Review: In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century
The book is a travelogue of the year that Dutch Journalist Geert Mak took to travel throughout the continent as last century came to an end. The concept of journey is extended also over time in an account of the main events that filled the hundred years. Written very much In Mak’s style, History is told as a collage of stories that cross, influence each other and follow their own path.
Be prepared to spend a long time with this book. Not because of all the pages it has, which are many, but because of the amount of events, persons and, above all, stories that will cross your eyes. Every chapter covers different episodes and, for me, it was hard to finish one and jump straight into the next one without allowing a few days to digest facts and feelings. If you’re like me, who had put some events on the “do not touch” drawer since history classes in highschool, be prepared to meet the darkest face of Europe (and humans, by extension) over and over. The Wars, Hitler, the Wall, Ireland, Yugoslavia… the list is long. But also to realize the relevance of a European union, its origins and architects’ dream; something particularly crucial in these days, when everything seems to be measured by the amount of euros that yields at the end of the year and the money seems to be in dismantling rather than in building Europe. Be prepared; after all, there’s a lot that can happen in a century.