Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Germania

Germania

In Wayward Pursuit of the Germans and Their History

Simon Winder

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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A UNIQUE EXPLORATION OF GERMAN CULTURE, FROM SAUSAGE ADVERTISEMENTS TO WAGNER


Sitting on a bench at a communal table in a restaurant in Regensburg, his plate loaded with disturbing amounts of bratwurst and sauerkraut made golden by candlelight shining through a massive glass of beer, Simon Winder was happily swinging his legs when a couple from Rottweil politely but awkwardly asked: "So: why are you here?"

This book is an attempt to answer that question. Why spend time wandering around a country that remains a sort of dead zone for many foreigners, surrounded as it is by a force field of historical, linguistic, climatic, and gastronomic barriers? Winder's book is propelled by a wish to reclaim the brilliant, chaotic, endlessly varied German civilization that the Nazis buried and ruined, and that, since 1945, so many Germans have worked to rebuild.

Germania is a very funny book on serious topics—how we are misled by history, how we twist history, and how sometimes it is best to know no history at all. It is a book full of curiosities: odd food, castles, mad princes, fairy tales, and horse-mating videos. It is about the limits of language, the meaning of culture, and the pleasure of townscape.

EXCERPT

Chapter One
From the land of gloomy forests »
Roman Germans » An alligator far from home »
I'll have some green sauce with that » The medieval car park
From the land of gloomy forests
There can be few better times to think about...

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About the author

Simon Winder

Simon Winder has spent far too much time in Germany, denying himself a lot of sunshine and fresh fruit just to write Germania. He is the author of the highly praised The Man Who Saved Britain (FSG, 2006) and works in publishing in London.

Simon Winder

© Justine Stoddart

Simon Winder

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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