Grand Hotel Abyss by Stuart Jeffries (new addition)

This is a splendid read : the history of the Frankfurt School presented as a series of biographies of the leaders (particularly Theodor Adorno) since it came into being in 1922 in response to the failed German revolution. These Jewish/Marxist thinkers were the presiding spirits behind Weimar, attempting to transform the lives of workers through “critical thinking”, without violence, but through modernist culture as exemplified by jazz ,cinema, multiculturalism and the art that Hitler was soon to describe as “entartete” ie. degenerate.

Inevitably they had to flee, most of them to The States, but a new generation exists in Germany at the present day,having involved themselves in the student riots of 1968 though the book does not take us into the current rise of European nationalism. Their goals remain: how to respond to consumerist capitalism and its destructive power over humanity.

This book is pleasure to read- certainly filling in gaps of my knowledge of Germany beyond the horrors of Naziism and Ausschwitz and where it may have to use philosophical jargon, explaining it to the reader without treating her as a half-wit.

Pamela Priske