The ghosts of Berlin: confronting German history in the urban landscape
by Brian Ladd
Berlin is once again the official capital of a united Germany and, perhaps, the metaphorical capital of a new Europe. In accordance with its received ... Show synopsis Berlin is once again the official capital of a united Germany and, perhaps, the metaphorical capital of a new Europe. In accordance with its received status, a series of massive architectural projects has been initiated, intended to restore, reveal, and reinvent both the physical and the symbolic city of Berlin. But to build a future, one must first examine the past. And Berlin's past is particularly troubling. In this elegant and compelling work, Brian Ladd examines the ongoing conflicts radiating from the remarkable fusion of architecture, history, and national identity in Berlin. How is reunified Germany confronting a divisive and authoritarian past rendered tangible by the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag, Hitler's bunker - even the Brandenburg Gate? How can the rich culture of the past, the artistic and intellectual heritage of Berlin's avant garde, be rescued from the Cold War blight of Potsdamer Platz? And can the Neue Wache, Berlin's monumental remembrance of the horrors of tyranny and war, become the structural centerpiece and the symbolic guardian of this once and future capital? With keen insight and exacting scholarship, Ladd surveys the urban landscape, excavating its ruins, contemplating its buildings and memorials, and carefully deconstructing the public debates and political controversies emerging from its past. In the end, it becomes clear that the ghosts of Berlin may never, indeed should never, fade away.