In this last book by the late Donald Pitkin, author of The House that Giacomo Built, comes a story of the Schorcht family, through whose fortunes and struggles one can see the transformations of Germany through the long twentieth century.
Each chapter of Four Germanys is reflective of generational rather than historical time. In 1922, Edwin Schorcht inherited his family farm, and in Part One, Pitkin traces the derivation of this farmstead. Part Two focuses on Schorcht’s children who came of age in Hitler’s Germany. Part Three has the Schorchts growing up in the Ulbricht years (1950–73) of the German Democratic Republic. The book concludes with the great-granddaughter, Maria, looking back to the past in relation to the new Germany that history had bequeathed her.
Ultimately, Four Germanys reflects the impact of critical historical events on ordinary East Germans while it also reveals how one particular family managed its own historical adaptation to these events.