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Why the Germans Do it Better

Notes from a Grown-Up Country

John Kampfner



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20 October 2020
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.
Edited by:   John Kampfner
Imprint:   Atlantic
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 225mm,  Width: 148mm,  Spine: 23mm
Weight:   461g
ISBN:   9781786499769
ISBN 10:   1786499762
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   20 October 2020
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

John Kampfner is an author, commentator, broadcaster and journalist. From 2008 to 2012 he ran Index on Censorship, from 2005 to 2008 he was editor of the New Statesman, and before that he worked for the Financial Times, the BBC and the Telegraph. He is a regular pundit and presenter for all channels on politics and foreign affairs and the author of four previous books.

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

Germany's success in tackling the great pandemic of 2020 has surprised many. John Kampfner shows why it should not have done so. This is a compelling account of how, in two generations, a country adopted the principles of liberal democracy, then mastered them, and now has more to teach us than we might wish to admit * Baroness Catherine Ashton, former EU High Representative and former Leader of the House of Lords * A fascinating, affectionate and deeply researched portrait of Germany in the modern era -- Kampfner vividly brings Germany's turbulent history to life, and explains its profound influence on Europe today. Why The Germans Do It Better is essential for all who want to understand what Britain should do post-Brexit. * Sir Anthony Seldon, author of May at 10 * There is plenty of good material here and the timing is impeccable. * TLS * Kampfner roams widely in Germany and has a reporter's ear for the telling anecdote. He knows his history too. * Lionel Barber, The Spectator * One of Britain's most distinguished political writers. * Mail on Sunday * Kampfner's admiration of what post-war Germany has achieved doesn't blind him to her imperfections. Why the Germans Do It Better abounds with sharp analysis and telling anecdotes. A lively, very readable introduction to a country we ought to understand a lot better than we do. * David Lidington * We need a great book on Germany as the Merkel era ends: this is that book. It confronts the country's history, and charts with authority and affection its modern course with lessons for us all. * Lyse Doucet, BBC Chief International Correspondent * A forensic and highly readable account of Germany's ability to get things right. Kampfner's clear and unanswerable argument should be compulsory reading for every politician, civil servant and commentator in Britain. * John Simpson * Smart, provocative and entertaining, this is a timely and enthralling love letter to our much misunderstood near neighbour. * Kay Burley * Passionate yet carefully argued, Why The Germans Do It Better is a must-read. * James Hawes, author of The Shortest History of Germany * A lively, affectionate portrait... A paeon to Germany. * Irish Times * Authoritative, timely and courageous, this is a compellingly readable book that raises profoundly important questions on history, our times and the future. * Philippe Sands, bestselling author of East West Street and The Ratline * A nuanced but compelling account... Kampfner marshals a convincing argument that other countries would be foolish to ignore Germany's emotional maturity and solidity. * New Statesman * A revelation of a book... with insights based on painstaking research and evidence gleaned from months crisscrossing the country... Kampfner's analysis is simply peerless. * Literary Review * A rich guide to modern Germany... For the British readers this book is directed at, the implied contrasts are startling. German conservatism produced Angela Merkel, easily the most respected democratic leader in the world, while the English variety produced Boris Johnson. * Guardian * A fine new book... One of the best English-language introductions in recent years to modern Germany and its politics: thoughtful, deeply reported and impeccably even-handed. * The Times * Excellent and provocative... a passionate, timely book. * Sunday Times *

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