'A gem of a book, informative, companionable, sometimes funny, and wholly original. MacLean must surely be the outstanding, and most indefatigable, traveller-writer of our time' John le Carre
In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell. In that euphoric year Rory MacLean travelled from Berlin to Moscow, exploring lands that were - for most Brits and Americans - part of the forgotten half of Europe. Thirty years on, MacLean traces his original journey backwards, across countries confronting old ghosts and new fears: from revanchist Russia, through Ukraine's bloodlands, into illiberal Hungary, and then Poland, Germany and the UK. Along the way he shoulders an AK-47 to go hunting with Moscow's chicken Tsar, plays video games in St Petersburg with a cyber-hacker who cracked the US election, drops by the Che Guevara High School of Political Leadership in a non-existent nowhereland and meets the Warsaw doctor who tried to stop a march of 70,000 nationalists. Finally, on the shores of Lake Geneva, he waits patiently to chat with Mikhail Gorbachev.
As Europe sleepwalks into a perilous new age, MacLean explores how opportunists - both within and outside of Russia, from Putin to Home Counties populists - have made a joke of truth, exploiting refugees and the dispossessed, and examines the veracity of historical narrative from reportage to fiction and fake news. He asks what happened to the optimism of 1989 and, in the shadow of Brexit, chronicles the collapse of the European dream.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 686 g
Dimensions: 234 x 153 mm
[A] gripping book, part-travelogue, part contemporary history of Europe ... MacLean is an accomplished writer; his immersive prose crackles with wit and wry humour, and captures scenes and personalities with aplomb -- Daniel Beer * Guardian *
This is a timely book. It addresses the challenges of a fractious and fractured Europe ... MacLean is a compassionate writer, and he balances his stories of men and women of power ... with those of the dispossessed -- Sara Wheeler * Spectator *
This is a tremendous thing that MacLean is creating; a new kind of history, in several dimensions and innumerable moods, that adds up to - across the span of his books - a great and continuing work of literature -- Jan Morris
[An] eye-opening travelogue ... Sometimes darkly funny, often surprising and always compelling -- Tom Hawker * Wanderlust *
A gem of a book, informative, companionable, sometimes funny, and wholly original. MacLean must surely be the outstanding, and most indefatigable, traveller-writer of our time -- John le Carre
No one writes quite like Rory MacLean -- Robert Macfarlane
MacLean combines vivid reportage with unabashed soapboxing. The result is an engrossing travelogue that's both trenchantly observant and deeply felt * Publishers Weekly *
A triumph ... MacLean paints a convincing portrait of a Europe in turmoil -- Hugh MacDonald * Herald *