MixedNew StatesmanClubbe’s biography is a thorough account of Beethoven’s inspirations, collaborators, and his turbulent times. It frames his work with political events and makes a compelling argument for their impact on the man. But it does not explain his genius. His body of work is so huge and forbidding—that \'complex greatness\'—that it makes sense to view it through a lens, whether of his deafness or political views. But in doing so we create our own deafness: we see the man rather than hear the music.