Keeping Up With the Germans

Philip Oltermann

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 grew up in Schleswig-Holstein and studied English and German literature at Oxford University and University College London. As a journalist he has written for Granta, the London Review of Books and the Guardian, for whom he is the Berlin Bureau Chief. He is the author of Keeping Up with the Germans (2012) and tweets at @philipoltermann. He now…

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