMS
"[T]his book is a tour de force. It provides a treasure trove of information on one of the early twentieth-century German left's seminal and all too often forgotten figures." Mark Jones, JOURNAL OF MODERN HISTORY

Hardcover

9781640140158

August 2018

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9781787442313

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Title Details

610 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

24 b/w. Illustrations

Series: German History in Context

Imprint: Camden House