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Customer Review

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why do publishers treat us like we are stupid?, 19 Sept. 2007
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This review is from: Springtime For Germany: or How I Learned to Love Lederhosen (Paperback)
If it hadn't been for the fact that this was the only piece of travel writing (as opposed to a guidebook) I could find on Germany, I wouldn't have bought this book. The most obvious trend of recent years in travel writing has been down towards the lowest common denominator, with puerile writing about contrived - supposedly humourous - situations. Both the jacket design and the title of this book led me to suppose that this was no exception.

In fact, there is an element of the puerile and jokey (and, in places, clunky) to the writing. And the central conceit about the travel therapist quickly becomes rather wearisome. But behind it all, Ben Donald has evidently put in a lot of time and research and, when he leaves the tired gags about the German sense of humour and sunbed habits alone, what he has written has a great deal to offer. I came away feeling I had learned a lot about the Germans and Germany.

I am not entirely sure who it is in the publishing industry that has come to the view that the reading public are all idiots who must be suckered into buying a travel book by cramming it with schoolboy jokes, giving it a hackneyed title and wrapping up the whole in a tacky cover - but I wish they would desist. I have a sneaking suspicion that it is the publishers themselves, who think they can sell more copies that way. In his acknowledgements, Ben Donald thanks his agent for persuading him that a 'straight' travel book about Germany wouldn't work (or sell?). I think this is probably learned behaviour on the part of the agent, but in any case - I don't think your agent actually did you any favours, Ben!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Jun 2010 19:05:00 BDT
Good review. I agree entirely.
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