* Subtitled 'The Father of the New Germany', this is a masterly portrait of a great statesman, Konrad Adenauer - one of the truly great leaders of the twentieth century
After the Second World War Germany lay in ruins. To Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967) belongs much of the credit for raising West Germany to a position of economic prosperity and making it a respected free-world ally. Adenauer was born in 1876, in Cologne, part of a devout Roman Catholic family. He was elected mayor of Cologne in 1917, a post he held for 16 years, then a representative in the Prussian State Council of which he became president in 1928. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, Adenauer was stripped of all his political positions, imprisoned and then sent to a concentration camp. But after the war he organised a new party, the Christian Democratic Union and in 1949 he became West Germany's first chancellor, retiring after four consecutive re-elections in 1963. Charles Williams' magisterial biography of a great twentieth-century statesman - and German - is also a monumental history of modern Germany. The book's four sections: 'The Kaiser's Germany', 'Weimar Germany', 'Nazi Germany' and 'Adenauer's Germany' - bear eloquent testimony to this most singular of nations.
[ADENAUER] is well-researched and admirably written. It puts the German statesman 's extraordinary career into historical perspective. Above all it reveals Adenauer the man-with all his authority and strength, his persistence and endurance and his streak of ruthlessness and political cunning - INDEPENDENT
The best biography I read this year - Anthony Howard, NEW STATESMAN
This is pertinent stuff. - GUARDIAN
[A] magisterial biography... written with warmth and lucidity, this is as much a book about the making of modern Germany as it is about the 20th century's foremost statesman. - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Charles Williams, Lord Williams of Elvel, former industrialist and banker and now a Labour peer, was appointed to a life peerage in 1985. He served on the Opposition front bench from 1986 onwards and was elected Opposition Deputy Leader in 1989. He is one of Britain's most distinguished biographers.