Günter Wallraff – At the bottom

My opinion on the book and my experience with racism

  1. What is the book about?
  2. What I liked
  3. What i did not like
  4. Has something changed?
  5. Conclusion

I finished the book yesterday and, contrary to what one would expect, I am not overwhelmed by this work, i was convinced that things are no different today.

What is the book about?

Günter Wallraff (the author) has dark contact lenses made and pretends to be a Turk (Ali). To see if this transformation is believable, he first goes to the pub, where he has been a regular until this day, and does various other tests.

I’ve seen video footage and really wondered how people did not realize he could not have been a Turk.

Anyway, Mr. Wallraff applies in different companies and writes down his experience “as a Turk”. His jobs include:

  • A farm
  • MC Donalds
  • Construction sites
  • Power plants

What I liked

Of course, I think it’s good that someone addresses the racist remarks and shows the world of racism to the public. This means with what sayings you have to deal as a citizen with a migration background. However, this is not limited to the Turks, but to all with a migrant background.

Also, I thought it was good, how Mr. Wallraff writes. I read the book and felt like I was watching a movie. The sentences are structured perfectly and the structure of the book is really great. You can follow all events very well and put yourself in the picture.

What i did not like

I thought it was a pity that in this book, Mr Wallraff had completely relied on these experiences to made by Turks. Here it is disregarded that the Kosovars, the Moroccans and the Kurds have exactly the same experiences.

For the racist Germans are just all foreigners in one nationality. In reality they have a problem with every Southerner.

What I thought was bad were the judgmental sentences. In order to further fuel the reader’s mood, Mr. Wallraff has consciously formed sentences that are intended to get you in the mood even more. However, I think that the rating should be left to the reader and the book should have been designed in such a way that the racist as well as the foreigner can read through it and form their own opinion.

Has something changed?

To say it in one sentence. No, nothing has changed. In 2010, ten years ago, I worked and saw things in Kinkartz (Lambertz) and heard sentences that were not so far from what I read in the book.

That’s why it did not take me that way either. Everything that is so dramatically portrayed in the book is still there today and nothing has changed.

When I talked to Germans about this book, it always came as an argument: back in 1980, that is not the case anymore. This has shown me more clearly in what kind of illusory world they live. I strongly assume that the Germans no longer see these conditions and therefore think that such a thing no longer exists.


The book is a nice collection of what foreigners in Germany have to endure … But who cares? Through the influx of all the refugees, these racists have even more slaves who can berate them and punish them with inhumane tasks.

If you want to read the book, you should realize that you will only feel anger and indignation and the book will last a long time. If you have already worked as a foreigner in German factories, nothing new will be there for you.

What I’ve most noticed in this book is that a citizen bothers and takes on the role of the state, which claims to be so loyal.


Books Experience Germany Opinion Psychology racism

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