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Swiss Watching: Inside the Land of Milk and Money (Anglais) Broché – 19 mars 2012

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

'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

Présentation de l'éditeur



New updated edition for 2012, new statistics and Epilogue

One country, four languages, 26 cantons, and 7.5 million people (but only 80% of them Swiss): there's nowhere else in Europe like it. Switzerland may be almost 400 km from the nearest drop of seawater, but it is an island at the centre of Europe. Welcome to the landlocked island.

Swiss Watching is a fascinating journey around Europe s most individual and misunderstood country. From seeking Heidi and finding the best chocolate to reliving a bloody past and exploring an uncertain future, Diccon Bewes proves that there's more to Switzerland than banks and skis, francs and cheese. This book dispels the myths and unravels the true meaning of Swissness.

In a land of cultural contradictions, this is a picture of the real and normally unseen Switzerland, a place where the breathtaking scenery shaped a nation not just a tour itinerary, and where tradition is as important as innovation.

It's also the story of its people, who have more power than their politicians, but can't speak to one another in the same language and who own more guns per head than the people of Iraq. As for those national clichés, well, not all the cheese has holes, cuckoo clocks aren't Swiss and the trains don't always run exactly on time.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 336 pages
  • Editeur : Nicholas Brealey Publishing; Édition : 2nd Revised edition (19 mars 2012)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1857885872
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857885873
  • Dimensions du produit: 14,6 x 2,5 x 22,2 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 24.289 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
J'ai adoré ce livre, plein de petites notes d'humour mais surtout d'histoire d'anecdotes et de savoir essentiel sur la suisse. C'est génial d'avoir le point de vue de quelqu'un d'extérieur qui décortique le pays et ses habitants avec beaucoup d'intelligence et de tendresse mais aussi une pointe d'humour. J'ai appris plein de choses sur mon pays et je recommande ce livre à tous ceux qui s'intéressent à la Suisse ou ses habitants!
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Par DCM le 18 avril 2015
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Un humour très british pour décrire la vie en Suisse. Ecrit dans un anglais très agréable à lire, cet ouvrage est un vrai plaisir.
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Amazon.com: 58 commentaires
17 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
For all those who want to learn about Switzerland 24 juin 2012
Par Marc Riese - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Diccon Bewes has done research and given thought to his broad introduction to Switzerland. His 310 page book easily covers the essentials and is good for thoughtful travellers, but most residents and perhaps even Switzerland experts will also enjoy his partly-outsider, partly-insider perspective on modern developments. Bewes states his objective as follows: "This book won't tell you where to eat in Zurich, what to see in Basel or how to use the trains. What it will do is take you behind the scenes and beyond the stereotypes on a journey into the heart of Switzerland and the minds of its sometimes quirky people." Bewes achieves this goal. I liked his meandering style and his comments on a wide range of Swiss places and topics. His book avoids cheer-leading but has the enthusiasm that comes from someone who has fallen in love with his new homeland. Bewes has a British perspective and makes some interesting comparisons to Britain, but he avoids insider jokes and keeps his prose simple. His corny, sometimes very corny style of humour is a matter of taste. Bewes learned much by speaking with his Swiss friends and colleagues and his informative research -- from various excursions and reading -- is further documented by numerous footnotes and references. His perspective is strongly influenced by his home base in Bern, i.e., in the German part of Switzerland. He gives some but fewer insights into the French and Italian cultures of Switzerland. The book claims to offer a "complete insight into the Swiss identity", but it is too short and high-level to achieve that goal. It is a good introduction.

Bewes of course shows the positive and interesting side of his subject, but I was glad to see that he also points out some shameful aspects of Switzerland that out of fairness must be pointed out. These include the Nazi-Gold history, a robust minority of xenophobes and the contradiction of neutral, humanitarian Switzerland, creator and main supporter of the International Red Cross, manufacturing and selling weapons today, indiscriminately, and on a grand scale, to 72 countries (top customer: Pakistan). As a Swiss citizen I know that there is much more to say, for example regarding Switzerland's seemingly endless history of amoral banking (e.g., with Apartheid South Africa) or Switzerland's sending Jews back to their deaths in Nazi Germany. Of course, EVERY country has MUCH to be ashamed about, and of course the goal of the book is not to trudge through a long list of problems. Bewes is fair but generous in his description of the country. Bewes remarks in passing how densely the buildings are spread out in the countryside; in fact Switzerland has a serious sprawl problem that many Swiss politicians prefer not to address but that is threatening Switzerland's attractiveness for tourists.

