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Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country

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A provocative and entertaining exploration of the country that Britons love to hate by one of our most respected journalists. Emerging from a collection of disparate city states 150 years ago, no other country has had as turbulent a history as Germany or enjoyed so much prosperity in such a short time frame. Today, as much of the world succumbs to authoritarianism and democ A provocative and entertaining exploration of the country that Britons love to hate by one of our most respected journalists. Emerging from a collection of disparate city states 150 years ago, no other country has had as turbulent a history as Germany or enjoyed so much prosperity in such a short time frame. Today, as much of the world succumbs to authoritarianism and democracy is undermined from its heart, Germany stands as a bulwark for decency and stability. Mixing personal journey and anecdote with compelling empirical evidence, this is a searching and entertaining exploration of the country many in the West still love to hate. Raising important questions for our post-Brexit landscape, Kampfner asks why Germany has become a model for others to emulate, while Britain still languishes in wartime nostalgia and fails to tackle contemporary challenges. Part memoir, part history, part travelogue, Why the Germans Do It Better is a rich and witty portrait of an eternally fascinating country.


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A provocative and entertaining exploration of the country that Britons love to hate by one of our most respected journalists. Emerging from a collection of disparate city states 150 years ago, no other country has had as turbulent a history as Germany or enjoyed so much prosperity in such a short time frame. Today, as much of the world succumbs to authoritarianism and democ A provocative and entertaining exploration of the country that Britons love to hate by one of our most respected journalists. Emerging from a collection of disparate city states 150 years ago, no other country has had as turbulent a history as Germany or enjoyed so much prosperity in such a short time frame. Today, as much of the world succumbs to authoritarianism and democracy is undermined from its heart, Germany stands as a bulwark for decency and stability. Mixing personal journey and anecdote with compelling empirical evidence, this is a searching and entertaining exploration of the country many in the West still love to hate. Raising important questions for our post-Brexit landscape, Kampfner asks why Germany has become a model for others to emulate, while Britain still languishes in wartime nostalgia and fails to tackle contemporary challenges. Part memoir, part history, part travelogue, Why the Germans Do It Better is a rich and witty portrait of an eternally fascinating country.

30 review for Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    this is a modern essay/book looking at modern Germany as it reaches its 150th anniversary in 2021 and how it has had to cope with post war rebuilding and reunification in 1990 and how the German nation has reacted and dealt with different issues. well worth reading and get a balanced view.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eliska Herinkova

    I have loved this book since the first pages. Despite me spending the majority of my life in continental Europe, all I knew about Germany was the general information. This book provides a great overview of Germany, especially since the fall of the Iron Curtain. Explains the German position, nature, and attitude to life. Compares, understands, and analyses. I found the comparisons with the UK especially helpful. Some people might see this book as slightly controversial and might not be fond of it I have loved this book since the first pages. Despite me spending the majority of my life in continental Europe, all I knew about Germany was the general information. This book provides a great overview of Germany, especially since the fall of the Iron Curtain. Explains the German position, nature, and attitude to life. Compares, understands, and analyses. I found the comparisons with the UK especially helpful. Some people might see this book as slightly controversial and might not be fond of it as it sometimes appeared to be critical of England, however, the amount was just right to hopefully don’t offend anyone. Other than that, a wonderfully written catchy book, which provides a lot of information and explains the journey Germany took since the reunification.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa D

    Enjoyed the book but the title is a bit misleading This is a fascinating account of post-war Germany right up to and including COVID 19. It’s a very balanced account with both positive and negative comparisons between Germany and the rest of the world, particularly the UK. Germany is not as well developed as the UK on support for women in the workplace, its trains don’t run on time and its infrastructure is tired and badly in need of investment. This is a good book but I could only give 4 stars Enjoyed the book but the title is a bit misleading This is a fascinating account of post-war Germany right up to and including COVID 19. It’s a very balanced account with both positive and negative comparisons between Germany and the rest of the world, particularly the UK. Germany is not as well developed as the UK on support for women in the workplace, its trains don’t run on time and its infrastructure is tired and badly in need of investment. This is a good book but I could only give 4 stars because, from the cover and the title, I was expecting something a bit lighter - 10 reasons why the Germans do it better and a chapter on each - maybe with one set in the bedroom! I felt I’d been hoodwinked into reading a much better book but I’m glad I did.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Igor Zurimendi

