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History & Legends of the European Waterways…
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History & Legends of the European Waterways

by Roger Pilkington

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Recently added byWattis, Zcorbain, RobertDay

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Delve beneath the appalling cover, and you might find that this is a book that grows on you - I did. It started out as a selection of interesting historical and folk tales from up and down the navigable waterways of Europe. For quite some time, these read like tourist guidebook folk-tale anecdotes from the historical period known simply as "long ago". Then quite suddenly, the language tightens up a bit and you find quite erudite examinations of things such as the possible truth behind the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the origins of the Franco-Prussian war and the beginnings of the German chemical industry.

Certainly, then, a book of parts; I suspect it is a combination of pieces that first appeared in a number of different publications. The author's own opinions creep out here and there; and someone's idea of geographical unity is a bit stretched; the book starts with Holland, Belgium and Northern France; then does the Rhine and its tributaries; then the Dortmund - Ems canal; then Sweden; and finally lurches back to the south of France.

All in all, then, an unexpected pleasure (especially after the vile cover!), but not one that should be the serious reader's only source on these places and their history. ( )
  RobertDay | Jun 27, 2008 |
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