From Publishers Weekly
The author presents a short history of a rather complex idea that began around the year 1800. Though the United States was often viewed by the people of Germany as a land of opportunity, a portion of the intelligentsia, with which this book is principally concerned, tended to see the U.S. as the home of greedy hypocrites estranged from and envious of all higher culture. From the beginning of the Romantic period and throughout all the turnings of German history to the end of the Cold War, this theme was embellished differently in each era, but its essence remained remarkably unchanged. Diner has written a popularization of the subject for the nonprofessional reader, but the book is also valuable for presenting ideas that are not usually part of the political and cultural discourse concerning the U.S. The ideas are sometimes made murky by the translator, who unfortunately has retained too much of the phrasing and style of the original German, but the author's outlook remains accessible. It is of particular interest now that the former Iron Curtain countries have begun looking to Germany rather than to the U.S. as the model upon which to rebuild their societies. Foreword by Sander Gilman and illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Anti-Americanism is not an exclusively German phenomenon. But the German version tends to lead to contempt for and underestimation of the Americans... The merit of this book lies in revealing the disastrous results of anti-Americanism for Germany's history.... a provocative study." -- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"In his brilliant and refreshingly polemical essay, German-Israeli historian Dan Diner argues that the European consciousness uses America as a metaphor for the dark sides of modernism. The United States represents the negative counterpart to all West European societies, but the author finds an especially aggressive variant of this negative judgment in Germany, the roots of which he traces back to the Romantic period. The Romantics originated the idea of a fundamental difference between true "culture" [allegedly characteristic of German society] and mere "civilization" [allegedly characteristic of societies to the west of Germany], which has had a normative role in German intellectual and political history.... In this scheme of thinking, America stands for money, interests, and the stock exchange.... Anti-Americanism is a constant indicator for a German ongoing attempt to pull away from the West." --North German Broadcasting Corp.