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Of Walking in Ice: Munich-Paris, 11/23 to 12/14, 1974

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,071 ratings  ·  240 reviews
In the winter of 1974, filmmaker Werner Herzog made a three week solo journey from Munich to Paris on foot to visit his ailing friend, film critic and historian Lotte Eisner. During this monumental odyssey through a seemingly endless blizzard, Herzog documented everything he saw and felt with intense sincerity. This diary is dotted with rants about the extreme cold and utt ...more
Paperback, 68 pages
Published September 1st 2007 by Free Association, New York (first published 1978)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  2,071 ratings  ·  240 reviews

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Start your review of Of Walking in Ice: Munich-Paris, 11/23 to 12/14, 1974
Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
Werner Herzog is walking, walking, walking. He is walking to Paris because of magical thinking. His friend Lotte Eisner cannot die before he arrives. He drinks milk and eats tangerines and breaks into empty vacation homes at night. He finishes someone's crossword puzzle, he urinates in someone's boot. He sees things, he describes them. He describes things he probably does not see. I'm pretty sure some of those things could not have happened, it is not always easy to tell what is real and what is ...more
Eddie Watkins
Aug 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Eddie by: Kimley
Herzog as buffalo making landscapes tremble, Herzog as mountain reposing, Herzog as natural visionary, Herzog as compassionate magician and au natural hallucinator in bars.

Keyed up by intense concern for Lotte Eisner as she lay very ill in Paris, Herzog set off on foot from Munich to Paris to fend off her death. She could not die before he arrived, the voices of the universe told him so. Through blizzards and driving rain, smashing windows of vacation homes for sleep, ceaselessly mutating from h
Larnacouer  de SH
Well while reading, time to time you can think like "wtf is that?" but keep calm and carry on:
Cause Herzog's mind makes it worth it.
Strange but poetic. Short but not one-sitting-read. At least for me.

+ Yup, I read English edition but i'm the literal Garfield to change that. Once a Buzda Yürüyüş, always a Buzda Yürüyüş then. Don't mind me!
Lee Klein
Sep 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Finished this while walking and reading at lunch along the Delaware, and walking up the steps to the South Street bridge over I-95, I exclaimed "fcknin WERNER"! So proud of him, like he were my child. What a great book. It's sort of like a pre-apocalyptic, very Germanic version of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" . . . 64 dense pages of travelogue, fantasy, film ideas, atmosphere, all of it deeply embedded in the consciousness of the Typical Herzog Character, a mythic hero-dude on a solo delusional ...more
Oct 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 20th-century, film, german
If a friend or family member said to you that they were planning on walking from Munich to Paris in the middle of a bitter winter because they knew that this was what needed to be done in order to save the life of someone they cared about, most likely you'd have the same reaction as me - are you fucking crazy?

But that's because you aren't Werner Herzog who possesses a kind of clarity that most of us can't even imagine. A kind of clarity that brings about a complete sense of awe in me because it
Aug 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, ha-ha-s
Herzog walks from Munich to Paris to see a dying friend because he believes the friend can not die while he is traveling to see her. This is his account of his journey. I'm not sure if he or Kinski is more insane.
Joe Kowalski
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
"I personally would rather do the existentially essential things in life on foot. If you live in England and your girlfriend is in Sicily, and it is clear you want to marry her, then you should walk to Sicily to propose. For these things travel by car or aeroplane is not the right thing."

