Why the Germans Do it Better

By John Kampfner

This book is subtitled ‘Notes from a Grown-Up Country’, which is telling in itself. If ever a book delivered more than its title promised, this might be a recent exemplar. It’s a revealing view of Germany’s growth, particularly after the fall of the Iron Curtain – peering into the shadows of cultural and societal influence that, inevitably, clouded the sky after the second world war. Kampfner’s analysis of German thinking and attitude to life might not seem to be compelling reading but, somehow, it is. He makes careful comparisons with the UK and shows the impact of having a recently-created constitution. History – the Germans dealt with their past decisively and the curriculum is thorough to a fault – immigration, climate change, foreign policy, culture in general and (brining us right up to date), how the Germans have dealt with the Coronavirus. Striking. Impressive. And thoroughly re-readable.

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