A European Journey in War and Peace
A chance encounter with an American WWII veteran leads John Gimlette, the award-winning travel writer, on an astonishing journey through France, Germany and Austria.
By the end of World War II much of Western Europe was in chaos. The future of our world had been contested here, in the hinterlands of France and across the German plains. But what's become of the battlefields now? Or the people that lived on them? And is there any trace of the 2.7 million Americans who smashed their way into the Reich (or the 12 million that followed)? With questions like these, the award-winning travel writer John Gimlette, guided by WWII veteran Putnam Flint, sets off on an astonishing journey into the past.
“A very special piece of travel writing. To journey past familiar European landmarks with someone who knew them in the post-war chaos of the 1940s is both moving and illuminating ”
Tim Butcher, author of Blood River
“Gimlette has a gift for travel writing with details of the most intimate kind, the small change and ammunition of a soldier's life... A subtle book, with telling testimony from the survivors of what it was actually like to fight a war with few rules”
Hugh Thomson, Independent
“An important book, reminding us of the links between old and new world, ideals and ideologies, war and peace in our phoenix-like continent. It is at once raw and erudite, deeply moving and strangely leisurely. It's also rich in black humour and insight”
Rory MacLean, Guardian
“An original travel book, written in vigorous prose and exhaustively researched... it has at its heart a profound understanding of the "soup" - the chaos and madness - of war”
“As a born traveller and writer, he takes an epicurean pleasure in place and language”
Tom Fort, Sunday Telegraph
“One of the quirkiest, most thoughtful and illuminating books to have come my way in a long time... Gimlette ranges far beyond his original remit into adventurous realms all his own”
“A book that works on many levels - historical guide, social history, moving reunion of people and place - and does each superbly”
“Travelling back through the final stages of the war... Gimlette discovers what happened to the battlefields, to the people who smashed their way across the continent, and to those who lived in the carnage... Gimlette is an assured enough writer to reveal a very different contemporary Europe, constructed on the smouldering ruins of its predecessor”