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Fifty Years of Europe: An Album Hardcover – November 11, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

Not just anyone could do justice to Europe and how it's changed over the past 50 years. It takes a person with the longevity and experience to have known Europe since the war, a sensitivity and intelligence to reflect with insight, and the eloquence to bring it alive. It was Jan Morris's book to write, and the world is richer for her having done so. Historian, travel writer, and novelist--Morris takes an intimate trip through Europe, from Trieste at the end of World War II to booking passage on the Chunnel train and contemplating a modern, united Europe. With her keen use of language, astute eye, and personal touch, Morris narrates engagingly the pride, pathos, and ironies of Europe.

From Library Journal

After a half-century of traversing Europe, which for her stretches from Iceland to the former Yugoslavia, travel writer and historian Morris (Fisher's Face, LJ 5/15/95) offers a chatty, nostalgic guided tour. Her book consists of hundreds of loosely organized, bite-sized recollections of people and places: sacred stones and rivers, tram lines and steamships?anything that defines part of European culture. Morris is especially interested in details that sharply illustrate changes between 1946 and 1996: the Channel tunnel (Chunnel), the opening of an Irish pub in Estonia, the growth of the European Union. Her fluid, leisurely wit shows no trace of condescension, for she finds something to like everywhere, even fondly remembering Soviet-style hotels in Lithuania. A sincere love of Europe's diversity radiates throughout. Recommended for popular history and travel collections.?Robert Persing, Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib., Philadelphia
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Villard (November 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679416102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679416104
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,159,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By bibliomane01 on August 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Jan Morris is one of my favourite writers. Historian of the British Empire and Venice, intrepid world traveller whose books are always enriched by well judged doses of historical detail, she has a fine direct style and an eye for the unusual. "Fifty Years of Europe" is described as an album because it consists of dozens of short essays and fragments written over a period spanning World War II to the nineties. Morris tries to lend some coherence to this collage by grouping the entries under thematic headings, but it's hard to escape the feeling that the book is an attempt to patch together bits and pieces from various writer's notebooks kept over the years. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, and Jan Morris is nothing if not a good raconteur, so the book provides plenty of browsing pleasure. Morris fans will enjoy it, but if you are a newcomer I would suggest that you start with her books on Oxford, Manhattan, Venice or (for history buffs) the magnificent Pax Britannica trilogy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
An extraordinarily informative and entertaining look at Europe's fascinatingly varied history and landscape. Not to be missed by anyone interested in things European, or indeed, in things human. This is part biography, part geography, part history and part politics. And it works on all levels. Read it! Please...
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Format: Hardcover
Whenever I read Jan Morris, I think of Haverford Downs, the octogenarian columnist in John Mortimer's novel "Summer's Lease", whose "Jottings" in a "New Statesmen"-like magazine consist of his rambling comments and opinions on anything that takes his fancy.

Morris is a real life Haverford Downs and this book is a mishmash of jottings on anything that comes into her head. The only common strand is that they arise from Morris's travels in Europe over 50 years.

Here is a sample of some of her whimsical subtitles so you will know what to expect: "Old hotels", "Growing old", "An interlude on flags", "A melancholy capital" and "Little spas". Need I say more?

How Morris gets away with this kind of thing is beyond me.

At times, the jottings are entertaining but they are impossible to take en masse and I recommend dipping into them from time to time. Or even better, find another more enjoyable book to read.
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