10 books like Grand Hotel Abyss

By Stuart Jeffries,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Grand Hotel Abyss. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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A Little History of Philosophy

By Nigel Warburton,

Book cover of A Little History of Philosophy

Nietzsche said; “Today’s philosophers enjoy the divine principle of incomprehensibility.” This clearly written book takes the opposite tack. If you’re terrified of philosophy, this is the book for you. A great book to get the kids interested in the subject.

A Little History of Philosophy

By Nigel Warburton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Little History of Philosophy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For readers of E. H. Gombrich's A Little History of the World, an equally irresistible volume that brings history's greatest philosophers to life

"A primer in human existence: philosophy has rarely seemed so lucid, so important, so worth doing and so easy to enter into. . . . A wonderful introduction for anyone who's ever felt curious about almost anything."-Sarah Bakewell, author of How To Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer

Philosophy begins with questions about the nature of reality and how we should live. These were the concerns of Socrates, who…


How to Live

By Sarah Bakewell,

Book cover of How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer

Nietzsche said; “Only those with very large lungs have the right to write long sentences.” Montaigne was of the same opinion. He pre-dated Nietzsche in couching his philosophy simply and clearly in short, sharp aphorisms. Like Nietzsche’s aphorisms, they are often very funny.

How to Live

By Sarah Bakewell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Live as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How to get on well with people, how to deal with violence, how to adjust to losing someone you love? How to live?

This question obsessed Renaissance nobleman Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533-92), who wrote free-roaming explorations of his thought and experience, unlike anything written before. Into these essays he put whatever was in his head: his tastes in wine and food, his childhood memories, the way his dog's ears twitched when it was dreaming, events in the appalling civil wars raging around him. The Essays was an instant bestseller, and over four hundred years later, readers still come to…


In the Land of the Cyclops

By Karl Ove Knausgaard,

Book cover of In the Land of the Cyclops

Nietzsche said; “Art is the supreme task, the truly metaphysical activity in this life.” The relationship between life and art has always been a tough issue. Even more so today, in our unsettling age of post-truth and celebrity culture. Knausgaard writes not to provide answers, but to teach us to ask the proper questions of the time we live in.

In the Land of the Cyclops

By Karl Ove Knausgaard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Land of the Cyclops as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brilliantly wide-ranging essay collection from the author of My Struggle, spanning literature, philosophy, art and how our daily and creative lives intertwine.

In the Land of the Cyclops is Karl Ove Knausgaard's first collection of essays to be published in English, and these brilliant and wide-ranging pieces meditate on themes familiar from his groundbreaking fiction.

Here, Knausgaard discusses Madame Bovary, the Northern Lights, Ingmar Bergman, and the work of an array of writers and visual artists, including Knut Hamsun, Michel Houellebecq, Anselm Kiefer and Cindy Sherman.

These essays beautifully capture Knausgaard's ability to mediate between the deeply personal and…


Dominion

By Tom Holland,

Book cover of Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World

Nietzsche said “God is dead, but in thousands of years there still may be caves where his shadow will be shown.” Tom Holland traces the effect of the long shadow on our lives.

Dominion

By Tom Holland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dominion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "marvelous" (Economist) account of how the Christian Revolution forged the Western imagination. Crucifixion, the Romans believed, was the worst fate imaginable, a punishment reserved for slaves. How astonishing it was, then, that people should have come to believe that one particular victim of crucifixion-an obscure provincial by the name of Jesus-was to be worshipped as a god. Dominion explores the implications of this shocking conviction as they have reverberated throughout history. Today, the West remains utterly saturated by Christian assumptions. As Tom Holland demonstrates, our morals and ethics are not universal but are instead the fruits of a very…


Secret Reports on Nazi Germany

By Franz Neumann, Herbert Marcuse, Otto Kirchheimer

Book cover of Secret Reports on Nazi Germany: The Frankfurt School Contribution to the War Effort

This is certainly the nerdiest of my selections. It is simply a collection of analytical assessments from the sharpest minds to study Nazi Germany during WWII. The authors of these reports, most of them Jewish intellectual academics who fled the Third Reich, joined America’s embryonic intelligence community before the CIA existed. The documents show how their deep knowledge of German social forces enabled them to counter the more superficial analysis of military and political officials about Germany’s likely course. As I wrote in my own book, if America had only had comparable experts on Afghanistan, the war there might not have ended as it did.

Secret Reports on Nazi Germany

By Franz Neumann, Herbert Marcuse, Otto Kirchheimer

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Secret Reports on Nazi Germany as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During the Second World War, three prominent members of the Frankfurt School--Franz Neumann, Herbert Marcuse, and Otto Kirchheimer--worked as intelligence analysts for the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime forerunner of the CIA. This book brings together their most important intelligence reports on Nazi Germany, most of them published here for the first time. These reports provide a fresh perspective on Hitler's regime and the Second World War, and a fascinating window on Frankfurt School critical theory. They develop a detailed analysis of Nazism as a social and economic system and the role of anti-Semitism in Nazism, as well as…


One-Dimensional Man

By Herbert Marcuse,

Book cover of One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society

This is the one classic text on my list. Marcuse’s book was like a bible to protesting students in the 1960s, and its critique of the psychic levelling that occurs under capitalism remains just as germane today, if not more so. This is the most successful marriage of Freud and Marx that emerged from the famous Frankfurt School, which was a group of cultural Marxist invested in psychoanalysis. Marcuse grasps how capitalism employs technology to ensure its psychic dominance. 

