Erik Grimmer-Solem, Learning Empire: Globalization and German Quest for World Status, 1875-1919

The German Studies department would like to congratulate Erik Grimmer-Solem, (Professor of History and affiliated with German Studies) on his latest publication, Learning Empire: Globalization and the German Quest for World Status, 1875-1919 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019). His book–as he tells his readers–“seeks to reshape our understanding of Imperial Germany’s history by reconstructing the complex overseas entanglements of Germans in North and South America, Japan, China, Southeast Asia, Russia, and Ottoman Turkey”

Learning Empire has been widely reviewed in the US, Great Britain, Australia, and Germany. Dirk Bonker (Duke University) calls it an “impressive book” in which “Erik Grimmer-Solem offers a new narrative of the German Empire’s expansionist discourse and pursuit of global power from the 1870s through the 1910s” [German Studies Review, Volume 43, Number 2, May 2020, pp. 405-407]. Edward Ross Dickinson (University of California, Davis) calls Erik’s work “a remarkable undertaking, a hybrid work that is at once an ambitious and sustained synthesis of the massive scholarly literature on German imperial policy (Weltpolitik) and a study, founded on extensive archival research, of the role in shaping that policy of a small network of academic economists interested in the emerging capitalist world economy (Weltwirtschaft) [Journal of World History, December 2020, pp. 820-822]. Matthew P. Fitzpatrick (Flinders University, South Australia) calls the book a “landmark work of scholarship.” Erik “persuasively demonstrates that imperialism in the German Kaiserreich was not the product of the dominance of atavistic feudal remnants, but rather was an expression of the social, geopolitical and economic understanding of the globalizing middle classes of Germany. Beyond this, however, he also demonstrates that Germany’s liberal Weltpolitik was matched and eventually eclipsed by the expression of similar globalizing impulses in other nations, including the United States and Britain” [German History, Oxford University press, pre-publication book review]. And Gerhard Wegner (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) ends his positive review with: “Learning Empire bietet dem Leser eine höchst anregende Darstellung des Imperalismus aus der Perspektive zeitgenössischer Nationalökonomen” (January 18, 2021).


And available at Olin Libray