Cover of Pain and Prosperity by Edited by Paul Betts and Greg Eghigian
Pain and Prosperity
Reconsidering Twentieth-Century German History
Edited by Paul Betts and Greg Eghigian


288 pages.
from $32.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804739375
Paperback ISBN: 9780804739382
Ebook ISBN: 9780804780438



The turn of the millennium has stimulated much scholarly reflection on the historical significance of the twentieth century as a whole. Explaining the century’s dual legacy of progress and prosperity on one hand, and of world war, genocide, and mass destruction on the other, has become a key task for academics and policymakers alike. Not surprisingly, Germany holds a prominent position in the discussion.

What does it mean for a society to be so closely identified with both inflicting and withstanding enormous suffering, as well as with promoting and enjoying unprecedented affluence? What did Germany’s experiences of misery and abundance, fear and security, destruction and reconstruction, trauma and rehabilitation have to do with one another? How has Germany been imagined and experienced as a country uniquely stamped by pain and prosperity?

The contributors to this book engage these questions by reconsidering Germany’s recent past according to the themes of pain and prosperity, focusing on such topics as welfare policy, urban history, childbirth, medicine, racism, political ideology, consumerism, and nostalgia.

About the authors

Paul Betts is Lecturer in Modern German History at the University of Sussex. He is the author of the forthcoming book The Pathos of Everyday Objects: A Cultural History of West German Industrial Design, 1945-1965. Greg Eghigian is Associate Professor of Modern European History at Penn State University. He is the author of Making Security Social: Disability, Insurance, and the Birth of the Social Entitlement State in Germany and the coeditor of Sacrifice and National Belonging in Twentieth-Century Germany.