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Lotharingia: A Personal History of Europe's Lost Country

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Following Germania and Danubia, the third installment in Simon Winder's personal history of Europe 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 Following Germania and Danubia, the third installment in Simon Winder's personal history of Europe 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.


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Following Germania and Danubia, the third installment in Simon Winder's personal history of Europe 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 Following Germania and Danubia, the third installment in Simon Winder's personal history of Europe 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.

30 review for Lotharingia: A Personal History of Europe's Lost Country

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    detailed book in continued series looking at different parts of Europe this book looks at Lotharingia the lost part which had been split into different places over the years but has keep Europe in check. the book itself can make history seem funny and good but felt the author had done a good job in so much information to deal with.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Hans Luiten

    De boeken van Simon Winder..Soms word je er gek van (wat is de rode draad?) en dan smul je weer van de meest prachtige anekdotes over Doornik, gekke Duitse vorsten en Franse tombes. Kan ik nog zo’n boek aan van hem? Maar gaat weer mee op vakanties om in iedere stad anekdotes terug te zoeken, net als bij Danubia en Germania

  3. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    Have Wikipedia at the ready. The thinking man’s Bill Bryson.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I bought this book on a whim. During my master's degree, I studied the inception of Lotharingia during the Carolingian era of early Medieval Europe. I usually only buy books after extensive research, but I simply could not pass this one up due to the subject matter. To start with: it was absolutely an enjoyable read, and I would rate it 3,5 stars if I could. Simon Winder is a witty writer and manages to elucidate the byzantine history of the region in a clear way. Despite having studied part of i I bought this book on a whim. During my master's degree, I studied the inception of Lotharingia during the Carolingian era of early Medieval Europe. I usually only buy books after extensive research, but I simply could not pass this one up due to the subject matter. To start with: it was absolutely an enjoyable read, and I would rate it 3,5 stars if I could. Simon Winder is a witty writer and manages to elucidate the byzantine history of the region in a clear way. Despite having studied part of its history and having lived in the Netherlands all my life, nearly every page was filled with facts and tidbits of information that I had not learnt before. There are only two reasons why I did not give this book four or five stars. While Simon Winder writes with clarity once he finds a subject to focus on, the book itself meanders from subject to subject and region to region without any (to me) clearly defined themes and transition from theme to theme. That said, it did not disturb me all that much. Once I accepted this, I just went with the flow and allowed Simon to guide me through his vision of Lotharingia. My second issue is not necessarily Simon Winder's fault, but my own expectations of the book based on what was told on the back cover and the sparse amount of book reviews I managed to read while googling the book in the store. I expected the book to focus more on Simon Winder's travels and observations throughout the area, interspersed with tidbits of history and lore. I felt the book lacking in that regard, even though I was supremely interested in the author making observations about the modern towns, countries and regions and comparing them to their ancient forebears. If Simon Winder ever decides to write a book that is partly inspired by, say, Bill Bryson while keeping his current wit and esteemable talent for telling history it would probably garner five stars from me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diarmid

    This is the third in a loose trilogy, following Germania: A Personal History of Germans Ancient and Modern and Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe. Having covered the history of Germany and the history of the German speakers of Austria and the East of Europe, Lotharingia is the history of those areas of Europe where German speakers and Romance speakers meet, from the Netherlands and Belgium, through Luxembourg and Lorraine, and down to the borders of Switzerland. Like the previous boo This is the third in a loose trilogy, following Germania: A Personal History of Germans Ancient and Modern and Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe. Having covered the history of Germany and the history of the German speakers of Austria and the East of Europe, Lotharingia is the history of those areas of Europe where German speakers and Romance speakers meet, from the Netherlands and Belgium, through Luxembourg and Lorraine, and down to the borders of Switzerland. Like the previous books, Lotharingia is subtitled 'a personal history', and is often wandering and anecdotal. Winder focuses more on the curious and interesting than more traditional histories, and much is based on what he has come across during his travels. Some readers may find that doesn't work for them but I found Lotharingia, like the two previous books, entertaining, amusing and often fascinating. I thought Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe was better, partly because the Habsburgs gave it more of a structure and a centre, but all three books are well worth reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mackay

    Having loved Danubia, I had to read Lotharingia as soon as I saw it in the book store. As with the previous volume, this is a quirky, chatty, erudite excursion into the lost corners and back alleys of European history, this time concentrating on the swath that runs from the Low Countries through some of the Rhine Valley, the Franche Comte, and into Switzerland. Of course, it is not all "back alleys," as Winder covers the well known (Charlemagne, the Duke of Alva) as well as the less known, makin Having loved Danubia, I had to read Lotharingia as soon as I saw it in the book store. As with the previous volume, this is a quirky, chatty, erudite excursion into the lost corners and back alleys of European history, this time concentrating on the swath that runs from the Low Countries through some of the Rhine Valley, the Franche Comte, and into Switzerland. Of course, it is not all "back alleys," as Winder covers the well known (Charlemagne, the Duke of Alva) as well as the less known, making connections all the way which enlighten and also amuse. Winder is an excellent "travel" companion, and part of the delights of this book are his personal anecdotes, his love of art (one could wish the book had been more lavishly illustrated!), and his easy, pleasing way with the English language.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Max

