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Three Men on the Bummel by [Jerome, Jerome K. (Jerome Klapka)]
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Three Men on the Bummel Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Length: 377 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Synopsis

When three late-Victorian gentlemen escape from the claustrophobia of suburban life to go on a cycling tour in the Black Forest of Germany, their trip turns into a comic expedition.

Synopsis

Set ten years later than Three Men in a Boat it tells of a cycling expedition through the Black Forest.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 543 KB
  • Print Length: 377 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0082YWPM2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,014 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Three Men on the Bummel is a far less well known book than its big brother, the celebrated and beloved classic Three Men in a Boat. Several years have elapsed between novels - indeed to those of us who know and love George, Harris and J it is somewhat startling to find J and Harris married with children. But domestic bliss is starting to cloy, and as the men develop ploys to escape for a holiday, both wives are seen to be extremely "modern" women! Suffice it to say that a cycling tour in the Black Forrest ensues. Jerome's constant observations of the Germans are disconcerting; yes, he writes amusingly of them as lovable eccentrics, obsessed by order and orders, but he was not to know to what hiddeous effect this contributed to in 1939-45, and the shadow of the War was often in my mind. But is the book as funny? I have to answer "yes." Harris and the hosepipe, George's spree of crime, the phrase book outing, all are as funny as anything in the original. Uncle Podger stories are still there, and I laughed out loud many, many times. A gem of a book. Oh, what's a bummel? Read and find out.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This sequel to Three Men in a Boat only sporadically achieves the joy of its progenitor. The narrator and his pals George and Harris (he says nothing of the dog) polish up their bicycles and go a-roaming through the Black Forest in Germany. Naturally they get into scrapes and adventures, and these are sometimes very funny. Here, gentle fun is poked at the Germans' horror of stepping on the grass:

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In a German park I have seen a gardener step gingerly with felt boots on to grass-plot, and removing therefrom a beetle, place it gravely but firmly on the gravel; which done, he stood sternly watching the beetle, to see that it did not try to get back on the grass; and the beetle, looking utterly ashamed of itself, walked hurriedly down the gutter, and turned up the path marked "Ausgang."
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But a lot of the time the characters seem mere decorations on a straightforward piece of travel writing, sometimes disappearing for most of a chapter - as for instance when the author describes the German Mensur tradition, in which students evidently competed to scar each other with manly wounds. Well worth discussing, perhaps, but out of place in a comic novel. And sometimes when the humour is present, it doesn't quite come off: for example, a lot of effort is expended in contriving a situation in which three drunkards end up sleeping in each other's houses; but the farcical opportunities are wasted as the episode simply winds up.

It remains a perfectly pleasant book, but it hasn't the modest perfection and warm-hearted charm of the earlier book. It's perhaps most memorable for its weirdly prescient remarks on 'the German character'; in particular:

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In Germany today [pre-WWI] one hears a good deal concerning Socialism, but it is a Socialism that would only be despotism under another name.
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By Graham R. Hill VINE VOICE on 18 Oct. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had never bothered to read this because it was generally accepted as not being as good as its predecessor. Now, at least forty years after reading 'Three Men On A Boat' I took advantage of this being free on Kindle, read it, and discovered that it is in fact not as good as its predecessor. That's not to say that there aren't some very funny episodes nor that the more serious elements aren't worth reading either; especially thought provoking is a section on the possible outcomes of what Jerome views as the German habit of over-deferring to authority. Given that they were written in the late 19th century these are almost spookily prescient. However much of the book is repetitive (recapitulated descriptions of being woken early by one's hosts children, riffs on what would happen if animals could talk) and many of the targets are meaningless to modern readers. Does anyone know why watering the roads was such a big deal?

The best chapter is actually the first, containing a spot-on and very amusing explication of marital politics.
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It would defeat anyone to try to deliver an equally successful sequel to 'Three Men in a Boat', an all-time classic, and it clearly defeated Mr. Jerome. That is not to say that there are not amusing moments in this book, there certainly are, and it is a wonderful insight into late 19th century mores and habits. It is just not possible to match its predecessor. With the benefit of hindsight following two world wars, its observations on the German character should have been required reading for the statesmen of the time. Overall, it is fascinating, moderately entertaining but, ultimately, a little disappointing.
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This book has never achieved anything the popularity of Three Men In A Boat, which is a pity because it paints a charming and amusing picture of Germany (and Bohemia) just before the outbreak of the Great War. And therein lies the reason for its lack of popularity, for a long time it was impossible to describe Germany with affection or humour, and by the time it was possible this book was seen by many (too many) as outdated and irrelevant. But if you want to understand some of the tensions that led to the First World War, you will find it here, along with a lot of amusing anecdotes about bicycle saddles and posters, and all those inventions that claim to make cycling effortless - some things are as constant as the Pole Star.
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