- By Peter Fritzsche

The Turbulent World of Franz Göll: An Ordinary Berliner Writes the Twentieth Century

  • Title: The Turbulent World of Franz Göll: An Ordinary Berliner Writes the Twentieth Century
  • Author: Peter Fritzsche
  • ISBN: 9780674055315
  • Page: 187
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Turbulent World of Franz G ll An Ordinary Berliner Writes the Twentieth Century Franz Goll was a thoroughly typical Berliner He worked as a clerk sometimes as a postal employee night watchman or publisher s assistant He enjoyed the movies ate spice cake wore a fedora tamed

    Franz Goll was a thoroughly typical Berliner He worked as a clerk, sometimes as a postal employee, night watchman, or publisher s assistant He enjoyed the movies, ate spice cake, wore a fedora, tamed sparrows, and drank beer or schnapps He lived his entire life in a two room apartment in Rote Insel, Berlin s famous working class district What makes Franz Goll differentFranz Goll was a thoroughly typical Berliner He worked as a clerk, sometimes as a postal employee, night watchman, or publisher s assistant He enjoyed the movies, ate spice cake, wore a fedora, tamed sparrows, and drank beer or schnapps He lived his entire life in a two room apartment in Rote Insel, Berlin s famous working class district What makes Franz Goll different is that he left behind one of the most comprehensive diaries available from the maelstrom of twentieth century German life Deftly weaving in Goll s voice from his diary entries, Fritzsche narrates the quest of an ordinary citizen to make sense of a violent and bewildering century Fritzsche paints a deeply affecting portrait of a self educated man seized by an untamable impulse to record, who stayed put for nearly seventy years as history thundered around him Determined to compose a symphony from the music of everyday life, Goll wrote of hungry winters during World War I, the bombing of Berlin, the rape of his neighbors by Russian soldiers in World War II, and the flexing of U.S superpower during the Reagan years In his early entries, Goll grappled with the intellectual shockwaves cast by Darwin, Freud, and Einstein, and later he struggled to engage with the strange lifestyles that marked Germany s transition to a fluid, dynamic, unmistakably modern society.

    1 thought on “The Turbulent World of Franz Göll: An Ordinary Berliner Writes the Twentieth Century

    1. This is probably the most enlightening book on German mentality I have read. Fritzsche analysed and summarized an unique historical evidence: the vast diaries and memoirs by Franz Göll, an obscure Berliner, covering the era from Kaiser Wilhelm II to Ronald Reagan. The common defect of German diaries and memoirs published postwar is that they were "sanitized" to comply with the new social standards. Compared to them, Göll's writings generously quoted in the book sound far more authentic to the [...]

    2. In a micro-historical view, this is a dream come true. With that in mind, at first glance this book make seem a little dry and stale, like moldy bread, but quite the contrary. If you set back your macro-historical expectations of reading about a grand historical figure, you will be introduced to a very interesting, quite normal person, who saw himself as anything but. So, give it a go, some of it may be a little extraneous detail, but it will put both his life and consequently the readers own in [...]

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