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Swiss Watching: Inside the Land of Milk and Money Paperback – 22 Mar 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Nicholas Brealey Publishing; 2nd Revised edition edition (22 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857885872
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857885873
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Diccon Bewes worked for ten years at Lonely Planet and Holiday Which? magazine, before moving to Switzerland, where until recently he managed Stauffacher English Bookshop in Bern. He is now a full-time writer.

As well as grappling with German grammar, re-learning to cross the road properly, and overcoming his innate desire to form an orderly queue, he has spent the last six years exploring the bits of Switzerland he'd never heard of before. And eating lots of chocolate. All in the name of research, of course, while writing his first book, Swiss Watching. That became a No1 bestseller in Switzerland and is now in its second edition, with a new sub-title - Inside the Land of Milk and Money.

Website: www.dicconbewes.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SwissWatching
Twitter: @dicconb

Product Description

Review

'We all know that Switzerland gave us the world of cuckoo clocks, triangular chocolate and penknives, but how about the Toilet Duck, Velcro and LSD? Europe s landlocked island is a great subject for a cultural anthropologist and Bewes is a perfect guide.' —Financial Times, Book of the Year

'Bewes has an engagingly light and comic touch. The narrative moves with ease between subjects as diverse as graffiti and recycling, and it s easy to dip in and out of. —The Sunday Telegraph

'Informative and entertaining.' —Harry Ritchie, The Mail on Sunday

'It's a real page turner, a treasure trove. Absolutely jam-packed with fascinating facts that really got me thinking.' —Margaret Oertig-Davidson, author of Beyond Chocolate

'Everything you wanted to know about Switzerland, and then some. Not just a travel book, Swiss Watching is a no-stone-unturned exploration of what makes (and has made) this enigmatic country tick.' —Peter Kerr, author of the Snowball Orange series of five books
<br'A fascinating book, teeming with facts, figures, and anecdotes which even the Swiss don't know. A journalist, anthropologist and satirist, Diccon Bewes gives us a book that is serious without being academic and funny without ever falling into caricature.' --L'Hebdo

About the Author

Diccon Bewes is a full-time writer following the international success of Swiss Watching. A degree from LSE in International Relations and an 18-month world trip set him up for a career in travel writing, via the scenic route of bookselling. After ten years at Lonely Planet and Holiday Which? magazine, he decamped to Switzerland, where until recently he was manager of the Stauffacher English Bookshop in Bern. www.dicconbewes.com

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By W. Prescot on 8 Nov 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A real insight into the Swiss and what makes them tick, written by a Brit who lives in the country. Ever wondered why the Swiss are rich and successful and we're not? Read this book. The author often uses comparisons with the UK to illustrate a point. Great for fellow Brits. Lots of useful and interesting stuff written in a very engaging and amusing style. The author clearly enjoys toilet humour and never misses an opportunity to share his amusement with the reader, such as 'FART', the initials of the train operator in Ticino and 'dagshit', a Swinglish word for 'today's special offer'. Essential reading for anyone planning to work or live in the country. Only 4 stars because the kindle edition is rubbish. No photographs, unreadable maps, tables don't line up in columns. Clearly not made in Switzerland!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kate on 2 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book contains facts that even my Swiss husband didn't know. Funny and amusing although some bits about the language seen from the British perspective were kind of boring. What the author found strange and exotic about German is not so exotic it's the UK being a bit different. But overall a very good buy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Koetzsch on 23 May 2012
Format: Paperback
If you want to travel to or in Switzerland you go and buy yourself the relevant Switzerland Lonely Planet Guide. If you want to find out about the challenges and risks involved in living in Switzerland you should read Diccon Bewes' book. He does an excellent job in showing us some of the pitfalls you have to watch out for if you plan to live in Switzerland.

Bewes starts off with telling us some of the notable points of history in his host country, how it all started and how it evolved into the Switzerland as we see it now. By the way, what's wrong with 1754? I won't reveal the answer ... you will have to read the book and look it up yourself.
The author follows this up with the religious set-up of the country, its peculiar form of democracy, the money of course (the Swiss are believed to have a lot), neutrality, the military and some of the products, Switzerland is known for; chocolate and cheese of course, but there are quite a few others as well. Lastly, you will find out everything you always wanted to know about Heidi.

At the end of each chapter you will find a Swiss Watching Tip - there are 11 of them in total - telling you such vital things like when a Sunday is a Sunday or when a weekday is a Sunday or a Saturday. Personally, I would prefer more Sundays because the Swiss drive more civilized on Sundays than they do on non-Sundays. The author calls Swiss drivers polite ... I have yet to meet one on a non-Sunday.
Tips No. 5 and 6 didn't strike me as just a Swiss problem. All German-speaking countries appear to be deficient in that respect.
Tip No. 11, i.e.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lanz Ursula on 27 July 2012
Format: Paperback
Thanks a million for this book devoted to the Swiss, I also really benefitted from the author's great language and writing skills. It dawned to me that things and matters which he mentioned were either so taken for granted (Heidi, chocolate, penknives, Rivella, Helvetia) or I have never thought about them (landlocked but big merchant shipping fleet). Warmheartedly monitored, researched, collected facts and thoughts in such an expressive, humorous yet still worthwhile criticism.
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We have just returned from a wonderful holiday in Interlaken (Aug14), lots to see and do.Our Inghams rep Alistair recommended this book; he said even though he had worked in Switzerland for seven years, he had learnt a lot about Swiss culture from this book. Dicon Bewes writing style is easy reading with humour mixed in with serious facts, like you never get a tatty bank note in your change! My son is living in Switzerland married to a Swiss Italian, we are always surprised how she casually leaves things lying around in vulnerable public places, but now I understand that they are very unlikely to be stolen. There is a really good section that explains the complex structures of the Cantons and democracy in Switzerland. A great browse read for anyone who is interested in what is probably the best country to live in and visit. One English person we were talking to said ' Once you have been to Switzerland for a holiday you have been to the best country in Europe nowhere else compares favourably' (he had been every year for last twenty years).
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Phippu on 2 Jan 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Diccon Bewes has attempted what is indeed a very difficult task: trying to find out how Swiss people really tick and that as somebody who has not grown up in Switzerland and does not even speak the native language of this hometown Berne fluently, i.e. Bernese German. I am a Swiss and have lived in the UK for over 10 years and I think foreign Swiss have indeed a unique view on Switzerland and what it means being Swiss. Bewes has overall done a very good job although I think his generalisations oversimplify the country and its people. Although he tried his best to be balanced and mentioned some of the negative bits as well, the whole book feels to me too much like a tourist ad and re-enforcing British people's prejudices. Everything in Switzerland has of course to be better than in the UK so as to justify his choice of living in Berne whether it is chocolate, direct democracy, public transport, recycling, neutrality, etc. As a Swiss who has chosen to live in the UK, I think this is all a bit condescending. Also, his attempt to make the number of foreigners nowadays living in Switzerland look more comparable to other European countries is flawed: the recent influx of EU citizens probably due to the crisis in the rest of Europe is remarkable: almost 90,000 enter Switzerland every year and major cities such as Basel and Zurich have changed. Bewes has made a good attempt but he still suffered from the fact that Swiss are so reserved, i.e. Swiss rarely share what they really think with a foreigner. Good book but more surface than people would assume when reading it.
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