One-Dimensional Man

By Herbert Marcuse,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked One-Dimensional Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1964, One-Dimensional Man quickly became one of the most important texts in the ensuing decade of radical political change. This second edition, newly introduced by Marcuse scholar Douglas Kellner, presents Marcuse's best-selling work to another generation of readers in the context of contemporary events.


Dialectic of Enlightenment

By Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Edmund Jephcott (translator)

Book cover of Dialectic of Enlightenment

The standard liberal (and neoliberal) response to those who complain that enlightenment and progress leave behind precisely those people whom they are supposed to help the most has been to double down and demand more progress. In this 20th century classic of political-sociological analysis, Horkheimer and Adorno show that the concept of enlightenment as interpreted by the liberal politicians, and as touted by them to the masses whom they hold in thrall, is self-undermining.

Dialectic of Enlightenment

By Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Edmund Jephcott (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dialectic of Enlightenment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dialectic of Enlightenment is undoubtedly the most influential publication of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. Written during the Second World War and circulated privately, it appeared in a printed edition in Amsterdam in 1947. "What we had set out to do," the authors write in the Preface, "was nothing less than to explain why humanity, instead of entering a truly human state, is sinking into a new kind of barbarism."

Yet the work goes far beyond a mere critique of contemporary events. Historically remote developments, indeed, the birth of Western history and of subjectivity itself out of the struggle…


The Authoritarian Personality

By Theodor W. Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel J. Levinson, R. Nevitt Sanford

Book cover of The Authoritarian Personality

This book is both timeless and a product of a specific moment (the post-war era). First to the timeless stuff: the authoritarian personality that Adorno and his co-authors describe remains alive and kicking in 2022. He is obsessed with appearing tough, power-hungry, incapable of self-criticism, and presents himself as a victim of other peoples’ malfeasance. As for the more dated stuff, Freud lurks behind the authors’ interpretations; reading this book, I am struck by how differently post-war Americans understood gender and sexuality than we do today. This book poses searching questions about the extent to which authoritarianism and proto-fascism are ingrained in modern life.

The Authoritarian Personality

By Theodor W. Adorno, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Daniel J. Levinson, R. Nevitt Sanford

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Authoritarian Personality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What makes a fascist? Are there character traits that make someone more likely to vote for the far right? The Authoritarian Personality, written in the shadow of Fascism and the Holocaust, looked to analyse the rise of Fascism in Europe through the specific psychological traits that make people prone to authoritarianism. Based on extensive empirical studies of Americans conducted by a team which included the leading member of the Frankfurt School Theodor Adorno, The Authoritarian Personality ranked a range of character traits on what it called the 'F scale' (F for fascist). These included conventionalism, anti-intellectualism, superstition and occultism, power…


Hitler's American Model

By James Q. Whitman.,

Book cover of Hitler's American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law

My first two picks concern the inhumanities that White Americans perpetrated against Black people, and my second two picks concern the inhumanities that Nazis perpetrated against Jews, Roma, and others. My fifth pick brings both of these seemingly independent strands together. In it, Yale University historian James Q. Whitman documents how, during the early years of the regime, Nazi lawyers looked to racist American legislation as a model for the infamous 1935 Nuremburg laws, which were the first step down the road that led to Auschwitz. This short, eye-opening book leads readers to see how American racist values were not only bad in themselves, but also contributed to the most horrific genocide of the twentieth century.

Hitler's American Model

By James Q. Whitman.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hitler's American Model as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How American race law provided a blueprint for Nazi Germany

Nazism triumphed in Germany during the high era of Jim Crow laws in the United States. Did the American regime of racial oppression in any way inspire the Nazis? The unsettling answer is yes. In Hitler's American Model, James Whitman presents a detailed investigation of the American impact on the notorious Nuremberg Laws, the centerpiece anti-Jewish legislation of the Nazi regime. Both American citizenship and antimiscegenation laws proved directly relevant to the two principal Nuremberg Laws-the Citizenship Law and the Blood Law. Contrary to those who have insisted otherwise, Whitman…


The German Way of War

By Robert M. Citino,

Book cover of The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years' War to the Third Reich

Connects military gamblers from Frederick II to Hitler, demonstrating that “rolling the iron dice of destiny” (Bismarck) by starting wars they hoped would be short but even though they knew they could not win if they went long instead, was always the German national tradition. I learned a great deal from this key book about the irrationalities of decisions made to go to war, contrary to the assumption in most analysis that decision-makers weigh the odds with care. And how many wars are started with a roll of the dice and without a real plan to win them? Or at least, no Plan B once Plan A goes awry, as it always does. 

The German Way of War

By Robert M. Citino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The German Way of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For Frederick the Great, the prescription for warfare was simple: kurz und vives ("short and lively")-wars that relied upon swift, powerful, and decisive military operations. Robert Citino takes us on a dramatic march through Prussian and German military history to show how that primal theme played out time and time again.

Citino focuses on operational warfare to demonstrate continuity in German military campaigns from the time of Elector Frederick Wilhelm and his great "sleigh-drive" against the Swedes to the age of Adolf Hitler and the blitzkrieg to the gates of Moscow. Along the way, he underscores the role played by…


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