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Swiss Watching: Inside Europe's Landlocked Island Paperback – 12 Jun 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing (12 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857885481
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857885484
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.7 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 165,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. M. Faiers on 15 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
Swiss Watching proves that there's more to Switzerland than Banks, Watches, Skis, Heidi and Holey Cheese.
This is a brilliant picture of the real Switzerland, one that most of us don't get to see or hear about. The book is full of witty and touching antidotes from all over the country. Highly recommended to those that love armchair travel, I loved it and can't wait to visit Europe's landlocked island.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By SJAB on 12 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
This is such a great read, whether or not you are planning to visit Switzerland. If you are, then take this with you because, even though it's not a guide book, you'll end up wanting to visit all the places he mentions! If you're not going there, you'll soon want to once you've read it!! Swisswatching is informative, interesting, honest and funny. Diccon Bewes has researched it well and added in his excellent observations from living as an expat in Switzerland. If you like Bill Bryson you'll love this! I couldn't put it down and can't wait for his next book! The great thing is that you can also make comments and ask him questions via his blog and he actually answers!! Plus each new blog entry adds more funny observations about the country that aren't in his book. What more could you want?
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Martin Girven on 23 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
As someone who has lived in Switzerland quite recently I would recommend `Swisswatching' highly to anyone moving there or simply visiting the country. Bewes' book gets under the skin of the experience of being a foreigner in Switzerland and does it with a great sense of fun. It also gives an excellent and informed view of the Swiss as a nation and proves beyond doubt that, despite having four cultural and language groups within its borders, there is such a thing as Swissness. Most importantly, the book takes a superb look at the regions of Switzerland, some of which may be well known but most of which will be new to all but the most experienced traveller. It looks at the products we all recognise as Swiss and the figures we may currently be unaware of and tells the story of a country through their histories. Above all this is a thoroughly enjoyable, amusing and entertaining read for anyone with even a passing interest in travel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Shaw on 30 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback
Diccon Bewes' penetrating insights into the Swiss psyche makes Swiss Watching a book about Switzerland like no other.

I'm married to a Swiss and have visited Switzerland -from Australia- more than twenty times.

In my quest to acquaint myself better with this fascinating country I've read many books and guides, including a couple of very good ones.

But here we have something very, very special.

Swiss Watching is utterly absorbing and brilliantly written.
In his unique and engaging style Diccon Bewes zeroes in on the Switzerland we don't really know, the one that's hidden behind all those majestic peaks, quaint chalets, well-fed cows and the chocolate, cheese and precision watches.

The book is a comprehensive and very fair account of all things Swiss -especially the people- and the author's sharp and perceptive observations cut through to the very core of the national mentality.

Want a book about Switzerland full of gushy prose extolling the country's numerous virtues?...dozens of such books exist, have been around for a hundred years and may be found in the travel section of bookshops the world over.
Prefer a no-holds-barred, balanced treatise that will accurately reveal the Swiss to you in a way you never thought possible?...this is THE book.

For author Diccon Bewes, researching and then writing Swiss Watching has clearly been a labour of love; he is to be heartily congratulated for producing such an outstanding and seminal work in which he truly has nailed the Swiss like no-one has before.

As it's right up there with the most enjoyable and informative books I've ever read I simply can't recommend this wonderful book highly enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. R. Ison on 14 Sep 2010
Format: Paperback
Diccon Bewes's book on 'The Landlocked Island' is certainly one of the best such books of the many I have read on the subject of Switzerland and its strange and surprising differences to the rest of Europe. I was a resident there until recently in the canton of Zurich and remember the curious culture of souless efficiency, monetary comfort, beautiful landscapes and frustration with the rules and regulations entailed in living there.

The first few chapters of this book are full of shrewd insights and observations and there is a particularly good account of the complex political arena there. However, the narrative loses a bit of drive towards the end of this book and finishes with a rather pointless section on the story of Heidi. I also think that Bewes could have explained more about the unique language situation and the curious dialects you encounter in different parts of this tiny country and the increasing dominance of English as a non-official second tongue for most young people there.

Nonetheless this book is a worthy effort and probably the best reference text if and when you visit or move to this fascinating and very different country.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christian on 10 Sep 2010
Format: Paperback
Swiss Watching is the most entertaining, insightful and informative book I remember reading about Switzerland! As a Swiss established in the UK, I am used to poorly informed views of a country that is not only complex, but also hard to discover. Swiss Watching stands out in the accuracy, insight, fairness and humour with which the author observes its subject... not a small feat with a country that takes delight in every thing small, local and individual. I could not put the book down, and felt life breathing through its pages. Swiss Watching book should be compulsory reading for any person claiming to be interested in Switzerland.
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