Evocative . . . epic . . . How do societies that commit monstrous atrocities recover from them?. . . Chock-full of colorful anecdotes and charismatic figures, A Demon-Haunted Land not only offers a brilliant rethinking of postwar German history, but also asks us to see the irrational as an integral part of modernity.
Convincing . . . Black effectively and evocatively contrasts the story that this new democracy was telling about itself, a narrative of rebuilding and recovery, with what lay below its increasingly shiny surface.
–The New Criterion
A fascinating, richly detailed look at the origins of mass supernatural events in West Germany after WWII. Vivid character sketches and keen psychological insights enrich impressive historical research. An arresting portrait of an unexplored chapter in German history.
Readers interested in German and Cold War history and cultural studies of religious and supernatural beliefs will find much to enjoy in this rich study . . . Monica Black mines rarely used files in local and regional archives to paint a unique portrait.
Both an excellent study of a weakened and fickle humanity and an engrossing story from beginning to end.–Booklist
Timely and urgent . . . Black draws on a rich base of sources [and] is adept at reading historical silences, on precisely what is being elided or glossed over in traditional archives . . . In beautiful prose, Black crafts a vivid portrait of a ruined Germany grappling for some sort of redemption.–Kathryn Julian, George L. Mosse Program in History
"By attending carefully to the voices of the sick in soul and body and to the stories told by ghosts, demons, and witches, Monica Black makes her way through the elisions, silences, and bad faith of post-World War II Germany into the anguished inner life of this time and place. A Demon-Haunted Land
is a stunning, revelatory work of social and cultural history, of profound resonance for our own times. In it Black has enlarged the possibilities of historical knowledge itself."–Robert Orsi,
author of History and Presence
"A bold and original account of the ways in which postwar West Germans used mythic forms of evil like witches and demons to deflect attention from the very real forms of evil their nation had just committed. Black's fascinating book is full of insight not only about postwar West Germany, but about the strange and complex ways people reinterpret evil and guilt."–Susan Neiman,
author of Evil in Modern Thought
"Monica Black has given us a fascinating alternative history of postwar Germany, one that feels more psychologically true than the usual upbeat stories of social capitalism and reconstruction. She tells instead of individual responses to trauma–of witches, demons, Marian apparitions, and faith healing–and the Germans' desperate attempts to come to grips with the emotions produced by moral and physical collapse. A fine book that deserves a wide audience."–Ruth Harris,
author of Lourdes
"Miraculous healings, heavenly apparitions, ghostly traces... Thanks to the magnificent work of Monica Black, post-Nazi Germany presents itself to the reader in a completely new light."–Sergio Luzzatto,
author of The Body of Il Duce