I knew this Herzog quote, and I also knew of a book he had written that concerned walking from Munich to Paris to visit an ailing friend. I thought perhaps this was evidence of a larger personal philosophy that
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In an interview Herzog claimed that he believes his prose will outlive his films. I am not sure about that as a fan of his documentaries but as much as his documentaries are literary, his prose is cinematographic. I will continue with the Guide for the Perplexed.
What a splendid travelogue … ‘Walking in Ice’ is a dense and epic prose poem that evokes the manic echoes from an arch-Romantic ‘Gewaltmarsch’ linking Munich to Paris. The season is winter. The year is 1974, but it could as well have been 1074. The sky is filled with the cry of invisible ravens. Jet fighters engage in mock attacks on camouflaged armored vehicles. Sheep die along the way. A boy, leaning with his satchel into folding doors, falls out of a bus. A hailstorm lashes the earth. This pi ...more
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2019
On hearing that Lotte Eisner, the film-maker and critic, was dying, Werner Herzog made the sudden decision that he would walk from Munich to Paris where she was in the hospital. For some reason, he believed that his pain would help her live that she would still be alive as he walked over 500 miles. He set off as soon as he could carrying the minimal possessions and a map and a compass. This slender book is a record of his journey.

The walk would take him from the 23rd November to the 14th Decembe
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diary
Werner Herzog has the strangest pattern of thought I know. You can superimpose people's trains of thoughts, paint them, and they'll look somewhat like the map of a city. Herzog's thoughts must look like a Kabbalistic incantation where if you squint really hard, you can learn God's True Name.

At the end of November 1974, a friend from Paris called and told me that Lotte Eisner was seriously ill and would probably die. I said that this must not be, not at this time, German cinema could not do witho
Apr 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: aficionados of mytho-poetic narratives
"All I see in front of me is route. Suddenly, near the crest of a hill, I thought, there is a horseman, but when I moved closer it was a tree; then I saw a sheep and was uncertain as to whether or not it would turn out to be a bush, but it was a sheep, on the verge of dying. It died still and pathetically; I've never seen a sheep die before. I marched very swiftly on."

In November 1974, Werner Herzog received word of the imminent death of film critic Lotte Eisner (who provided voice over on his h
May 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: germany
Herzog's first-hand account of that one time he walked from Munich to Paris in the middle of winter because he thought it would save the ill film critic Lotte Eisner's life is, of course, entirely about the journey into himself (the supposed subject of his rescue is only mentioned occasionally), but of course that's a genre Herzog knows. And while he's not quite as good with prose as he is with a camera, this short little volume is an intriguing read - Herzog walks, drinks milk, walks, freezes h ...more
Aug 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-10
"In the house last night I peed into an old rubber boot"

Oddly riveting and very funny in that dry, matter-of-fact, possibly unintentional Herzog way; he is, after all, a deeply serious person, but also, it turns out, kind of seriously insane. Why isn't my diary in a dreamlike prose? Oh right, because I'm not freezing to death while writing it.

Fun drinking game: drink a shot every time Werner does something illegal. You'll be drunk by the end of each chapter, a rare feat for a book only 68 pages
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
I'm a big fan of Herzog's documentaries. This is another affair however. A pilgrimage of sorts, these writings were meant as a personal diary, not to be published. As a result it is highly idiosyncratic. It might click with some readers, but it didn't really work for me. It's always a tough read when an author doesn't focus.

The main problem with his 70-page booklet is the fact that there is no story arc or character development. Instead of story, there's sequence. Of Walking In Ice is a never e
Joseph Raffetto
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Werner Herzog makes a commitment to himself to trek from Munich to Paris in the belief his dying mentor, Lotte Eisner, will remain alive as he journeys to her on foot. This journal powerfully captures the brutal weather and bitter cold. Herzog breaks into homes or buildings to make it through the nights. And at times, he appears to go mad as he chronicles his surrealistic thoughts.

This is 1974, and it gives you a sense how much the world has changed as we experience with him the roads, poverty,
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
It's a wonder how Herzog can still be alive when every element of nature is out to get him. The cows are mad and the trees scream at him. Every day is post apocalyptical mood day. I'd like to say he has an over exaggerated notion of how threatening the world is, but then I remember he was once shot, out of nowhere, in the middle of an interview.
The reading of the book is immensely improved by imagining the words being spoken by him, with his accent and way of stressing the mid syllables, his uni
Nov 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps Herzog is not the only man who would think that by walking the entire distance from Munich to Paris would keep his friend alive, but he is the only man I know of to assume such a thing. [First read December 2008]
Oct 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own, to-re-read
Sara Gray
Jan 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Like his later memoir about filming Fitzcarraldo, Of Walking in Ice is poignant, poetic, hilarious, impressionistic, and batshit insane. I wouldn't expect anything less from Herzog.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
Magical thinking. I get it. Wanting, needing to believe the person that you love will not die, so creating a whole set of "if I..., then they..." thinking that is, of course, folly. I was drawn to this book as my own friend lay dying recently, knowing that even if I somehow walked to Paris myself, she would not live, but HOPING somehow that Werner would have a different outcome.

