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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 31 December 2016
A ‘bummel’ (according to the narrator) is Victorian slang for a kind of meandering travelling, maybe a bit like the modern ‘walkabout’. This time, the characters from ‘Three Men in a Boat’, now older (and two of them now with families), go off on a tour of Germany, visiting a few cities and then cycling in the Black Forest. There are jokes about family life, phrase-books, being disorganised, cycle-advertising and cycle-repair, Germany, getting lost – it’s mostly the same kind of good-natured, self-mocking humour as earlier book.
The jokes about Germans mostly focus on supposed authoritarianism, but there’s a nice twist on the ‘no sense of humour’ stereotype. And there are a few serious parts about the (1900s) international situation and a bloodthirsty German duelling tradition. As often, not as good as the first book (maybe because it’s thematically too ‘bitty’ and unfocused in its settings?), but OK.
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on 20 December 2012
This is just pure fun. I hate modern comedy in all its shallow pointless `it's so bad it must be funny' mentality, in his book comedy just seems to spring out at you when you do not expect it. It is like listening to one of those great dinner party experts who ramble on with a dry tale that has you laughing out loud at completely random parts of the tale. Please do not compare this with 3 men in a boat they are different books, this one actually looks at the culture of the people and makes comments that show a race of people easily influenced without question. I found the book, funny, insightful, and engaging, storytelling, as it should be. You could even ask if it was so easy for the storyteller to see the Germany of the time in this way, then why did others not see the potential risk of the coming years.
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on 3 November 2003
This is a disappointingly poor sequel to Jerome's classic Three Men in a Boat. The three main characters, now 10 years older than in TMB, go on a bicycle ride through some parts of Germany and find themselves in the middle of all sorts of NOT funny events. The potential for making fun of the Germans (or letting the Germans make fun of the 3 Englishmen) on such a trip is most certainly there; still, it amounts to very little.
To be honest, I haven't managed to finish this pretty small volume - it is neither well written or entertaining. If you're a die-hard fan of Three Men in a Boat you might like this one - after all, he tries to imitate the kind of humour which maked the prequel so original and entertaining. I consider myself a die-hard fan of the original, however, and I most certainly did not enjoy this one.
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on 23 December 2015
I love this book. There are episodes in it which on a first reading had me laughing until tears came - notably when Harris, George and J. get lost in a wood, the hosepipe disaster, their efforts with a phrase book in a London boot shop, and the practical joke with the statues. I agree with the reviewer who says that the tone quietens towards the end when experiences in Germany are described; this book was published in 1900 i.e. before the FIRST World War (1914-1918) , and when the naval arms race between Britain and Germany was hotting up. In the light of worsening relations which lay in the future, some of Jerome's remarks may appear prescient. However, this is not the reason for reading the book ! I find the humour and good spirits very engaging.
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on 26 November 2015
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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on 8 December 2007
This is a very funny book for anyone who cycles, is thinking of cycling, or looking for reasons not to take it up! It contains many funny scenes including the maintenance of a cycle prior to a holiday in the Black Forest - reducing the bike to a pile of bits and pieces including a bummel in urgent need of a repair person! A wonderfully crafted comic treat which puts most contemporary comic writing to shame.

Mick Drake author of the comic novel All`s Well at Wellwithoute
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on 17 December 2013
This is a sequel to the well-known and much-loved Three Men In a Boat. It is written in the same vein about the same period and much of it is as funny as the first book. However the Bummel (German for sort of wandering lazily about) takes place in late 19th century Germany, and a lot of the humour latterly in the book is based on British perception of Germans from this era. These perceptions changed drastically during the 20th century, so modern readers are not familiar with the national idiosyncracies and type of characters that Jerome K Jerome is poking fun at. However, if you have read the first book, there is no harm is reading the 'follow-up'.
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on 22 August 2016
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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 December 2012
For some reason, this sequel to Three Men in a Boat has never been as popular as its illustrious predecessor. Yet it is almost as funny, with some extremely drole episodes that had me laughing out loud at the clash of the (English and German) cultures. For example, how you will get into trouble if you throw things out of the window of your boarding house at a noisy cat below. Yes, there are some observational scenes that are not intended to be funny, but this was also true of the historical digressions in Three Men in a Boat.

Highly recommended.
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on 29 June 2001
This is a good book, but its not a patch on the first one. There were points when I laughed out loud but, unlike Three Men in a Boat, there weren't those really funny stories which stick in your mind and still make you laugh long after you've finished the book (Harris and the swans, the elderly uncle putting up a picture frame...)
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