The author rightly devotes much space to the excellent public transport system. However, his book shows that his default alternative to public transport when he wants to go anywhere is always the car (e.g., for his visits to Gruyere, Emmenthal, and Maienfeld). It's a pity that he devotes almost no space to the Swiss bike culture that aims to rival the great bicycle-friendly countries of Europe. The book came out at the beginning of an explosive growth in usage of electric bicycles, mainly used to replace short car rides. Bewes devotes some attention to Swiss recycling but says very little of the deep and broad environmental awareness and action in Switzerland that makes the country and some Swiss companies stand out in the world.

Most importantly, in my opinion, the reader learns a little about Switzerland's extraordinary direct democracy and unusually successful political model. Switzerland allots proportional parliamentary representation to all political parties that run as candidates for a given election; this outshines the sclerotic, change-resistant political models of most countries, where two or three established parties monopolize power and effectively shut out small, innovative parties forever. Switzerland's direct democracy is not easy to copy; California's model was inspired by it but the result has not yet been a success. Proportional representation, on the other hand, is more commonly used in the world and would be easier to implement, but established parties strongly resist moving to it.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
As a Swiss I have to say: quite accurate and great fun 24 mai 2012
Par MarionP - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book is a delight for me to read, and I AM Swiss, living near Zurich. I would strongly oppose the idea that this book is just a party chit-chat. Yes, there are these things in there as well, but most of the things are incredibly well researched. For instance, the way the politics / government works, is really explained very well. I often had to laugh and sometimes think to myself: for me, this is normal, but perhaps for non-Swiss these things that I know and just take for granted are really astonishing.

The book gives a feeling of a very caring and sensitive approach to Switzerland and the Swiss. I got the feeling that the author sometimes feels a bit lost in the weird and wonderful world of Switzerland, while at the same time he seems to respect and cherish this place.

If you really would like to know the way the Swiss people (or at least what is considered as "THE" Swiss, if there is such a thing) think in everyday life, this is a good buy. If you're interested in in-depth historic account, then perhaps it is a bit too chitty-chatty. But I love it.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A terrific book! Hints and explanations to be found nowhere else 30 juillet 2013
Par Susan B. Hanley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Note: I am reviewing the European version, with the subtitle "Inside Europe's Landlocked Island." I can see how some readers might be put off by the tone and the lighthearted approach, but this book explains things I have wondered about after spending months in Switzerland every year for a decade and more. Why a woman was irate when I opened a window on a slow-moving train on a sweltering hot day even though she wasn't sitting next to or across from me. Why people stand in line to board a bus and then sneak around the line to the side and board before other people. Why you must individually greet everyone in a large group even though you have never seen them before and never will again. This book will prevent you from making mistakes I have made for years!

I found the chapters amusing, informative, and easy to read. Bewes is English but loves Switzerland and makes fun equally of his own culture and the idiosyncrasies of the Swiss. But what I found crucial and why I give 5 stars to this book is the Swiss Watching Tip given at the end of each chapter. If you read nothing more, do read these!

Bewes is not an academic, just someone experienced in life in Switzerland and inquisitive as to why the Swiss do certain things. So he writes what he sees. If you want a more academic approach, read Margaret Oertig-Davidson's Beyond Chocolate, an equally indispensable book.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A good view of the country from the perspective of this American ex-pat 11 juillet 2013
Par Stephen Ferrari - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
The reading is very light, even when talking about what could otherwise be quite dry (history, government). The humor is sometimes cute but often falls a bit flat, and I felt that the opinions were sometimes inconsistent. But as a US ex-pat living in Switzerland for the past eight years, I enjoyed the book, learned a bit, and found the vast majority of the observations spot-on. I have passed the book on to family and friends living in the states to give them a better understanding of what I'm experiencing.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Swiss Watching Review 7 septembre 2012
Par JannyM - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
As a frequent traveller to Switzerland, I loved this book. It was well written, well researched, humorous and covered just about every aspect of Swiss life that makes it so unique. It was recommended to me by a Swiss friend and a Swiss person wouldn't do that lightly!
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