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Xenophobe's Guide to the Germans Paperback – January 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Xenophobe's Guide
  • Paperback: 92 pages
  • Publisher: Oval Books (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906042330
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906042332
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Xenophobe's Guides which give a wickedly satirical look at the foreigners we love to hate... "
--Cambridge Evening News

"An enlightened new series, good natured, witty and useful. The Xenophobe's Guides to different nations deserves a real cheer. "
--The European
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

'Virtually all Germans have health problems, and if they don't, there must be something wrong with them.
Most of what ails them is stress related. No nation was ever more stressed, but this is understandable. After all, running Europe can take it out of you.'
Xenophobia is an irrational fear of foreigners, probably justified, always understandable.
Xenophobe's Guides - an irreverent look at the beliefs and foibles of nations, almost guaranteed to cure Xenophobia.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

Excellent book, but you cannot understand the Germans without "Feierabend".
Beat
They give very insightful comments about the uniqueness of the different cultures in a humorous manner that makes the information stick in your mind.
Sanfranmiss
I highly recommend for anybody visiting Germany or just wanting to better understand their German friends.
Greg Olson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I lived in Germany for over 3 years, and was a tour guide part-time, explaining aspects of German society to Americans. I saw first-hand a lot of the material in this book, written by transplanted Germans. While one may think the book generalizes too much, I can say my experience was the passion for Ordnung, Bildung, and Kultur are exactly as this book describes, and there is really is no concept of "small-talk" in German. Excellent for anyone who lives there or plans to visit.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jo' Chambers on March 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have read a few of the Xenophobe's Guides, and this so far is the best and the funniest. Maybe because I have lived here for the last two years, and experienced all the wonderful quirks and traits of the locals that I could relate to this book, but really, it is for everyone who plans to visit or live here, and of cause for the Germans themselves.
Natually, I didn't agree with all of it, especially the working atmosphere... It's really not as formal as written in the book, at least not these days, but much of the rest runs true.
A bit expensive for only 64 pages, but worth it for the laugh.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm a German working from time to time abroad (often in the UK). The book is written by two Germans working now for decades in the UK and explains the culture difference from a british point of view. I think it is a great insight on the attitudes, implicit policies and main motivations of Germans. Furthermore, it is very funny (I had to read it in one session and was laughing out loud most of the time). A must read if you plan to go to Germany!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 25, 1997
Format: Paperback
I am an American who has lived 22 years in Germany and can testify: this book may be funny, but it is TRUTH! It is an excellent cross-cultural guide. Enjoy a chuckle as you focus on the endearing foibles and frustrating traits of one of the most interesting peoples in the world! Must reading for any >>Anglo-Saxons<< contemplating studying, living or working in Deutschland!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By sauerkraut on March 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
The Xenophobe's Guide to the Germans is a small and concise paperback that I've read more than once. It talks about many aspects of German society. It's been written by two authors: Stefan Zeidenitz and Ben Barkow. This useful, gratifying guide is 64 pages long and covers a total of 17 topics--examples of some of these are beliefs and values, leisure and pleasure, culture, conversation and gestures, custom and tradition, health and hygiene, government and bureaucracy, and business. Subjects discussed that I especially find to be engaging are the ones dealing with Christmas, television, and eating. Anyone who's interested in learning about Germany, or planning a trip, should find this book to be worthwhile and helpful. The Xenophobe's Guide to the Germans is a good reference publication that I'm glad to have; it's one that I plan on reading again.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Helen Hancox on April 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
If only this book were longer. When it arrived I was rather taken aback - just 60 pages? Surely not! What can I learn about the Germans in 60 pages?

Quite a lot, as it turns out. This book launches straight in with a very amusing look at the Germans, giving a brief discussion of their history and how the German nation came to be and then detailing many of the quirks and habits of this fascinating nation. The authors give a few ideas how the Germans have been so successful, particularly in terms of literature and music (Goethe, Bach, Kant) but also show some of the angst and problems that the German nature can cause for the people.

The authors are both German although I wouldn't know that from their writing which is excellent, funny and seems to understand the Brits very well. They are also very able to poke fun at their own country (although they say this isn't something at which Germans are very adept).

With such a short book you can only really get a very brief introduction to German people but it's a very amusing overview and certainly made me think a number of times. We tend to think of the Germans as probably the closest to Brits in terms of personality and nature than other Europeans - this book shows that we might well be wrong in that opinion and it might just help us to understand them more when we visit.

Oh, and if you want a view of the Brits (and a much larger book) I can heartily recommend Kate Fox's "Watching the English".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
You *must* read this book, if you want to learn more about the strange nature of the germans, because you will find most of it in no other book. The book is full of prejudices - but they are all true (I can assure you, because I AM one of these strange people).
There are comments to nearly everything which is different in Germany, e.g.: Polishing cars, drinking beer, order & discipline, "everything is forbidden unless it is explicitly allowed", why you don't have a german word for "small talk", ...
Some germans will NOT like this book, because they don't like that somebody laughs about them. But I think, everyone who reads this book will understand their (sometimes strange) behaviour better.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Cravens on August 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for a laugh, and while I did laugh - quite a lot - I also finally had a confirmation from others of what I have experienced as an American living in Germany. Indeed, dogs are allowed most places in Germany -- restaurants, bars, shops, buses, trains, etc. (probably because they are quiet and far less smelly than children). Walking my dogs every day and taking them with me most places has helped me be accepted into this tiny German village quickly. This book also helped me illustrate for my German husband exactly why people from the USA and people from some other more "open" countries struggle here socially; he now does, at last, introduce me when we encounter a group of people he knows, specifically because the book said Germans don't do this and he finally realized how hard that makes it for an outsider. This is a must read if you are going to live in Germany for a while or do business with Germans. It's a book written with much humor, genuine affection, and great accuracy.
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