Geert Mak is a journalist and historian, and the internationally acclaimed author of In Europe, Amsterdam and The Bridge. He is one of the Netherlands' bestselling authors, has twice been awarded Historian of the Year and his books have been translated into more than 20 languages.
In 1960 John Steinbeck and his dog Charley set out in their green pickup truck to rediscover the soul of America, visiting small towns and cities from New York to New Orleans. As Steinbeck said to a friend: 'I must see how the country looks and smells and sounds.' The trip became Travels With Charley, one of his best-loved books. Half a century on, Geert Mak sets off from Steinbeck's home with his wife and his sat-nav Sandy. Mile after mile, as he retraces Steinbeck's footsteps through the potato fields of Maine to the endless prairies of the Midwest, sits down to eat with farmers, workers, fishermen and teachers, stumbles across glistening suburbs and boarded-up stores, he searches for the roots of America and what remains of the world Steinbeck describes. Part biography, part cultural history, In America asks how America has changed in the last fifty years; what's happened to Main Street, USA, and the American dream; and what do we, Europe and America, have in common in the twenty-first century?
The Vintage Classics Europeans series - with covers provided by textile design firm Wallace Sewell, these are must-have editions of European masterpieces, celebrating the warp and weft of a shared literary treasury. In 1999, journalist and historian Geert Mak criss-crossed the continent in the simple yet monumental quest to trace European twentieth-century history as the world slipped into the twenty-first. In Europe is a dazzling account of that journey, and combines the larger story of Europe with intimate, vivid detail. It is also now a poignant reminder that the European project was then and is now a unprecedented experiment; that we still have `a great deal to tell each other and a great deal to explain.' TRANSLATED FROM THE DUTCH BY SAM GARRETT `A wonderfully rich journey through time and space' Independent on Sunday
In 1960 John Steinbeck and his dog Charley set out in their green pickup truck to rediscover the soul of America, visiting small towns and cities from New York to New Orleans.The trip became Travels With Charley, one of his best-loved books. Half a century on, Geert Mak sets off from Steinbeck's home. Mile after mile, as he retraces Steinbeck's footsteps through the potato fields of Maine to the endless prairies of the Midwest and stumbles across glistening suburbs and boarded-up stores, Mak searches for the roots of America and what remains of the world Steinbeck describes. How has America changed in the last fifty years; what remains of the American dream; and what do Europe and America now have in common?
In this book Geert Mak returns to the small Frisian village of his childhood, Jorwert (pop. 330 and falling). It's a typical European village where the shops are closing down, the few children left will escape to a less arduous life in the city and it's becoming increasingly isolated. Jowert has more in common with an English village than with Amsterdam, and it's moving story of neighbours and their efforts to preserve their long established way of life is relevant to the changing face of the countryside everywhere in Europe.
Istanbul's Galata Bridge has spanned the Golden Horn since the sixth century AD, connecting the old city with the more Western districts to the north. But the bridge is a city in itself, peopled by merchants and petty thieves, tourists and fishermen, and at the same time a microcosmic reflection of Turkey as the link between Asia and Europe. Geert Mak introduces us to the cigarette vendors and the best pickpockets in Europe, to the pride of the cobbler and the tea-seller's homesickness, and interweaves their stories with vignettes illuminating the extraordinary history of Istanbul and Turkey. Charming and learned, The Bridge is a delightful book from the author of the acclaimed international bestseller In Europe.
Geert Mak spent the year 1999 criss-crossing the continent, tracing the history of Europe from Verdun to Berlin, St Petersburg to Auschwitz, Kiev to Srebrenica. He set off in search of evidence and witnesses, looking to define the condition of Europe at the verge of a new millennium. The result is mesmerising: Mak's rare double talent as a sharp-eyed journalist and a hugely imaginative historian makes In Europe a dazzling account of that journey, full of diaries, newspaper reports and memoirs, and the voices of prominent figures and unknown players; from the grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II to Adriana Warno in Poland, with her holiday job at the gates of the camp at Birkenau. But Mak is above all an observer. He describes what he sees at places that have become Europe's well-springs of memory, where history is written into the landscape. At Ypres he hears the blast of munitions from the Great War that are still detonated twice a day. In Warsaw he finds the point where the tram rails that led to the Jewish ghetto come to a dead end in a city park. And in an abandoned creche near Chernobyl, where tiny pairs of shoes still stand in neat rows, he is transported back to the moment time stood still in the dying days of the Soviet Union. Mak combines the larger story of twentieth-century Europe with details that suddenly give it a face, a taste and a smell. His unique approach makes the reader an eyewitness to his own half-forgotten past, full of unknown peculiarities, sudden insights and touching encounters. In Europe is a masterpiece; it reads like the epic novel of the continent's most extraordinary century.
Born in Friesland himself, Geert Mak has returned to his roots to explore the silent revolution that took place in the small village of Jorwerd, Friesland, after World War II. He lived in Jorwerd for six months, gathering the personal stories of Jorwerters past and present, many of whom were born, lived and died there. By interweaving their colourful stories with the wider history of Europe, Mak provides an unsentimental portrayal of the pleasures and the hardships of living in the country, while illustrating at the same time how rural life everywhere is under threat from the modern world.
A magnet for trade and travellers from all over the world, stylish, cosmopolitan Amsterdam is a city of dreams and nightmares, of grand civic architecture and legendary beauty, but also of civil wars, bloody religious purges, and the tragedy of Anne Frank. In this fascinating examination of the city's soul, part history, part travel guide, Geert Mak imaginatively recreates the lives of the early Amsterdammers, and traces Amsterdam's progress from waterlogged settlement to a major financial centre and thriving modern metropolis