Out on 20 February 2020


Simon Winder

2020 Nominee

Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award

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20 February 2020
576 pages

A Sunday Times History Book of the Year 2019
Shortlisted for The Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award

'No Briton has written better than Winder about Europe' Sunday Times

In AD 843, the three surviving grandsons of the great Emperor Charlemagne met at Verdun. After years of bitter squabbles over who would inherit the family land, they finally decided to divide the territory and go their separate ways. In a moment of staggering significance, one grandson inherited what became France, another Germany and the third Lotharingia: the chunk that initially divided the other two. The dynamic between these three great zones has dictated much of our subsequent fate.

In this beguiling, hilarious and compelling book we retrace how both from west and from east any number of ambitious characters have tried and failed to grapple with these Lotharingians, who ultimately became Dutch, German, Belgian, French, Luxembourgers and Swiss. Over many centuries, not only has Lotharingia brought forth many of Europe's greatest artists, inventors and thinkers, but it has also reduced many a would-be conqueror to helpless tears of rage and frustration. Joining Germania and Danubia in Simon Winder's endlessly fascinating retelling of European history, Lotharingia is a personal, wonderful and gripping story.

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