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Danubia [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Simon Winder

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12. September 2013
Like Germania but better. This is the brilliant and entertaining companion to the Sunday Times top ten bestseller Germania. 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.


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Longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013 Praise for Danubia

“[Winder] never stops talking and rarely pauses for breath. Even then, however, you want to tell him: Forget about breathing and just go on talking. Danubia is a long book, yet this reader would not mind if it were longer still.” —Andrew Wheatcroft, The New York Times Book Review

“In a rollicking book that is part travelogue and part history, Winder takes up the unwieldy topic of the Habsburgs. The sprawling family empire ruled much of Europe for more than centuries, owing to a combination of 'cunning, dimness, luck, and brilliance.' From the Middle Ages until the end of the First World War, Winder writes, 'there was hardly a twist in Europe’s history to which they did not contribute.' Winder, whose best-seller Germania took a similar approach to German history, explores the story of the dynasty and the lasting imprint of its reign by travelling the expanse of its former empire and giving a lively account of his research. He is thorough and funny, and the book is rich with anecdotes and enthusiastic appreciation, and it includes a broad survey of the artifacts and landscapes that tell the story of the family that laid the foundation of modern Europe.” —Andrea Denhoed, Page-Turner, The New Yorker online

“Making five centuries of Habsburg history fun seems like a tall order, but Winder pulls it off. He entertains because he is entertained . . . With unrelenting wit—sometimes smirking but also self-mocking—he traces the Habsburgs’ fortunes . . . What gives the text verve is Winder’s ability to interweave the eccentric details of the Habsburgs themselves with an absorbing cultural history, driven by his exuberant passion for the lives and music of great composers and textured by his skillful physical descriptions of forgotten corners of the realm.” —Foreign Affairs

"With hearty dollops of humor in a unique blend of travel writing, historiography and speculation, Simon Winder remains clear-eyed and witty . . . Danubia is thick with scoundrels, dullards, the occasional wizard—and great art, architecture and musicians from Haydn to Mr. Winder's spiritual doppelganger, the mysterious Romanian Bela Bartok." —Carlo Wolff, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“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.” —Roger Boyes, The Times (UK)

“Winder is a puppishly 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. Winder says he researched it largely on foot, seeking out museums and castles, and listened to all 106 Haydn symphonies just to get in the mood . . . Miniaturist in its eye for detail, grand in its scope, it skips beats and keeps our attention all the way.”—Sarah Bakewell, The Financial Times

"Winder's amalgam of travelogue and personal history follows on from his bestselling account of Germany, Germania, and is similarly infectious in its enthusiasms. In pages of cheerful, slang-dotted prose, Danubia dilates knowledgeably on the Habsburg dynasty as it flourished along the river from its source in Bavarian hills through Austro-Hungary and the Balkans to the Black Sea . . . Danubia is a hoot and well worth reading." —Ian Thomson, The Independent (UK)

"[Winder] is an extremely interesting fellow and a very good writer . . . the journey is so interesting, exciting and very often laugh-out-loud hilarious . . . [a] glorious romp of a book." —Rosemary Michaud, Charleston Post and Courier

“[Winder’s] personalized, almost you-are-there view of history results in an arresting combination of anecdote and scholarly examination, where the interests of serious armchair travelers and devoted students of European history meet.” —Brad Hooper, Booklist

Praise for Simon Winder

“Winder is an entertaining writer, and an erudite one.” —Ian Brunskill, The Wall Street Journal
-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe .

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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Amazon.com: 3.9 von 5 Sternen  48 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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