The Sunday Times - Isabella Thomas
Click here to read Isabella Thomas' article.
The Daily Telegraph - Noel Malcolm
Click here to read Noel Malcolm's article.
The Daily Telegraph - Michael Moorcock
Click here to read Michael Moorcock's article.
Sue Baker in Publishing News: ‘When you’re reading to a deadline, a hulking manuscript of over 800 pages is enough to sink the spirits. “This better be good,” you mutter, knees buckling under the weight as you sit down to read, and read, not dreaming that, by the end, you’d wished it twice as long and that, in fact, 800 pages were too few. Geert Mak’s book is a quite brilliant concept … A breathtaking work.’
‘an ingenious geographical-chronological structure… a big, original and pleasant user-friendly book, enlivened by bits of first-person narrative and some sharp observations of the present. Mak has a wry sense of humour and a nice turn of phrase…It’s impossible not to get drawn into this book.’
Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph
’fascinating, informative, sometimes exhilarating, often painful, and quite impossible to summarise…Mak is a true journalist, a reporter with a keen eye for country and cityscapes, for the oddities of human behaviour…a wonderfully rich journey through time and space, packed with vivid images, enlivened by conversations and stories. This is a splendidly panoramic picture of our common European home, a book to read through and then to dip into frequently…I thoroughly recommend his book.’
Literary Review, rev Allan Massie
‘On one level, In Europe is the ultimate pub quiz reference book, on another a compassionate exposure of a world full of terror, hope, disaster and refinement.’
Jeffrey Taylor, Sunday Express
‘His books have been garlanded with awards in his native country and won acclaim abroad: Amsterdam, his concise history of his home town, was lauded by Irvine Welsh as ‘magnificent’ and ‘more than essential’…The pace rarely slackens and every page sparkles with insight…It is a people’s history, yet one that does not shy away from the bigger questions posed in the wake of two world wars…The real achievement here is not the unearthing of these nuggets of anecdotal history, but the skill with which Mak sets them in context.’
Interview by Gordon Darroch, The Herald
‘Moving across a vivid historical landscape, his portrait of Europe, in all her bloody barbarism and civilised glory, helps us confront exactly what we need to know….a timely book, and one we can’t afford to ignore.’
Michael Moorcock, Daily Telegraph
‘His book has a photographic quality, at times resembling a selection of stills…In Europe is not so much a work of history, nor is it strictly a travelogue of the present; it is part of a growing genre that is sometimes referred to as the ‘history of the present’, but might just as well be the ‘presence of the past’. It is undoubtedly a spectacular and beautifully crafted piece of such writing’.
Isabella Thomas, Sunday Times
‘a broader travelling history of the whole of Europe’s 20th century. As befits a journalist with an eye for bad news, he also has much more to say on its calamitous first half than on its more successful second half… Mr Mak tells this part of the story vividly and in great, gory detail, moving from grim fields of battle (Verdun, Stalingrad) to places of revolution (Petrograd, Berlin), and on to ghastly charnel-houses of death and destruction (Auschwitz, Dresden)’.
‘This is a magnificent book which depicts history as a living beast whose breath can be felt in every stone, building and field and, as such, is a story that belongs to every inhabitant of a continent too often torn apart by conflict’.
Claire Allfree, London Lite
‘The book is a subtle study, dealing in moods, not discourse. It is, after all titled ‘In Europe’, not ‘On Europe’
Eben Harrell, Time Magazine
"Man liest Geert Maks Reise durch die europäische Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts und denkt: Hätte man doch nur einmal die Macht, einen Kauf zu befehlen."
"Geert Mak reist quer über den Kontinent und lässt dabei das 20. Jahrhundert wiederauferstehen. ... Der Lokaltermin als Stilmittel: Auf diese Weise sprengt Geert Mak die üblichen nationalen Debatten und Geschichtsdarstellungen; sein Reisebericht wird zu einem Geschichtsbuch für Europäer....wenn Europa sich finden will, so muss man reden, reden, reden - und Bücher lesen wie die von Mak."
"Jeder Stein hat für ihn ein Gedächtnis, und Mak landet immer wieder beim Alltag der kleinen Leute, weshalb sich sein Buch eben doch gehörig von der traditionellen Ereignisgeschichte unterschiedet."
"Ein grandioses Leseabenteuer. ... Dieses kluge Buch will man erst aus der Hand legen, wenn die letzte Seite verschlungen ist."
„Was Geert Maks 'Geschichtsprosa' auszeichnet, das ist sein Vermögen, historisches Material mit geschichtlichen Tiefbohrungen vor Ort zu Verbinden und Oberflächen transparent zu machen, indem er Menschen sprechen lässt oder einfach die Natur beschreibt.“
„Maks Darstellungsweise garantiert eine oft spannende, gelegentlich betroffen machende, aber die Neugier des Lesers stets wachhaltende und dessen Kenntnisse spielerisch erweiternde Lektüre.“ Johannes Willms / Süddeutsche Zeitung
Mak is as incisive a historian as he is a travel writer. This makes his book a magnificent read for anyone who wants to know more about the history of the twentieth century, but has no idea where to begin. (…) In Europe is never long-winded. It is one of those rare examples of a long work of non-fiction that moves the reader from start to finish.
Geert Mak criss-crosses the continent and in so doing, brings the twentieth century back to life. Visiting the ‘scene of the crime’ as stylistic device: in this way, Geert Mak transcends the usual national debates and historiographies. His travel narrative is a history lesson for Europeans. If Europe ever wants to find itself, we will have to talk, talk, talk to one another—and read books like this one of Mak’s.