In This Review

The Greenest Nation?: A New History of German Environmentalism
The Greenest Nation?: A New History of German Environmentalism
By Frank Uekotter
The MIT Press, 2014, 248 pp.

Today, Germany is the “greenest” of the world’s major economies, far ahead of the United States when it comes to environmental policy. Uekötter, who belongs to a new generation of environmental historians, explores why Germany -- a crowded nation of industrial exporters -- has produced one of the world’s most advanced approaches to environmental protection. The conventional view holds that Germans have been rich for long enough to develop (and afford) “postmaterialist” values and had, for a time, a strong and chic Green Party that surfed a global wave of environmentalism. Some of Uekötter’s evidence points in that direction. But his account demonstrates that even as the German Green Party faded, Germany continued to implement and maintain important environmental policies through fiscal and regulatory means, suggesting that the party and its historical moment has had a lasting impact on mainstream German politics.