Civil Wars

From L.A. to Bosnia

“A powerful book that should have considerable impact on those ready to leave ideological baggage behind.” —East Bay Express Books

In Civil Wars, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Germany’s most astute literary and political critic, chronicles the global changes taking place as the result of evolving notions of nationalism, loyalty, and community. Enzensberger sees similar forces at work around the world, from America’s racial uprisings in Los Angeles to the outright carnage in the former Yugoslavia. He argues that previous approaches to class or generational conflict have failed us, and that we are now confronted with an “autism of violence”: a tendency toward self-destruction and collective madness.


“Enzensberger moves inventively from philosophical contemplation . . . to biting commentary. . . . [His] distinctive mélange of despairing cynicism and shrewd irony makes us pay attention.”
The Toronto Globe and Mail
“Always clear, never reliant upon jargon, able to convey complex ideas without obfuscation, [Enzensberger's] prose and poetry are the witty, no-nonsense vehicle of a preeminent public intellectual.”
The Boston Phoenix
“Thoughtful and highly nuanced insights on the changes taking place since the end of Communism.”
The New York Times Book Review
“Brilliant. . . . A bracing polemic against the pretensions of Western politicians and intellectuals.”
The Nation

Books by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Zig Zag
The Politics of Culture and Vice Versa

Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Goodreads Reviews