    Ik verwachtte 'harde' geschiedenis in een toegankelijk jasje. Een duidelijke uitleg wie wat waar wanneer, zodat de achtergrond, vorming en latere ontwikkeling van de regio Lotharingen enorm zou gaan leven. Dat alle poppetjes en hun beweegredenen een duidelijke plaats zouden krijgen. En dat ik met enthousiasme weer een vakantie in deze regio zou gaan plannen. Echter, dit boek is een beetje warrige combinatie van recensies van museabezoeken en uitweidingen van trivialiteiten, waardoor een strakke g Ik verwachtte 'harde' geschiedenis in een toegankelijk jasje. Een duidelijke uitleg wie wat waar wanneer, zodat de achtergrond, vorming en latere ontwikkeling van de regio Lotharingen enorm zou gaan leven. Dat alle poppetjes en hun beweegredenen een duidelijke plaats zouden krijgen. En dat ik met enthousiasme weer een vakantie in deze regio zou gaan plannen. Echter, dit boek is een beetje warrige combinatie van recensies van museabezoeken en uitweidingen van trivialiteiten, waardoor een strakke geschiedkundige lijn ontbreekt. De vorming van Lotharingen en opsplitsing wordt in bijzinnen slechts deels uitgelegd, waarbij van hot naar her in de tijd wordt gesprongen, en eigenlijk alleen over museumbezoeken wordt gepraat. Niet bij te houden. Wat een deceptie. Dit boek heeft mijn 100-pagina regel niet doorstaan, dus niet verder gekomen dan ongeveer pag 100.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tom Janson

    Thoroughly enjoyable and an incredibly interesting read about the region historically known as Lotharingia. Even though the writer has written a trilogy of three books about the areas of the Habsburg Empire, Germany and Lotharingia, I would be very happy if he would tackle the area of Prussia-Pomerania or the history of Poland in addition or even, Switzerland in a stand alone book although I realise that these are huge undertakings. One last point - I think the writer excels in communicating to an Thoroughly enjoyable and an incredibly interesting read about the region historically known as Lotharingia. Even though the writer has written a trilogy of three books about the areas of the Habsburg Empire, Germany and Lotharingia, I would be very happy if he would tackle the area of Prussia-Pomerania or the history of Poland in addition or even, Switzerland in a stand alone book although I realise that these are huge undertakings. One last point - I think the writer excels in communicating to an English language audience very new and different angles of considering German and European history such as the the fixation of French and German dynastic rulers over the control of both banks of the Rhine which are not really conveyed or really investigated by traditional English speaking historians when considering the history of Germany or France. An excellent read!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gerard De bruin

    3 1/2 ster eigenlijk. Winder (van huis uit uitgever) is de Bill Bryson van de Europese geschiedenis. Geïnformeerd maar af en toe zo 'geestig' dat het irritant wordt. Alles wordt in malle vergelijkingen en overtreffende trappen verteld. Hij ziet overal het mooiste, het beste en aarzelt niet zichzelf en zijn gezin in de strijd te gooien. Na een paar honderd bladzijden maakte dat voor mij de lezing nogal moeizaam. 'Daar heb je hem (vrouw, dochters, schoonfamilie) weer.' Maar wel een zee aan informat 3 1/2 ster eigenlijk. Winder (van huis uit uitgever) is de Bill Bryson van de Europese geschiedenis. Geïnformeerd maar af en toe zo 'geestig' dat het irritant wordt. Alles wordt in malle vergelijkingen en overtreffende trappen verteld. Hij ziet overal het mooiste, het beste en aarzelt niet zichzelf en zijn gezin in de strijd te gooien. Na een paar honderd bladzijden maakte dat voor mij de lezing nogal moeizaam. 'Daar heb je hem (vrouw, dochters, schoonfamilie) weer.' Maar wel een zee aan informatie in een aantrekkelijke ordening gepresenteerd. Als Bill, sorry Simon, mocht kiezen dan vertrok hij met zijn gezin naar Leiden. Elke dag wandelen in die geweldige Hortus! Daar kan ik het dan wel weer van harte mee eens zijn.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Frank Jacobs

    A bit too chatty and personal at times, Simon Winder nevertheless is the perfect guide to Lotharingia - if only because he invented the country himself, sort of. 'Lotharingia' describes the vestigial middle part of the Carolingian Empire, the other two eventually giving birth to France and Germany (countries which would spend much of their history fighting over what remained of the middle). Fittingly, this is the last of a trilogy. 'Germania' and 'Danubia' hereby go on the Christmas wish list.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Collin Mickle

    Another outstanding accomplishment from Winder, to go alongside Germania and Danubia on my bookshelves. I'm seeing a lot of references to these books as a "trilogy," but I hope Winder just keeps going. The world needs "Iberia," "Italia," "Polonia," "Baltica," "Celtia," and so forth!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Megan Cashen

    Surprisingly funny. There are so mane people to keep track of that the reader end up giving up pretty early on. Once you stop trying to keep the various people straight you realize the absurdity of the whole thing is the point.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dada Vinci

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dieter Moitzi

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Lininger

  16. 4 out of 5

    Zeba Clarke

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robert Heath

  18. 4 out of 5

    Katherine McIntyre

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elzbieta

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ana Wong

  21. 4 out of 5

    Caleb Abner

  22. 4 out of 5

    George

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sophia Harms

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lindz

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hugh Tullner III

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Dooney

  28. 5 out of 5

    Evan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vasily

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ruben Fuchs

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