During a pilgrimage to Germany with his father, Fred Kempe promised he would one day write about the country. Twelve years later, as a correspondent for The Wall Street Journal Europe, Kempe began a long journey of exploration in an attempt to answer questions that haunted him about his father's land: "How could such an apparently good people with such a rich cultural history have done such evil things? What causes evil, and what breeds good? After only half a century of reeducation and reconstruction, could the strength of German democracy and liberalism be as great as it seemed?"
While searching modern Germany for the answers to his philosophical questions, Kempe begins a parallel search for the roots of his own German heritage. He discovers more than he bargained for, and at the same time he learns a great deal about himself. The journey, which began as the fulfillment of a promise to his father, led Kempe to a greater understanding of his father's homeland.