Simon Winder is the author of the highly praised The Man Who Saved Britain and the Sunday Times top-ten bestseller Germania. He works in publishing and lives in Wandsworth Town.
A master of the art of making history both funny and fun . . .
Once again he brings Germany bouncing back to life -- Simon
Jenkins, author of A Short History of Europe
Lotharingia is a splurge of geographical toothpaste squeezed by modern France and Germany: a sensible piece of conflict management in the early days of the Holy Roman Empire, but now spewing over our modern boundaries in order to annoy those who idolise nation-states. Winder is our guide with delicious festive wit, and equal erudition -- Diarmaid MacCulloch * Tablet *
Weird and wonderful . . . [written by] a compendious mind that darts from the sublime to the ridiculous on every page. No Briton has written better than Winder about Europe. At a time when we might be tempted to turn our backs on our neighbours in exasperation at the hostility that Brexit has provoked on the continent, we could do worse than to read his three volumes to remind ourselves that we, too, are Europeans - not least in our love of horrible history -- Daniel Johnson * Sunday Times *
Simon Winder is a deft and gentle guide to the Franco-Dutch-German borderlands, which at various times have been the epicentre of major conflicts. There is so much fascinating detail in this book that it is hard to put down . . . -- Michael Burleigh, author of The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: A History of Now
Simon Winder has created a genre all of his own, the history-travelogue-memoir, which he uses adeptly to explore the hinterlands between France and Germany and their centuries of dynasties, discord and discontent . . . the reader emerges, blinking, to confront an essential truth: the ground beneath our feet is far less stable, and far more interesting, than had previously been imagined. -- Judith Flanders, author of The Victorian House and Christmas: A Biography
By making it pivotal to his trilogy and, in this book, by rescuing Lotharingia from historical oblivion, Winder looks afresh at the long arc of European history, with its perpetual interplay between defiant local units and grandiose attempts at unifying schemes. Even now, in the battles over Brexit and the future of the EU, we see those opposites at war. In that sense, we are all the heirs of Charlemagne -- Stephen Moss * Guardian *
The high plateau of my year was my catching up with Simon Winder. Danubia and Germania are an idiosyncratic, often funny fusion of history writing, travel writing and disrespect -- Sir Tom Stoppard * TLS *
Brings to mind PJ O'Rourke's Holidays in Hell or anything by Bill Bryson. Historians can be a dismal lot . . . Winder, in contrast, clearly loves writing; his enjoyment is evident on every page -- Gerard DeGroot * The Times *
A heady blend of jolly travel stories, weird German aristocrats, obscure baroque altarpieces and horrendous sectarian massacres. There are plenty of serious points here, but Winder never forgets that history is meant to be fun -- Dominic Sandbrook, The Sunday Times, Best History Books of the year 2019
Flat on the floor, England lies enlaced in the serpents of its own European nightmares. So it's suddenly important, perhaps helpful, to look closely at what English writers are saying about the continent they appear to be leaving . . . Simon Winder is better described as a traveler, almost an old-fashioned antiquary, who is enthralled by Europe's stories, rulers, and battered artifacts - cathedrals, castles, tombs, bomb-proof bunkers, and (constantly rebuilt) bridges . . . It's not so much history, as a long cultural tour, led by a brilliantly witty guide . . . There are a great many jokes and irreverent hoots, in case everything gets too earnest . . . -- Neal Ascherson, The New York Review of Books