"At the end of November 1974, a friend from Paris called and told me that Lotte Eisner was seriously ill and would pro
Mar 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
For the first few pages I was worried that this was going to be a bit of a slog, despite only being 70 pages long. It's starts out fragmented, stream-of-consciousness and barely comprehensible.
Fortunately it soon settles down a bit, although it remains bitty and occasionally surreal throughout.
A few questionable attitudes and actions come out during his journey, and he has a disturbing habit of breaking into people's (presumably empty) houses looking for somewhere to sleep. But it's strange and
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is much easier to read than it is to walk from Munich to Paris. But while you can save yourself from the long walk, you still gain a glimpse of the almost meditation-like experience that Werner Herzog must have had. A beautiful little piece about a not-so-pointless experience.
Josh Luft
The story is this: In 1974, Lotte Eisner, German film critic/historian/filmmaker, is gravely ill in Paris, so Werner Herzog, filmmaker and Eisner acolyte, walks from Munich to Paris to visit her because he "won't permit" her death. If you know Werner Herzog, which if you're interested in this book, you no doubt do, you know this is totally the kind of thing he would do. I mean, the guy literally ate his shoe after losing a bet. Walking from Munich to Paris as winter's descending is like a kinder ...more
42nd book for 2016.

One thing I hadn't appreciated how big gap between the new German film industry of the 1970s and the pre-War era was (perhaps because the Nazis co-opted the film industry for propaganda purposes to a much greater extent than the other art forms). As such Lottie Eisner, who was active both in the pre- and post-war film industry was a important bridge between the two eras. As Herzog's says, her blessing legitimized the new industry, in a way that no one else could.

So it's not s
Karl Hallbjörnsson
Feb 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Very interesting read.
A travelogue as only Werner Herzog could write it. Isolated, mad wandering through romantically frigid Teutonic winter landscapes, the splendor of which collides headlong into a grotesque commercial detritus of desolate highway bypasses and used car lots. If you've ever known the pleasure and occasional misery of a solitary walk, pick this up. Herzog's reveries are light years more interesting than Rousseau's.
Montgomery Jean
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it
"Missing: compass, torch battery, ointment, otherwise all is well. Very warm; sparrows and children in Boofzheim. I say Thirst. Bought milk in a shop, the second quart today. The children here sneak into the corner shops and grab the comics, which they proceed to read quickly while crouching in a corner where the convex mirror of the shopkeeper can't find them. I get drunk on milk. Cocks are crowing, doors slam, sunshine, I rest on a bench in front of the church."
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting to read a diary of one of the greats film directors of our time.

He is writing for his experience during his trip by foot from Munich to Paris in the winter of 1974. The writing style is new for me, it is short with piled up details without to much explanation. He has unique view on some things which is interesting.

The most interesting part is his goal to do the trip and the result of that.
Boris Gregoric
... W’s golden age, his gold mine, were the 70’s when he also made best films. My favorites probably his long feature debut Lebenszeichen (1968?) and the short one on the ski-jumper Steiner.. Love this oddity travelogue, flights of fancy or not. Poetic and trenchant book. A man of peculiar genius for sure.
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Werner Herzog (born Werner Stipetić) is a German film director, screenwriter, actor, and opera director.

He is often associated with the German New Wave movement (also called New German Cinema), along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders and others. His films often feature heroes with impossible dreams, or people with unique talents in obscure fields

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