Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Germania - Simon Winder

Germania is, surprisingly, a history of Germany. The thing is though, it's not told from a stuffy, rigorous perspective but instead is told in an easy and humorous manner by the author. It is at times irreverent and long-winded, but it is always entertaining and illuminating.

Winder is a man obsessed with all things German. Ever since a childhood holiday in Germany, he has been fascinated by this country that sits at the heart of Europe, but which yet took so long to solidify into a coherent sovereign state. Winder mixes descriptions of favourite locations around Germany with a very liberal dose of history, and a unique perspective on the Germans. The book stops just shy of WWII as the author clearly does not feel comfortable with this dark period in German history. However, the book stretches back in time to the Romans, thus covering a significant period of time.

The book is peppered with laugh out loud comments and observations, but when finished reading, I realised that I had also absorbed a large amount of factual knowledge. If only all historical writing was this captivating.

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