The 10 Best German History Books

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This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in February of 2018. From the fall of the Holy Roman Empire and creation of the Merovingian dynasty to the Reformation and epic conflicts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the character of modern Germany is defined as much by its history prior to Kaiser Wilhelm I's reign as it is by the defining events of its existence as a nation today: WWI, the Third Reich, the Cold War Era and Reunification. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Germany: Memories of a Nation

2. The Continuities of German History

3. A History of Modern Germany

Editor's Notes

April 13, 2020:

Germany has a rich, long-spanning history that reaches much further back than its formation as one nation in 1871. For this list, we curated titles capable of expanding on nearly every era of the region's history, from the early middle ages right up until today, with commentaries on everything from reunification and the Third Reich to the impact of the French revolution and the enlightenment of Frederick the Great.

To that end, you'll find comprehensive surveys like Germany: Memories of a Nation and Iron Kingdom, treatises on early events like in Before France And Germany, and specific perspectives such as those found in The House by the Lake, The Year That Changed the World, and The Third Reich. People tend to disproportionately consider the 20th century when exploring German history, and for good reason, but we felt it was important to give a thorough view on the richness of the hundreds of years prior, too. That being said, if you are principally interested in World War II, consider our in-depth selections on the subject here.

Today we said goodbye to Evening In The Palace Of Reason. This volume remains a highly entertaining one, however, it is heavily concerned with music and tends to pivot from history often. We felt that it lacked the rigor required for a spot on this list. We replaced it with the extremely useful A Concise History of Germany. This text has been recently updated and expanded to include information on a unified, post-1990s Germany, the Merkel era, and how modern-day Germans grapple with the past. It's ideal for students who need an introduction that can serve as a launchpad, as well as for travelers and German culture enthusiasts who simply want a bit more knowledge under their belts.

Special Honors

LingQ If you're brushing up on your German history, it's probably safe to say you're interested in German culture. For students considering learning how to speak, read, and/or write in German, LingQ is a helpful online language learning community that provides an abundance of written and audio content. Members can also find a language exchange partner through the service.

The German Way & More An ideal supplement to a class or textbook, The German Way & More is a website intended for students, business people, travelers, and expatriates. It acts as a helpful guide to all things German and includes extensive biographies of notable people, details on the education system, a wealth of historical information, how-to guides, a blog that is updated regularly, and much more.

4. Before France And Germany

5. The Third Reich

6. A Concise History of Germany

7. Iron Kingdom

8. The House by the Lake

9. The Year That Changed the World

10. The German Genius

Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.

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