Simon Winder is mesmerized Germany; its cuisine, its architecture, its fairytale landscape. He is equally passionate about the region's history, its folklore, its monarchs and its changing borders. Winder describes Germany's past afresh, taking in the story from the shaggy world of the ancient forests right through to the Nazis' catastrophic rise in the 1930s, in an accessible and startlingly vivid account of a tortured but also brilliant country. Germania is also a very personal guide to the Germany that Simon Winder loves. It is a map of the obsession that he has nurtured through many years of visiting the country. With a delightfully dry, self-deprecating wit, he explains the origins of his crazed love affair with a country which has at different times revealed the best and the worst aspects of Europe's culture. England and Germany, Winder suggests, are the mad twins of Europe, Protestant, aggressive, committed to eating some very peculiar food and with superiority complexes of a kind that have, for good and ill, reshaped the world. Germania is a rollicking account, replete with enlightening digressions, anecdotes and memories. Often eccentric, always entertaining, Winder is an enthusiastic guide to the hidden wonders of Germany.

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