At the end of the First World War in Germany the journalist and theatre critic Kurt Eisner organised a revolution which overthrew the monarchy and declared a Free State of Bavaria. In February 1919 he was assassinated and the revolution failed. But while the dream lived it was the writers the poets the playwrights and the intellectuals who led the way. As well as Eisner Thomas Mann Rainer Maria Rilke and many other prominent figures in German cultural history were involved. In his characteristically lucid sharp prose Volker Weidermann presents us with a slice of history – November 1918 to April 1919 – and shows how a small group of people could have altered the course of the twentieth century.