Biesinger, professor emeritus from Eastern Kentucky University, has written a useful guide to nearly 600 years of German history. Germany is one volume of an eight-volume series,Facts On File European Nations. Other volumes cover Austria-Hungary and the Successor States, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Russia, and Spain and Portugal. The target audience is high-school and undergraduate students in need of a history series that focuses on the evolution of the major European countries in a concise, accessible style.
The first 200 pages are a history of Germany divided into chapters explaining each time period, beginning with "Tribal Origins and the Middle Ages." These introductory chapters average eight pages in length, the longest being about World War II and the Holocaust. Next come more than 600 entries arranged in alphabetical order and focusing on personalities, culture, economics, religion, and politics. See also references are in capital letters. Most helpful for the target audience is the chronology that follows; students can take names or events from this extensive list and then look up the information in the A-Z portion of the book. Appendix 1 is a list of rulers and statesmen divided into categories. Appendix 2 is a 12-map atlas of German history beginning with the empire of Charles V (1506-1519) and ending with a map of reunification. A lengthy bibliography divided into sections by historical period, and only including works in English, rounds out this useful resource, which is a worthwhile purchase for high-school, public, and undergraduate libraries. Lisa Johnston