Why the Germans Do it Better by John Kampfner review – in praise of the powerhouse

A veteran journalist’s even-handed hymn to Germany underlines why Britain will need its help in a post-Brexit world

Books about the contemporary state of a country are hard to pull off. They need to capture the sweep of recent history and sundry quirks of culture, while weaving in their author’s passions, aversions and contacts. Add to this the publisher’s requirements that anything currently written about Britain’s relations with Europe is framed polemically and the result is a title such as Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country.

John Kampfner’s polemic treads the accompanying line between curiosity and sententiousness. It taps smartly into the hunch that Germany has got a lot of things right that Britain has not, not least in the recent response to Covid-19.

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