On Germany

Giles MacDonogh

A panegyric on Europe’s dominant country and its startlingly heterogeneous people.

Bibliographic Details
On Germany Hardback
June 2018£20.00
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At the close of the Second World War, Germany was an undisputed pariah. Seventy-three years later, it has become the moral beacon of the Western world.

On Germany is a refreshing portrait of the German nation in its present state, viewed through its recent history. In 1945, the country was as good as finished, but it took advantage of the Cold War and the ‘Economic Miracle’ to rebuild and join the family of Western nations once more.

Giles MacDonogh tells the captivating story of Germany’s rebirth, from defeat to gradual rehabilitation, including milestones such as West German NATO accession and founding membership of the future EU. He charts the excitement as the Berlin Wall fell, and the painstaking work that followed: stitching ‘the two Germanies’ back together again, ultimately to become an economic colossus and a world leader in soft power.

The fruit of thirty years’ close study, On Germany is more than a political narrative. It is rich with observations on German life, arts, religion, education, food and drink; it probes Germany’s relations with other countries, its deep-rooted provincialism, its attitude to outsiders, and, above all, its profound fear of its own dark history.


Giles MacDonogh is an acclaimed historian and sometime food, wine and travel writer. This is his fifteenth book and his eighth on Germany. Previous works include biographies of Frederick the Great and the last Kaiser, histories of Berlin and Prussia, and a bestselling book on the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. He lives in London.


‘Giles MacDonogh has repeatedly shown himself to be in the front rank of British scholars of German history.’ — The Spectator

‘A fascinating romp through German history — engaging, honest and personal — that unfolds like a fine after-dinner conversation with a particularly erudite friend.’ — Rory MacLean, author of Berlin: Imagine a City

‘Giles MacDonogh’s splendid little book draws on his extensive historical insight and personal experience of mainland Europe’s most important country. This highly personal and quirky work deftly intertwines human stories, superb anecdotes and historical-political set pieces, garnished with food and drink, to remind us of why Germany continues to intrigue us.’ — Brendan Simms, Professor of the History of European International Relations, Cambridge University, and author of Britain’s Europe: A Thousand Years of Conflict and Cooperation