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When in Germany, Do as the Germans Do: The Clued-In Guide to German Life, Language, and Culture Paperback – July 19, 2002
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From the Back Cover
Enjoy Germany and its culture without feeling like a Dummkopf
Do you want to blend in when visiting Berlin? To feel like you belong in Bavaria? When in Germany, Do as the Germans Do makes it simple! If you long to navigate the narrow streets of an Alpine village unnoticed or go to a movie in Munich without turning heads, transform yourself from a typical tourist into a connoisseur of culture. With this crash course in German customs and heritage, you'll avoid embarrassing blunders and enrich your travel experience.
Packed with almost one hundred articles, this handy collection of cultural dos and don'ts covers a broad range of topics, including food, art, pop culture, politics, business, entertainment, home life, history, and education. In these pages, you'll find authoritative answers to questions such as:
- At a restaurant, should I find my own table or wait to be seated?
- What is a suitable topic for small talk with a stranger in Germany?
- Are gas stations open on Sundays?
- What Goethe novel swept the world in the 1770s?
- Where do Germans get their fascination with the American Wild West?
- Can I use an ATM card in Germany?
With light-hearted quizzes, cool Internet addresses, and up-to-date insights into all aspects of German culture, When in Germany, Do as the Germans Do will delight everyone from students and tourists to armchair travelers and trivia buffs.
About the Author
Hyde Flippo is a German teacher, author, and online guide for the About.com site on German language.
Top Customer Reviews
Hyde Flippo has written another interesting book about German ways, for Americans planning to go to Germany. It is a good follow-up to "The German Way". Sometimes writers of travel books try to provide insights that turn out to be misleading. Mr. Flippo, however, is neither travel writer nor dilettante and seems to know Germany well.
The book begins with a series of questions to test one's knowledge of things German. Despite having once lived in Germany, having traveled there several times recently, and being particularly interested in the German language and culture, out of the first ten questions, I could answer only three correctly.
The German washing machine is a case in point. Any American who has ever tried to do laundry at a German laundromat has discovered differences in the process. For starters, there hardly are any German laundromats. Next, a German washing machine may have a two-hour wash cycle, it uses hotter water, since it heats its own, and it spins the laundry to a near dry state.
Regarding the German language, Mr. Flippo cites a number of English sounding words commonly in use that Germans think are English words, which are not. A couple of examples are "die Basecap" which means "baseball cap", and "der Talkmaster", which refers to a "talk show host".
Flippo touches on other "Germanisms" which I have encountered. One is the idea that drinking tap water is unhealthy and should be avoided. A waitress I encountered in Austria explained that although it was okay for Americans to drink tap water that it was not good for Germans and Austrians.Read more ›
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a quick and entertaining introduction to German Life, Language, and Culture. But to someone who has already been to Germany, has an understanding of Deutsche Kultur, and/or is studying German I would recommend keeping an open mind to how limiting this book can be. Let me elaborate:
While the book does a superb job of starting with a quiz (and most Germans love quizes) and provides the quiz answers in the back, has supporting articles and web-sites throughout the book, and even has a map of the 16 Budesländer (federated States) it comes short of being Comprehensive or Authoritative.
What I had found when I used this book (quiz) with my friends and relatives in Germany is that:
a) Some answers may be debatable (section on 'Do As the Germans Do' and 'Know What the Germans Know').
b) Some statistics may have changed (section on 'Time,' 'Quantity' and 'Laws and Regulations') since the time Hyde Flippo wrote the respective articles.
In real life, Germans as a people are not as homogeneous as they come across when answering the quiz questions and reading the articles in this book. Many Germans identify first with the region (Bundesland) where they live in. Each region has their own traditions, festivals, and many time different public religious holidays (like the Catholic states in the southern part vs. the Protestant States central/northern Germany). As such, someone from Thüringen will answer some questions differently than someone from Berlin or someone from Hamburg. Nevertheless the sections on 'People,' 'Places' 'What's That?' are invaluable to anyone.
A companion book that I would recommend is Richard Lord's "Culture Shock - Germany, A Guide to Customes and Etiquette."
I bought this book as a gift for a friend. Browsing through it myself I found that some things pointed out in the book are on-spot (for example the "Sie und Du" section on how to address people, or insights on dining out).
However, some things covered in the book describe a Germany of 100 years ago (the "Hauptmann von Koepenick" episode, while factually correct, fails to point out that today's Germany fortunately has little resemblance to the Prussian-style military culture of yore described here).
And the chapter on "Kehrwoche" - purportedly an institution of cleaning the hallway in front of one's apartment - is an urban legend to me. Visitors to the town of Stuttgart have told me that they heard of people subjected to such neighborhood rituals. But in all my years in Germany I have never had anybody confirm such facts to me so it is a regional oddity at best. And again the author fails to put this into proper context, thus making today's Germans seem like some cleanliness-and-orderliness-obsessed oddballs to a much greater degree than they deserve.
So while there is some truth in all hyperbole I encourage you to buy a book written by somebody who has seen more than one or two cities and who has been to Germany recently.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Is nearly 16 years old. And in a country changing as fast as the unified Germany that is a lot of change. Maybe be more history than 2016 reality.Published 2 months ago by Forester_Mark
Got this for my son and DIL for Christmas. They are heading to Germany in March. They love it.Published 19 months ago by Cheryl Squares
OK book for preparation to go to Germany. Germany is booming and Berlin is back for real, finally. Every book and every internet site can help in some manner for your trip to... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Walter F. Billings
We gave it as asgift for friends traveling abroad for the first time. They loved it.Published 22 months ago by Opa Tom