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Germany is the most important and powerful country in Europe. And yet it remains strangely little understood - by itself, as much as by the rest of the world. It is in a state of remarkable flux, confronting the demons of the past, whilst also seeking to make the West and the East into one country - a much greater challenge than it seemed. The coming enlargement of the European Union, which will bring much of formerly communist Eastern Europe into the EU, will make Germany more pivotal than ever. So what makes this country tick?
For decades after the Second World War, the country remained strongly polluted by the Nazi legacy; there was little attempt to confront the past. For today's younger generation, by contrast, Nazism was a weird aberration that they themselves have difficulty in understanding. The book will explore those changes, and how German society itself is still in the midst of enormous change.
The story takes us through three periods: Before the Poison (pre-1933), The Poison (1933-45) and - the heart of the book - the period of Coming to Terms, and the changes that this period has brought to the shape of the country. The coming to terms with the past overlaps, from 1990 onwards, with the East-West story, where mutual misunderstanding has been rife.