One of the most famous advertising slogans in history was conceived in 1971 and sold Audi cars for decades afterward. “Vorsprung durch Technik” means “progress through technology”, but much of the world came to translate it as “Germany works”.
The veteran foreign correspondent John Kampfner draws upon 40 years’ experience of the country for this excellent and provocative book. It is a British hypocrisy that we abuse and caricature Germany, yet buy its products by the ton. He suggests that among reasons for the Germans’ success, and our relative failure, is British arrogance, alongside their counterintuitive humility. The architect David Chipperfield, who has worked there for years, says: “Germans articulate anxieties we should all have.”