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Danubia [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Simon Winder

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12. September 2013
For centuries much of Europe was in the hands of the very peculiar Habsburg family. An unstable mixture of wizards, obsessives, melancholics, bores, musicians and warriors, they saw off - through luck, guile and sheer mulishness - any number of rivals, until finally packing up in 1918. From their principal lairs along the Danube they ruled most of Central Europe and Germany and interfered everywhere - indeed the history of Europe hardly makes sense without them. Simon Winder's extremely funny new book plunges the reader into a maelstrom of alchemy, skeletons, jewels, bear-moats, unfortunate marriages and a guinea-pig village. Danubia is full of music, piracy, religion and fighting. It is the history of a dynasty, but it is at least as much about the people they ruled, who spoke many different languages, lived in a vast range of landscapes, believed in many rival gods and often showed a marked ingratitude towards their oddball ruler in Vienna. Readers who discovered Simon Winder's genius for telling wonderful stories of middle Europe with Germania will be delighted by the eccentric and fascinating stories of the Habsburgs and their world. Danubia was longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013.

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Danubia + Germania: A Personal History of Germans Ancient and Modern
Preis für beide: EUR 28,98

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'It combines history, travelogue and digressive personal essay. Winder is a puppyishly enthusiastic companion: funny, erudite, frequently irritating, always more in control of his material than he pretends to be, and never for a moment boring ... Danubia is a moving book, and also a sensuous one: we feel the weight of imperial coins, hear and smell the "medals and spurs clinking and everything awash in expensive gentleman's fragrances" as emperors and regiments meet at formal occasions ... Miniaturist in its eye for detail, grand in its scope, it skips beats and keeps our attention all the way' Sarah Bakewell, Financial Times 'A fresh look at a region and a dynasty of which most of us in the English-speaking world are quite ignorant' Guardian 'Memorably funny ... wonderfully readable and entertaining' Sunday Times 'Danubia is 500 years of Habsburg imperial history told in the style of a bumbling English detective, the kind of sleuth who appears to skirt around a knotty case and then disarmingly poses a penetrating question ... As with his previous work Germania, Winder describes this account as a "personal history", allowing him space for whimsy, for a great deal of Haydn, for careful analysis of paintings and the freedom to favour certain emperors because they were interesting people rather than political heavyweights. It all makes for an excellent, rich and amusing read' The Times, Book of the Week 'Danubia is a logical sequel to Simon Winder's quirky and delightful Germaina ... Political and military history supplies Danubia with its narrative line, but Simon Winder loves to explore the byways and odd corners of this rambling empire. He is excellent on architecture, painting and music. Never averse to putting himself at the centre of what he discovers on his travels, he has written a book that is every bit as entertaining and enlightening as Germania ... Anyone with an interest in a part of Europe and a section of history largely ignored in our schools and universities will find this book richly rewarding' Allan Massie, Literary Review 'Winder is an engaging host ... The Habsburgs were, latterly, authoritarian liberals. They survived by guile and luck, by sheer chance and cold expediency. With the exceptions of figures like Rudolf II, that melancholy devotee of the occult, there are few of them one can imagine a novelist wanting to explore. Yet Winder rightly enthuses over the contribution this odd political amalgam made to culture ... Danubia is astoundingly smart and negotiates the Scylla of elegy and the Charybdis of denunciation with expert skill. It's also damn funny, and includes dodos, the banning of cribs, cockatrices and the entire history of Europe' Stuart Kelly, Scotland of Sunday 'There is travelogue here, with vivid descriptions of Ukrainian towns, and Transylvanian villages. There are snatches of autobiography too, often anecdotal and whimsical, but sometimes filled with passion about his discoveries of art or music. The main quality of this book, however, is its humour, which sets it aside from the standard histories. To say that Winder is a jokey writer would not begin to do him justice ... And yet, and yet ... As the chapters roll past in their gales of hilarity, Winder manages at the same time to do something remarkably skilful, handling complex issues of geopolitics, national identity and cultural change with a deep and surprising thoughtfulness' Sunday Telegraph, Book of the Week

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Simon Winder is the author of the highly praised The Man Who Saved Britain and the Sunday Times top ten bestseller Germania. He works in publishing and lives in Wandsworth Town.

