To give initial credit to a singular study of a threateningly tiresome topic, it must be said that this is not just ""another book on Germany."" It is rather almost the book on the confusion of terms, i.e. the discredit, so-called ""national character,"" and equivocal world status that is attached to the name ""Germany."" Moreover, it was written by a German and has been a best seller in his own country and in the rest of Europe for the past three years. Well-qualified for such a discussion, the journalist-author knows his country--its history, culture, attitudes and fallibilities and he loves it - but with objectivity. In reply to a question asked by a group of five international friends-- ""Do you like being a German?"" -- he answers by handling every aspect of modern Germany's claims, fames, and infamies, without flinching. The historical and psychological reality of partition, economic spirals, sociological strata, reputedly German personal traits, a capsule history from Point Zero (1945) to the present, and even a loving travelogue across the map of Germany--nothing seems to have been left out, not even the materialistic apathy, the rage for order, and the seeming incapacity to be democratic. Leonhardt has conveyed how a German thinks and why and also the reasons for the way that others think about him. So that they may do so with increased understanding, this may be the book that makes it possible. First-rate source material and first-rate reading - definitely for general consumption.