While existing studies of twentieth-century German photobooks have understandably sought out volumes by the most iconic photographers, with the most innovative typography, or with the most radical political messages, no photobook series better documents the continuities and ruptures of modern German history than the conventional and highly commercial Blauen Bücher, published by Karl Robert Langewiesche starting in 1907. Die Schöne Heimat, first published in 1915, was the series’ best-selling title. By 1971, and the 619,000th copy, Germany had changed fundamentally, yet the book was still recognizable as the one dedicated to “those who have defended their homeland and ours” during World War I. The article explores the remarkable longevity of this popular but problematic publication.

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