Literary Advent Calendar: December 9, 2021

Writer and Journalist Simon Winder wrote a nonfiction trilogy about the history of Europe. He is a witty, insightful and sarcastic writer. If you like history and are looking for a unique nonfiction series to get lost in for 2022, then I recommend Simon Winder’s trilogy about European history.

Book 1 – Germania: In Wayward Pursuit of the Germans and Their History

Germania 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. 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, and “a book you will return to time and again” (The Florida Times-Union).

Book 2 – Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe

For centuries much of Europe and the Holy Roman Empire was in the royal 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 the House of Hapsburg. Danubia, Simon Winder’s hilarious new book, plunges the reader into a maelstrom of alchemy, royalty, skeletons, jewels, bear-moats, unfortunate marriages and a guinea-pig village. Full of music, piracy, religion and fighting, it is the history of a strange dynasty, and the people they ruled, who spoke many different languages, lived in a vast range of landscapes, believed in rival gods and often showed a marked ingratitude towards their oddball ruler in Vienna. Readers who discovered Simon Winder’s storytelling genius and infectious curiosity in Germania will be delighted by the eccentric and fascinating tale of the Habsburgs and their world.

Book 3 – Lotharingia: A Personal History of Europe’s Lost Country

In 843 AD, the three surviving grandsons of the great emperor Charlemagne met at Verdun. After years of bitter squabbles over who would inherit the family land, they finally decided to divide the territory and go their separate ways. In a moment of staggering significance, one grandson inherited the area we now know as France, another Germany and the third received the piece in between: Lotharingia. Lotharingia is a history of in-between Europe. It is the story of a place between places. In this beguiling, hilarious and compelling book, Simon Winder retraces the various powers that have tried to overtake the land that stretches from the mouth of the Rhine to the Alps and the might of the peoples who have lived there for centuries.


With this fun history series you will get lost deep within the intricate layers of European history. If the series helps you forget about the world’s turmoil for just a few hours, then even better.

Bonus: In this video, Mr. Winder briefly explains what Germania is about.


Happy Holidays!

Published by

Jane

Writer, blogger, bibliophile, tea connoisseur, happiness-seeker.

One thought on “Literary Advent Calendar: December 9, 2021”

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