Edition: Paperback
ISBN: 9780571240173
No of pages: 304

Other Editions: Paperback

Keeping Up With the Germans


In 1996, in the middle of watching an ill-tempered football match between England and Germany, Philip Oltermann's parents tell him that they are going to leave their home city of Hamburg behind and move to London.

A number of worrying questions arise. How will English schoolboys take to a lanky sixteen-year-old German? How do they think and do things differently? Are there values that English and German people share? And what is the secret of the famed British humour?

In search of answers, Keeping Up with the Germans interweaves memoir and history to look at ten historical encounters between English and German people from the last 200 years: political summits and football matches, chance meetings between poets and film stars, terrorists and philosophers. Helmut Kohl tries to explain German cuisine to the Iron Lady, Theodor Adorno clashes with A. J. Ayer over jazz, the Mini plays catch-up with the Volkswagen Beetle, Dada artist Kurt Schwitters rediscovers German Romanticism in the Lake District, and Joe Strummer has an unlikely brush with the Baader-Meinhof gang.

What emerges is nothing less than an alternative national story for the two countries: not one marked by military conflict and diplomatic hostility, but by influences, dialogues and comical misunderstandings.

Philip Oltermann: Keeping Up with the Germans by FaberBooks


Categorised as: Non-fiction
Sub-categories: Travel
Places: Germany
Genres & Themes: Rivalry; Sport; Culture; Nationality; Identity; Politics

Ghosts of Spain
Giles Tremlett

Spaniards are reputed to be amongst Europe’s most voluble people. So why have they kept silent about the terrors of the Spanish Civil War ...

The Dark Heart of Italy
Tobias Jones

In 1999 Tobias Jones emigrated to Italy, expecting to discover the pastoral bliss described by centuries of foreign visitors. Instead, he discovered a country riven ...

The Secret Life of France
Lucy Wadham

Lucy Wadham’s first work of non-fiction is a candid and funny account of her long and tumultuous love affair with France, her adoptive land ...

Turkish Awakening
Alev Scott

The eruption of protests in Turkey in June 2013 laid bare the tensions accrued over a decade of economically successful but increasingly autocratic rule by ...

Newsletter Sign-up

Keep in touch with all the latest news and events from Faber Social by signing up for the newsletter. Sign up here.

Free UK P&P

On orders over £25.00 (see conditions)