The Bells in Their Silence: Travels Through Germany
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The Bells in Their Silence: Travels Through Germany

2.88 of 5 stars 2.88  ·  rating details  ·  24 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Nobody writes travelogues about Germany. The country spurs many anxious volumes of investigative reporting--books that worry away at the "German problem," World War II, the legacy of the Holocaust, the Wall, reunification, and the connections between them. But not travel books, not the free-ranging and impressionistic works of literary nonfiction we associate with V. S. Na...more
ebook, 232 pages
Published January 10th 2009 by Princeton University Press (first published March 29th 2004)
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A truly moving book and one I enjoyed very much as I toured around Germany. Gorra's book is bit like "Reading Mann in Hamburg" but I loved the literature references and it helped keep reminding the readers of how vibrant Germany was in those inter-war years.
Gorra gets to the core of the thing - how can one write a travel essay about country with such a horrid past? The specter of Nazism and World War II are still there, along with the reminders of the country's division until the 1990s. This is...more
Early on in this book, the author states that no travelogues are written about Germany. Unfortunately, he doesn't really solve that problem even though the book's subtitle is Travels Through Germany.
He is an academic and large parts of the book are written like a textbook on the logistics of writing a travelogue. He also spends a lot of time dissecting German novels especially Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann. Not that much of the book is actually spent discussing the year he spent in Germany or the...more
Ira Therebel
This is a bit of an unusual travel book. It is an analysis on how hard it is to write a common travel book about Germany due to it's history of Nazism. I appreciated the different approach, analysis and reading his view.

The author has an amazing writing style that is a pleasure to read and makes one think.

Now, to the negative. I disagree with the author when he says that while there was cruelty in history of every culture the Holocaust is particularly German which makes it hard to disassociate t...more
great and beautiful meditations on germans, germany, and germaness,
I thought this would be a good book to read on the plane on my way over to England, but I didn't get to it until several days later. I was looking for some light reading on traveling in Germany, something like Bill Bryson's books. This author wrote well, and the flashes of his own doings were very interesting and entertaining. Unfortunately, the author is also an academic. I don't mind the occasional well placed quotations, but half a page at a time is a little much. And then there was the waxin...more
Jan 18, 2008 Emma rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: pretentious book reviewers/no one
This book is dry, filled mainly with critiques and quotes from many other books and contemplating how difficult it is to write a travel book about Germany. The little information or anecdotes the author does give usually only leads into 10 more pages of quotes and contemplating how difficult it is to write a travel book about Germany. The author lived in Hamburg, and that's what he mainly writes about. I don't get the feel he visited many other places.
A travel book but without the joy of Peter Mayle, Paul Theroux or Bill Bryton. Lots of references to history or authors of books set in Germany, but I wouldn't want to go there after reading this book if I hadn't already been there.
This is not exactly a travelogue..although there are several interesting things we will get to know. Perhaps, this is the problem with academics writing travelogues ;)
Good if you want to read the rambling musings of an author's mind. Very bad, indeed, if you're actually hoping for a travel writing about Germany.
Jonathan Hiskes
Didn't quite get into it, but he raises a great question: Why aren't their travel books about Germany, only books about "the German problem"?
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