Greg Nees, the author, is as
much German as American, growing up in a German family in eastern Pennsylvania
and spending thirteen years as a young adult in Germany. He starts out with a
review of modern German history. Nees then turns his attention to the major
German cultural themes: order, insider/outsider perception, clarity of thought
and expression, private versus public spheres, friends and acquaintances,
rationality, and the German sense of duty and obligation.
In the next chapter, the author illustrates how these cultural characteristics
structure German communication patterns. He notes particularly subtle but
significant differences between German and American communication styles and
outlines ways to avoid misunderstandings.
The final chapter, "Wertewandel: Creation of a New German Identity"
gathers together all of the puzzle pieces of the enigmatic German character and
attempts to fit them together into a picture of twenty-first century Germany.
As the author states, "In effect, Germany is in the process of reinventing
itself." This process is examined in the context of such issues as
multiculturalism, Germany in the European Union, the changing role of women,
and in the trend toward increasing individualism and Amerikanisierung
Germany: Unraveling an Enigma will be welcomed by anyone interested in Germany
or German culture. It will be especially valuable for students, managers, and
others living in Germany, along with anyone else wishing to understand the
dynamics of cross-cultural interaction between Germans and Americans.
About the author
Dr. Greg Nees is a consultant, trainer and facilitator in the field of
intercultural communication. His company, The German Connection, is a network
of intercultural experts helping major organizations adapt effectively to a
globalizing world. He has a Ph.D. in communication from the University of
Colorado and an M.A. in applied linguistics from the Johannes Gutenberg