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How to be Danish: A Journey to the Cultural Heart of Denmark Paperback – 4 Jul 2013

28 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

How to be Danish: A Journey to the Cultural Heart of Denmark + The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country + Xenophobe's Guide to the Danes (Xenophobe's Guides)
Price For All Three: £21.27

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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd; 2nd Revised edition edition (4 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780721889
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780721880
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

"Fascinating" --- New York Times

"Kingsley is an eloquent and inquiring observer" --- Sunday Times

"Delightful" --- Wall Street Journal

About the Author

PATRICK KINGSLEY is the Egypt correspondent for The Guardian, having been a feature writer for the newspaper for two years. He now lives in Cairo and this is his first book.

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Jenkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a well written, interesting and insightful guide to Denmark and the Danes. It's a short book, but a good summary of Danish history, culture and politics. It's by no means an in-depth study, but it covers the basics both entertainingly and educationally. With chapters on design, immigration, the welfare state, food and education amongst others, it's a concise and eminently readable introduction to the country and a real asset for anyone travelling there. For me it filled in some of the detail of aspects of the country I noted on a recent visit there, and I feel I now have a deeper understanding of the country and people.
I do have one gripe though. There were far too many references to TV dramas such as The Killing, The Bridge and Borgen. The author assumes that everyone here in the UK will have seen these. Well, I haven't and found it very irritating having them mentioned so often. It also means that the book will date quite quickly, which is a shame, and I hope that if there is a 2nd edition such references will be removed. That apart, I don't hesitate to recommend this book to anyone visiting Denmark or anyone merely interested in gaining an insight into the country.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Pedro Calheiros on 18 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book gives you a quick insight on Denmark. And is very effective. I rate it 3 stars because it lacks, almost completely, an approach to danish literature, one of the key elements on any people.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B D Hansen Sims on 18 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a Dane, I found it amusing in parts and self-obsessed in others. But it was a good attempt at characterising most Danes and some of Denmark
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88 of 104 people found the following review helpful By allard33 on 26 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Spurred on by the enthusiastic reviews above (which, now I look at them, arrived suspiciously close to the publication date), I was looking forward to this book.

Unfortunately, it turns out that the writer only spent a couple of weeks in Denmark, appears to have read a couple of books on the country (which he quotes from at great length) and covers familiar ground - Danish chairs, the recent TV dramas - in a standard Guardian feature style. Thus the book is full of mistakes - the Danes do not have the lowest gap between rich and poor in the world (that's Sweden); there is no official minimum wage in Denmark (let alone an 'average minimum wage', whatever that might be); the Danish word 'ikke' is not pronounced 'air' (!); Østerbro as Denmark's Notting Hill is a very unlikely comparison; as well as glaring omissions: he writes about Noma but doesn't eat there or interview the head chef; there's a chapter on The Killing, but he doesn't meet its star; he leans heavily on Knud Jespersen's history of Denmark, but is turned down by its author for an interview; there is a whole chapter on architecture, but the major Danish architect of the moment declines an interview.

Perhaps worst of all, in his haste to jump on the Danish cultural bandwagon, the author skirts over all the many problems Denmark faces today in terms of the economy, immigration and the environment (yes they have windmills, but what about all the coal they use?). Bascially, then, an extended, one-dimensonal Guardian eulogy which rehashes all the other newspaper features of the last year. A shame, really.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Walters on 3 Mar. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amusing book - taps into the c21st cultural obsession with Scandinavian life and culture. Worth reading if you have travelled there or are planning to.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard Fernandez on 29 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
A book of this nature can't possibly be comprehensive. What you hope for is some pointers to topics for your own further exploration. And that's precisely what Patrick Kingsley provides. He gives you just enough on each topic for you to decide whether you need or want to learn more about it - and just enough to know where to look too. An enjoyable read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A reasonably balanced review by a quality writer in making the descriptions good with factual backgrounds
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful By saki on 3 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent introduction to modern day Denmark based on a series of interviews with contemporary Danes. "How to be Danish" is a fascinating insight into Danish culture and mores bringing the land of "The Killing" and "The Bridge" to life. Clearly written in a series of chapters exploring society and life in Copenhagen and beyond.
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