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How to be Danish: A Short Journey into the Mysterious Heart of Denmark [Kindle Edition]

Patrick Kingsley
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

What links Sarah Lund and Lars von Trier? Or Carlsberg and Kierkegaard? Or even Shakespeare and Metallica? The answer lies in Denmark, the country that has gripped the British imagination more than any other in recent memory. But though we watch their TV series, wear their jumpers, and play with their toys, how much do we really know about the Danes themselves? From Lego to lava lamps – via Borgen, The Killing, and the Muhammed cartoons – Patrick Kingsley takes us on a journey into the mysterious heart of Denmark.

Product Description


Fascinating --New York Times

Patrick Kingsley [is]... an eloquent and inquiring observer --Sunday Times

About the Author

Patrick Kingsley is a feature writer for The Guardian. He lives in London and this is his first book.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1645 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books (1 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #117,824 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful introduction to Denmark 21 Jan. 2014
By Amanda Jenkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER
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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85 of 101 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hastily written and a bit dull really 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
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but lacking lietarature 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How to be Danish seen from a Dane's viewpoint 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 17 Feb. 2015
By Dorothy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A little bit long winded at times abaout restaurants but over all, very interesting
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of hygge 29 Jan. 2014
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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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Contemporary, informative and clear 3 Nov. 2012
By saki
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy reading and informative
I found this really easy to read, it's factual and you really get a feel for the way the Danish people are, better than the standard guide books!
Published 7 months ago by jackie phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Brother in law loves it
Got this for my brother in law and sister who have moved to Denmark - they love it! Lots of accurate top tips !
Published 13 months ago by M. Morgan
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting
if you are interested in what makes this country tick then this is the book for you. easy to read and very interesting
Published 14 months ago by Mrs Linda M Spinks
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book.
Fascinating. This is well written, interesting and insightful. Reading this highly accessible book makes me v excited about visiting Denmark.
Published 16 months ago by TB
5.0 out of 5 stars A good summary of Denmark's people at this point in time
This is a good summary of what it is like to be Danish and living in Denmark now. As an Australian with Danish relatives it is also a comparison of them and us which makes sense... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mrs Margaret Walker
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
Bought this book ahead of a trip to Copenhagen. I treacly enjoyed it, it's both entertaining and educational and offers wonderful anecdotes alongside real insight into the context... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Rachel
2.0 out of 5 stars A Slice of Danish, A Touch of the Dales
This is a bit of an early review as I'm only on page 50 but I'm hoping it gets more interesting. So far, lots of stuff about Danish food and Noma, a restaurant I can't afford and... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Piffle
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