America in the Eyes of the Germans: An Essay on Anti-Americanism

The author presents a short history of a rather complex idea that began around the year 1800. Though the United States was often viewed by the people of Germany as a land of opportunity, a portion of the intelligentsia, with which this book is principally concerned, tended to see the U.S. as the home of greedy hypocrites estranged from and envious of all higher culture. From the beginning of the Romantic period and throughout all the turnings of German history to the end of the Cold War, this theme was embellished differently in each era, but its essence remained remarkably unchanged.

Diner has written a popularization of the subject for the nonprofessional reader, but the book is also valuable for presenting ideas that are not usually part of the political and cultural discourse concerning the U.S. The ideas are sometimes made murky by the translator, who unfortunately has retained too much of the phrasing and style of the original German, but the author’s outlook remains accessible. It is of particular interest now that the former Iron Curtain countries have begun looking to Germany rather than to the U.S. as the model upon which to rebuild their societies.


Dan Diner, author (Hebrew University and the University of Leipzig) is the author of ten books on both German and non-European history.

Sander Gilman, foreword teaches at the University of Chicago and is the author of Jewish Self-Hatred.

Allison Brown, translator has translated German scholarly books and essays since 1988. Her main fields of interest include history, art, and the social and political sciences, especially women’s and cultural studies. She has an MA in translation science and is certified by the state of Berlin to translate official documents into English.