Paperback: In Europe, by Geert Mak

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The Independent Culture

The Dutch writer's long voyage from Lisbon to Chernobyl, Stockholm to Istanbul mostly took place during 1999. His epic travelogue sums up the state of Europe at the close of its worst century, and looks forward to the future. It sounds like hard work, but Mak is a shrewd, genial companion, most readable if you dip in, place, by place. If he fails to find "a common attitude" in Biggin Hill and Bucharest, this wise heir of Erasmus never stops yearning for one.