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Two States--One Nation?


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GUENTER GRASS (1927-2015), Germany's most celebrated contemporary writer, attained worldwide renown with the publication of his novel The Tin Drum in 1959. A man of remarkable versatility, Grass was a poet, playwright, social critic, graphic artist, and novelist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1999.


Going against the tide, eminent German novelist-playwright Grass staunchly opposes German reunification in this collection of lashing speeches, essays and lectures. A reunified Germany, he warns, would be ``a colossus loaded with complexes,'' standing in the way of the political-economic integration of Europe. Pointing out that a unified Germany existed for only 75 years and brought unimaginable misery, war and genocide, he advocates a German confederation in which the two halves would ``share one cultural nationhood'' while preserving a separate political identity. Under this scheme, West Germany would assist East in a far-reaching econmic equalization. In a powerful, partly autobiographical piece, ``Writing After Auschwitz,'' Grass ponders the renewed arms race and concludes, ``We Germans have every reason to fear ourselves as a unit.'' His courageous polemic brings a much-needed historical perspective to a pressing issue. (Oct.)

Novelist, playwright, and artist Grass has written and spoken against unification of the two Germanys for many years. This collection of speeches, essays, and newspaper interviews, written between 1961 and spring 1990, here translated for the first time, presents his reasons. For most of its history Germany was a loose confederation of small holdings and was a unified state for only 75 years. Because of united Germany's bellicose history, especially during this century, and of its ``sin of Auschwitz,'' as he calls the Nazi experience, Grass fears the consequences of reuniting Germany. He assumes that this aggressive tendency will lead to adverse consequences for someone, if not the world. Although seemingly a lone voice crying out against the inevitable, Grass has written essays that are well reasoned, deserving of a place in most libraries. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/90.-- Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York

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