What makes the Germans GERMAN: A wickedly satirical guide to understanding the quirks and traits of the Germans which dispels some preconceived notions about them and upholds others.
‘This book is extremely funny. It is written by Germans who are just as able to laugh at themselves as we Britons like to think we are. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was it is too short. I had to keep on reading even though I had other things to do. I live with a German and my daughter is German so I can say it is not a stab at Germans, it is a respectful appreciation of a genuinely funny book. Buy it and see. It is more funny the more you know about Germans.’ Reviewer from North Wales
‘As a German who has lived in London for 2 years, I think I am well qualified to congratulate the authors on their well balanced analysis of the German mind and culture. This is book is absolutely hilarious! The combination of British humour and German reality is absolutely perfect – it made a German laugh!’ Reviewer from Germany
‘Most AUSGEZEICHNET!! Oh my… I’m a Brazilian who just moved to London from Germany where I lived for 15 months and, after 13, I had a bad week and some friends introduced me to this wonderful masterpiece, which became our bible! We used to get together in my front yard with beer, snacks and the bible every time we had problems and used to laugh realizing how true the book is! Really, if you wanna understand the Ordnung, read the book!’ Review from a Brazilian in the UK
‘I am an American who has lived 22 years in Germany and can testify: this book may be funny, but it is TRUTH! An excellent cross-cultural guide. Enjoy a chuckle as you focus on the endearing foibles and frustrating traits of one of the most interesting peoples in the world.’ Reviewer from Frankfurt, Germany
‘Funny, but accurate, account of German Kultur and Volk. I lived in Germany for over 3 years and was a tour guide part-time, explaining aspects of German society to Americans. I saw first-hand a lot of the material in this book. While one may think the book generalizes too much, I can say my experience of the passion for Ordnung, Bildung, and Kultur are exactly as this book describes, and there is really is no concept of ‘small-talk’ in German. Excellent for anyone who lives there or plans to visit.’ Reviewer from Las Vegas
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About the author
Benjamin Nicholaus Oliver Xavier Barkow is a German of the old school. Born in Berlin in 1956, he spent his formative years lobbying to have a wall built through the city because he strongly disapproved of the way the Socialists pegged out their laundry.
With this achieved, he moved to Hamburg, but finding it such a well-ordered place, moved swiftly to London. What he found there has so appalled and fascinated him, he is unlikely ever to leave. After a tempestuous and Angst-ridden adolescence, he studied humanities (in the vain hope that some of it would rub off). For most of his adult life he freelanced as a researcher and writer. One published assignment was a history of the London Wiener Library. At the time, he had no idea that some years later he would find himself in charge of it.
Despite being a chronic sufferer of Kreislaufstörung, which no herbal remedy has yet cured, he soldiers on in the hope that one day he will understand why people don’t understand him; at which point he will take his Seele out of pawn, move to the mountains and begin work on his cherished project, Wagner, the Musical.
Stefan Zeidenitz is descended from an old German family of Anglophiles who sadly failed to catch the last Saxon long-boat to Britain by some fifteen hundred years.
He has compensated for missing the boat by immersing himself in Far Eastern studies and promoting Japanese culture in England, English culture in Germany and German culture in Japan. In consequence, his sense of direction is sometimes slightly distorted.
The effortless superiority he encountered while teaching at St. Paul’s School and Eton College has not yet superseded his Teutonic temperament. But he is working on it.
Links to make you laugh
Annual polls that rate which nations have the worst lovers always cause conternation to those ranked top. This year the Germans can kiss their reputation goodbye.