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The Times Biography of the Year
Winner of the Hawthornden Prize 2019
Shortlisted for the HWA Non-Fiction Prize 2019
Longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019
Longlisted for the Cundhill History Prize 2019
Friedrich Nietzsche’s work blasted the foundation of western thinking. The death of God, the Übermensch, and the slave morality permeate our culture, high and low, and yet he is one of history’s most misunderstood philosophers.
Nietzsche himself thought that all philosophy was autobiographical and in this myth-shattering book, Sue Prideaux brings readers into the world of a brilliant, eccentric and deeply troubled man, illuminating the events and people that shaped his life and work. From his placid, devoutly Christian upbringing, overshadowed by the mysterious death of his father, through his lonely philosophising on high mountains, to the horror and pathos of his final descent into madness, Prideaux explores Nietzsche’s intellectual, emotional and spiritual life with insight and sensitivity.
The book is studded with unforgettable portraits of the people who were most important to him, including Richard and Cosima Wagner, Lou Salomé – the femme fatale who broke his heart – and his rabidly nationalist and anti-Semitic sister Elizabeth, who betrayed him by manipulating his texts and putting them to infinite misuse at the hands of the Nazis. Today, Nietzsche’s ideas continue to be adopted by both the left and the right. I Am Dynamite! is the essential biography for anyone seeking to understand the philosopher who foresaw – and sought solutions to – our own troubled times.
This is what every biography should be like - engrossing, intelligent, moving, often downright funny, and filled with insights and sharply observed details from an extraordinary life. Simply a blast.
A strikingly original portrait of Nietzsche and beautifully written.
‘Sue Prideaux’s I Am Dynamite!... is a gripping and supremely elegant biography of Nietzsche, whose work (largely ignored, misunderstood or cynically misappropriated in his lifetime) becomes more urgent with each passing year.’
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