Steven Osment
A Mighty Fortress:
A New History of the
German People.
HarperCollins, 416 pages, $26.95

The aftermath of the Iraq War, which occasioned an unprecedented bout of transatlantic vituperation, may seem an unpropitious moment to publish a history of the German people that leans over backwards to be generous towards its subject. But was there ever a better time? It is now, with Germany tiptoeing away from its postwar Atlanticist allegiance and openly flirting with anti-Americanism, that it is most tempting for Americans to see German history reflected in the distorting mirror of the Third Reich. The United States and Britain, nations that are still quaintly identified by their Germanic origins as “Anglo-Saxon,” find it difficult to sympathize with German cousins incapable of offering at least moral support for the overthrow of a dictator whose ideology was modeled on National Socialism....

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