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Buchdeckel | Copyright | Inhaltsverzeichnis | Auszug | Stichwortverzeichnis
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Amazon.com: 3.9 von 5 Sternen  50 Rezensionen
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A great book 8. April 2014
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
How can one person have so much history and minutiae in his mind? I learned so much about the Habsburg lands which, as Winder points out, get less attention from English speakers than their Northern German speaking neighbors because the Empire never had a truly antagonistic relationship with the UK or the USA and they barely fought during the major wars even when members of opposing alliances. Winder has written a truly engrossing, serious yet frequently hilarious narrative from a non-academic viewpoint. These sort of books are rare. Usually non-academic history is either at best breezy and popular or long form cliff-notes. I wish there were more people like Winder that could write similar history/ travel books like Danubia. In fact, I wish there were more people like him in real life that I could talk to about this stuff.

The style of the book is somewhat original (or depending on your point of view idiosyncratic). I can imagine some readers will not appreciate the sudden changes in focus from a panoramic view of the grand stage of European History to a minute discussion of some museum piece or work of art. For example he goes from discussions of urbanization's effect on Nationalism in the late 19th Century to a description of a guinea pig village in a zoo in Budapest. The reader has to use his mind to find the links which I am sure exist, but nevertheless is not a mental exercise that I feel has much urgency nor resonance for the average contemporary reader. Danubia defies easy categorization and it's a book about a somewhat obscure section of Europe for most English speakers produced in an age when interest in foreign lands and their history seems to be in decline. For these reasons I think this even though Danubia is one of the great books of the last decade it will sadly make little impact and be read by only a small number of readers. Knowing this fact and that it would be difficult to find people with whom to discuss the book was the only negative of this fine work.
44 von 57 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen A very clever book... 28. Oktober 2013
Von Wayne Robinson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
But far too clever for me...

Beware; the title states 'Danubia. A Personal History of Habsburg Europe'. With emphasis on 'Personal'. Much of the book deals with the author's visits to places mentioned in the history and his personal reactions. And discussion of his reaction to the music and literature of the times and area.

There's a lot that's worth reading, such as the penultimate chapter dealing with the collapse caused by the Great War. There's also a lot of padding, which is tedious to read. And also careless errors, such as the statement that von Schlieffen died in 1906 (he actually retired then and actually died in 1913).

The book, at least in the eBook version, would be considerably improved if the author had set up a website with photos of the locations he describes. And provided links to the website in the text.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Fated to END ! 11. April 2014
Von Gerald - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Winder pens a historical travelouge, a perfect history of the Habsburgs, who squated over
Central Europe for centuries,,, odd people, clinging to antiquated ideas, WInder takes you to
Galicai, BOhemia, Slovakai, Vienna, Brno, Prague and Krawkow. a perfect history, rich, colorful,
violent, only beef is needs MORE MAPS ! buy this and book a trip to Budapest !
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Entertaining trip through the world of the Habsburgs 12. Februar 2014
Von kathleen krasity - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
HIdden inside the Soviet block for many years, this part of Europe has a forgotten history that is very relevant to our world today.

Winder's points out the dangers of petty nationalism while still engaging the reader in a lively history of a very dangerous part of the world.

The fact that two of my grandparents were born in the realm of the Habsburgs makes it all the more interesting to me.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Personal More Than History 11. Juni 2014
Von John M. Stack - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
You need to have a lot of factual knowledge about the Habsburgs to appreciate fully this author's feelings and impressions of them. You'll learn more about the author than the supposed subject. Interesting but not informative.
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