Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
La Place de la Concorde Suisse Paperback – April 1, 1994
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“McPhee, in showing us as many aspects of the Swiss Army as their famous knife has blades, has produced one of his books.” ―Edmund Fuller, The Wall Street Journal
“The Swiss have avoided fighting a war for almost 500 years. To preserve that enviable record of peace, they maintain one of the world's largest armies, on a per capita basis. This paradox . . . is the core of McPhee's engaging La Place de la Concorde Suisse.” ―Jack Schnedler, Chicago SunTimes
“Delightful . . . What McPhee saw and learned he writes about with his inimitable light touch.” ―Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times
“'Switzerland does not have an army,' says one of John McPhee's informants in La Place de la Concorde Suisse. 'Switzerland is an army' . . . McPhee put his reader inside Switzerland with elegance and insight.” ―Jonathan Steinberg, The New York Times Book Review
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
It's been said that Switzerland is not a country with an army, but rather an army with a country. McPhee shows us how the militia-army concept -- the every-citizen-as-soldier idea that has been emulated by Israel, for example -- plays out in the lives of Swiss citizens like Luc Massy, McPhee's host on a series of military training exercises. The exercises are more like camping trips for the soldiers, but McPhee shows that behind the breezy attitudes, national defense is a deadly serious business for the Swiss nation and people.
Switzerland's pastoral countryside may never look quite the same again, once you realize that nearly every bridge has been fitted with explosives, the faster to destroy them in case of invasion. That any snow-capped peak may hide artillery emplacements or entire squadrons of fighter jets. That a silent glacier (like the title Place de la Concorde Suisse) may become a front-line airfield at the first sign of trouble. And that, of course, most every farmhouse contains firearms and men and women trained to use them.
Since this book was first published in 1983, there has been a spate of books about the Swiss in World War Two. Coming as it did before that storm, 'La Place de la Concorde Suisse' is a useful way to get a feeling for the Swiss militia system, uncolored (pro or con) by the strong feelings that arose a decade or so later. I recommend this book to anyone interested in a look at Switzerland's unique national defense system in practice.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Entertaining and educational. What more could you want? A very good read.Published 10 months ago by William H. Plauth Jr.
This is the best book on the subject of the Swiss military in existence: a Swiss officer told me so! Read morePublished 13 months ago by c langridge
The usual well written McPhee book on the Swiss army. A fascinating account of a Switzerland that is far different than the Switzerland of cows and mountains, or the Switzerland... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Edward O. Wolcott
Written a long time ago by the incomparable John McPhee...for the Swiss a reminder of the military service we all had to do and how it interacted with our civilian lives for the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by J. T. Barbey
You will never view the Swiss Alpine meadows the same. Wonderfully informative and entertaining.Published 19 months ago by PBR
Pros: Entertaining, informative, short in length
Cons: Non-technical, superfluous use of language and words, didn't tell me as much as I wanted to know about Swiss... Read more
Amusing description of a peaceful landscape dotted with people's army just in the middle of Europe.
Switzerland moved along sice those times but Its description still stands... Read more
Excellent read, as is everything else he's written. This one written 30 years ago; needed it to replace copy I gave to a Swiss guest.Published on December 11, 2013 by Paul D. Ephraim