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Dreamers Reviews

Dreamers by Volker Weidermann, Ruth Martin

Dreamers

When the Writers Took Power, Germany 1918

Volker Weidermann, Ruth Martin

4.00 out of 5

3 reviews

Category: Non-fiction
Imprint: Pushkin Press
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication date: 1 Nov 2018
ISBN: 9781782275046

Volker Weidermann presents us with a slice of history - November 1918 to April 1919 - and shows how a small group of people could have altered the course of the twentieth century.

4 stars out of 5
William Cook
17 Nov 2018

"a compact and colourful account"

Weidermann is a journalist rather than an academic, and so this is a compact and colourful account, with the breathless pace of war reporting rather than the ponderous, long-winded prose one usually associates with German history books by German historians. Many of the proponents wrote extensively and eloquently about their experiences, and Weidermann draws heavily on these first-hand accounts to great effect. By favouring impressionistic reportage over background detail, his narrative is sometimes a bit confusing, but it gives the reader a vivid sense of what it actually felt like to live through this exhilarating and terrifying time...

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
Caroline Moorehead
16 Nov 2018

"A superb account of an episode when the writers took over and it seemed all could be different."

He is a subtle storyteller, and one of his great skills is the way in which he pins down celebrated people at specific moments and then demonstrates how their reactions shaped their subsequent lives. He brings to life long forgotten and seemingly insignificant and quirky episodes in history, and in so doing shows how unpredictably and randomly it unfolds, and how it is full of unlikely heroes who occupy the stage for a few moments, only to leave it for ever.

4 stars out of 5
James Hawes
10 Nov 2018

"As in all the best stories, the characters are unforgettable."

Weidermann chooses the present tense to guide us through the weeks from innocent popular rejoicing to blood-soaked endgame. This is supposed to make everything seem more immediate and lively. It may work for some readers, but others may find it relentless. Luckily, personal tastes hardly matter when a story has such great pace, action and character.
As in all the best stories, the characters are unforgettable.