Agthe, the author of Shadows of War - A German Life in the
Century of Extremes, was born in Germany in the Province of
Thuringia, where he grew up and went to school in Weimar. He
was nine years old when the Second World War started and fifteen
when it ended. He watched the beginning of the cold war in
Berlin where he studied business administration and economics, first
in East and then in West Berlin. He first came to the U.S. in
1956 as a part of an international post graduate study program at
the University of Indiana School of Business in Bloomington.
In 1976 he moved to the United States and became a U.S. citizen.
After a long career as an international executive, he is now retired
and lives in Florida and Connecticut, interrupted by frequent visits
to Europe. Klaus Agthe has written numerous books and
articles, both in English and German on business strategy and
management, corporate organizations and cost control.
War - A German Life in the Century of Extremes, is a very
personal history, covering three generations of Agthes during the
most turbulent times of the 20th century, often called "the century
of extremes." From World War I and II through the Cold War,
Klaus Agthe reflects on the influences, causes and results, on
himself and his family and on Germany as a whole. This is not
a history book in the commonly understood sense. Rather, the
book reflects one man's experience, in his private and professional
lives, from the 1930's through the beginning of the 21st century.
Agthe's life bridged the deep divide between the two Germany's that
emerged from the Second World War. While his parents and most
of his friends remained in the east, Klaus Agthe went to West
Germany, via West Berlin, before such a move became impossible.
He juxtaposes his experiences with those of the ones who remained
behind, including a retelling of the story of his school friend
Guenther, who's path led him to eventually work, not entirely
voluntarily, for East Germany's feared secret service, the "Stasi".
This comparison of the different paths that lives can take, based on
just a few fundamental decisions, is a most poignant reminder that
global politics can have a profound influence on a very personal