Other Sellers on Amazon
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.
Follow the Author
La Place de la Concorde Suisse Paperback – April 1, 1994
Enhance your purchase
Inspire a love of reading with Amazon Book Box for Kids
Discover delightful children's books with Amazon Book Box, a subscription that delivers new books every 1, 2, or 3 months — new Amazon Book Box Prime customers receive 15% off your first box. Sign up now
Frequently bought together
“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
- ASIN : 0374519323
- Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reissue edition (April 1, 1994)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 168 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780374519322
- ISBN-13 : 978-0374519322
- Item Weight : 6.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.42 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #339,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This is NOT just a book for men; it is for anyone with an inquisitive mind who enjoys McPhee's prose!
Between discussions of the everyday life of Swiss men engaged in the Swiss Army either as short-term duty or lifelong calling, McPhee weaves in discussions about WWII plans for a Nazi invasion, or, more appropriately today, invasion by a foreign enemy or the explosion of a nuclear bomb. Still, demonstrating that neutrality is not the result of inaction, but the result of choice, the tone of the book becomes serious at times - especially when discussing the fact that the Swiss are ready to blow up any bridge or any mountain tunnel or even the city of Basel -- but does not deviate into heavyhanded visions of apocalypse that might be considered poor taste at any apres ski dinner table.
If Disaster Preparedness - in this time of earthquakes, tsunamis, and terrorist threats - will ever become mainstream in America, it must be handled lightheartedly in the Swiss Way...except, perhaps, it should come up not in hushed whispers, but during the rowdiness of a tailgate party, amid beer, hot dogs, and casual friends. This is a book that can be recommended to everyone.
Perhaps the book's popularity is maintained by word of mouth, year in year out, by readers having served in Zurich or Geneva with a bank, an international organisation or NGO based there. Again why?
Perhaps to warn their friends that Switzerland is not a normal country: As John Mc Phee writes, most countries have an army, but only the Swiss army has a country. The Swiss army is described as a totally vigilant entity, despite peace during the past 500 years. Strategic bridges and passes are mined, high mountains hide untold military resources. Army recruits are thoroughly trained, then sent home with their rifle and ammunition, and recalled for 2-3 week every year for quite serious exercises (well described by the author) until well into their forties.
A review should not reveal the best parts of a book. So read about the effects of WW2 firestorms in Germany on Swiss building codes, how foreign military attachés were shocked by the Swiss air force during an exercise, how a lowly employee can command his boss during annual military exercises, as reservists.
This is a wonderful little book based on talking with real Swiss. Mc Phee takes part in one such annual military exercise and his principal (but not only) resource person is a Swiss vintner. No book references, just people talking.