    Enjoyable and rich in information: happily doesn't belabour comparisons to Brexit Britain.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Roberto Bago

    I like it as it gives me a good feeling of the society that I live as a foreigner, especially about east and west and the contemporary history of Germany, however, I feel that he was a bit bias regarding Germany, as he lived outside of Germany, like so many people who live outside the country, has kind of good feeling about his homeland over, the title was kind of differen about the content, but recommend it

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Montgomery

    Fantastic detail of life in Modern Germany. Makes a strong case for German society yet doesn’t shy away from its shortcomings. A serious study of Germany despite the slightly flippant title. Accessible and highly readable narrative with real journalists touch. Highly recommended

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lukasz Lukomski

    My previous view of Germany was built on scraps of knowledge from various sources. It was enough to build a mostly envious image I presented to whoever wanted to listen. This book confirmed most of my preachings. Living in Covid/Brexit Britain behaving worse than a drunk uncle at the end of the wedding makes me wish we had a plan.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rafa Willisch

    I will quote John Simpson BBC World Affairs Editor who said of the book "A forensic and highly readable account of Germany's ability to get things right. This should be compulsory reading for every politician, civil servant and commentator in Britain"....and in many more countries in the World!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Corey Rigley

    This book is a very good exploration of Germany's progress as a country. The author details the impact of World War 2 on the country and how it effects the psyche and values of German people to this day. It investigates how Germany handled reunification - the issues that arose but also the remarkable solidarity of its people - German people payed a tax to get East Germany up to speed with the West. Merkel's leadership is examined in detail and her impressive place in the world making strides in This book is a very good exploration of Germany's progress as a country. The author details the impact of World War 2 on the country and how it effects the psyche and values of German people to this day. It investigates how Germany handled reunification - the issues that arose but also the remarkable solidarity of its people - German people payed a tax to get East Germany up to speed with the West. Merkel's leadership is examined in detail and her impressive place in the world making strides in the fight for liberal democracy, to improve the future of the environment, dealing with the challenge of Russia, China and recently Trump's erratic leadership of the states. Germany is a most impressive country, which of course like every country has its flaws. But coming from Ireland, I admire the social cohesion of its people, its ability to form great companies, both international and local, and its ability to prioritise the environment and the well being of its people, not to mention how it demonstrated a huge welcome to so many immigrants / refugees from Syria. If more countries could display maturity and leadership like the Germans, the world would be a better place.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris Dodd

    An really thoughtful and insightful book on a country that is challenging for many British people. Although Kampfner is a fan of Germany and the way it has re-invented itself after the Second World War, he is not starry eyed. He is very critical of many things that have and are happening in Germany. But he does see merit in the 'German way' and he finds interesting contrasts with the way other countries have handled similar problems. I certainly found out things I did not know and it has given m An really thoughtful and insightful book on a country that is challenging for many British people. Although Kampfner is a fan of Germany and the way it has re-invented itself after the Second World War, he is not starry eyed. He is very critical of many things that have and are happening in Germany. But he does see merit in the 'German way' and he finds interesting contrasts with the way other countries have handled similar problems. I certainly found out things I did not know and it has given me a different perspective on a variety of issues. It is also well written in any easy style that is clear and precise, stimulating and thoughtful without being academic.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alfred

    An excellent portrayal of Germany surprisingly accurate and precise foot a non German writing it. Besides well written and captivating! A must read for culture students of German.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Federico Fregosi

    Intetesting!!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tim Newell

    Well argued presentation and analysis. I can see why so many are seeking citizenship

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sido Scholten

    Great book, very insightful, not only on German matters, but also on European and global affairs, including Covid-19.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Batchelor

    Really enjoyed this book. As an expat living in Germany, it gave context and substance to much of what I’ve experienced living here.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lynnychen

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ian Greener

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bhushan

  19. 5 out of 5

    peter randall

  20. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mark Schmidt

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mariana Rodriguez

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bueld Wolfgang

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rheinlaenderin

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alex chilton

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aidan Anderson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Petras

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kedar Kulkarni

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alison Muntz

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