One of A.J.P. Taylor's best-known books, The Course of German History is a notoriously idiosyncratic work. Composed in his famously witty style, yet succinct to the point of sharpness, this is one of the great historian's finest, if more controversial, accomplishments. As Taylor himself noted, 'the history of the Germans is a history of extremes. It contains everything except moderation.' He could, of course, simply be referring to his own book.
'Mr Taylor, by cutting down to a minimum the ballast of dates and names that so often encumbers historical writing, and concentrating on the fundamental trends and events, has achieved both brevity and lucidity.'
'He is not only a brilliant but a profound historian.'
'The profound is mixed with the wisecrack. It has the shortcomings of its virtues. It will shock the scholarly reader but it must challenge him too.'
'The Course of German History is vivid, exciting, openly partisan.'
'His first best-seller, - The Course of German History was written in a "journalistic" rather than academic style and remains extremely readable.'
'Taylor's work is a model of stylish, scintillating compression.' - The Atlantic Monthly
'A lively, if polemical, short history written by one of the twentieth century's greatest historians.'
'Too much brilliancy is hurtful in intercourse with ideas, as too much wit is in intercourse with men; a dazzling formulation is apt to interfere with the precise presentation of a subject or thesis. Still, in spite of such shortcomings, the book should prove of high value in the study of the German problem.'