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Keeping Up With the Germans

Philip Oltermann

Keeping Up With the Germans: A History of Anglo-German Encounters by Philip Oltermann is a witty, entertaining account of England and Germany and the various historical encounters between them over the past century.

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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 Hamburg behind and move to London.

Inspired by his own experience of both countries, Philip Oltermann looks at eight historical encounters between English and German people from the last two hundred years: Helmut Kohl tries to explain German cuisine to the Iron Lady, the Mini plays catch-up with the Volkswagen Beetle, and Joe Strummer has an unlikely brush with the Baader-Meinhof gang.

Keeping Up with the Germans is a witty look at the lighter-side of Anglo-German relations over the last 100 years.


Philip Oltermann was born in Schleswig-Holstein but moved to England when he was 16. He has written for several English and German newspapers and magazines, including Süddeutsche Zeitung, Granta and the Guardian, where he now works as an editor.

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