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I would also recommend Walter Abish's fiction, How German Is It, as a great novel on precisely the topic of how a big nation confronts (and thereby erases) the past, all the while building a new national ethos from scratch.

Recently, I reread the book and did some preliminary research into it. I realized that very little has been written in English about German nation-building after the war that referenced much else than global trade and economics. Yet we have ethnographic and postcolonialist studies about nation-formation and identity-formation all over the globe. We seem to have missed that Germany has been engaged in precisely such a project for a long long time.

by Upstate NY on Wed May 11th, 2011 at 11:34:13 AM EST
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