Andrew Huddleston at the Times Literary Supplement:
One of the most interesting elements in Blue’s story is its charting of Nietzsche’s loss of faith, beginning in his middle teenage years. In his contributions to Germania, we don’t see outright atheism, but we do see a cautious movement to a more sceptical perspective. In one of his essays from this period, Nietzsche reflects on how difficult it can be to distance oneself from the tradition in which one has grown up, and to reflect on it in a critical way. This gives a nice hint of what, in the face of this difficulty, will become one of his most striking philosophical accomplishments: specifically his ability to step, insofar as possible, outside the Judaeo-Christian moral tradition and look at it as an anthropologist might, explaining how it gained traction and why it continues to retain it. Nietzsche pressed this still further, going beyond the role of anthropologist to that of philosophical “legislator”, concerned with the task of “revaluing” these hitherto revered values.
From Schulpforta, Nietzsche first moved to Bonn to study, then to Leipzig, where he did his doctoral training. While philology was his subject, philosophy was a strong side interest. He had ongoing doubts about whether he would be cut out for a career as a philologist, but his talent was evident to his teachers. Blue is particularly good in charting Nietzsche’s relationship to Friedrich Ritschl, a noted classicist who was Nietzsche’s supervisor in Leipzig. It was partly on Ritschl’s glowing recommendation that Nietzsche secured his first (and only) academic post, at the University of Basel.