A Spectator Book of the Year
History that reads like a novel: the story of the writers and intellectuals behind the failed Bavarian Revolution of 1918, by the author of the acclaimed Summer Before the Dark
The bloody war has lasted more than four years. They aren't just going to let it burn out... Something bright and new has to - has to - come out of the darkness.
Munich, November 1918: in the final days of the First World War, revolutionaries open the doors of military prisons, occupy official buildings and overthrow the monarchy. At the head of the newly declared Free State of Bavaria is journalist and theatre critic Kurt Eisner, and around him rally luminaries of German cultural history: Thomas Mann, Ernst Toller and Rainer Maria Rilke.
Yet the dream cannot last: in February 1919, Eisner is assassinated and the revolution fails. But while it survived, it was the writers, the poets, the playwrights and the intellectuals who led the way, imagining new ways of shaping the world.
In his characteristically vivid, sharp prose, Volker Weidermann hones in on a short moment in history, revealing an extraordinary flourishing of revolutionary potential that could have altered the course of the twentieth century.
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