On the subjects of philosophy, society, biographies, literary + cultural history

Joachim Radkau
Geschichte der Zukunft. Prognosen, Visionen, Irrungen
in Deutschland von 1945 bis heute

© Carl Hanser Verlag, München, 2017 Joachim Radkau: Geschichte der Zukunft. Prognosen, Visionen, Irrungen in Deutschland von 1945 bis heute © Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 2017The horizon darkens, the future seems exhausted. It seems unpredictable. Even the Germans, the demographers have discovered, are looking to the year ahead with muted hope. Yet even in times of political earthquakes and collapsing hopes, the role of the future has been assigned to a number of players. (…) The future of which Radkau writes lies in the very recent past. From the remotest of sources, he has compiled what prognoses, visions and confusions have determined expectations for the future in Germany in East and West since the end of the war in 1945. Nuclear death, educational disaster, the triumph of socialism, forest dieback, the end of the working society, energy transformation. The many players in Radkau’s story are engineers, local politicians, experts, philosophers, environmental activists, journalists, farmers, refugees, physicists – in short everybody. Fundamentally democratic.
The abridged version of this book might read as follows: in the future, things often turn out differently to what one expected and intellectuals are sometimes wrong. The favourite ingredients of this history are irony, unavailability, openness and paradox. (…)
Radkau’s narratives are full of alternatives, breaks, U-turns and small, revealing coincidences that ensured that things turned out in one particular way or another. If there is a supporting handrail in this book at all, it is the author’s determination to crush any presumptuousness after the event and to prise open the door of history a crack. He puts his foot in the door himself.

Elisabeth von Thadden: „Das Beste kommt noch“
© Die ZEIT, 16 February 2017

Joachim Radkau
Geschichte der Zukunft. Prognosen, Visionen, Irrungen in Deutschland von 1945 bis heute
Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich, 2017
ISBN 9783446254633
544 pages


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