Monday, October 22, 2018

Books About Prussia

My paternal line ancestor came from Prussia in 1847 to dodge the draft (Germany did not yet exist).  Some of my ancestors are also connected to one of the classical music composers called Bach's family. Most of the ancestors who stayed ended up just barely on the East German side of the divided Germany after World War II.

Razib notes some good books about Prussia, which a quote here for future reference:
Tim Blanning’s Frederick the Great: King of Prussia is an excellent book. So is The Pursuit of Glory: The Five Revolutions that Made Modern Europe: 1648-1815. Finally, Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600–1947. One of the most interesting things about Frederick the Great: King of Prussia is how Blanning recounts the importance of personally playing and repeatedly listening to music in the life of the German monarch. He was apparently a very competent flutist.
In the greater scheme of things, Prussia is particularly notable for having an absurdly micromanaging legal code (with dictates, for example, regarding when one should do which chores in a household like laundry) and for encouraging a largely industrial employer based welfare state, not so different from the Japanese economy of the 1980s. Some interesting historical economics also flows from the previously highly balkanized state of what became Germany, comparing economic development with litmus tests like opera house construction and public clocktowers.

Genetically, my father's side makes him look like a broadly Northern European mutt, in significant part because the significant clusters and ancestral populations of Northern Europe don't align very well with the current political boundaries there, and partially because Northern Europe has had considerable population exchange in the modern era in this region.

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