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Book of the Week

Europe in the Looking Glass

Episode 1

Duration: 15 minutes

First broadcast: on BBC Radio 4 FMLatest broadcast: on BBC Radio 4 Extra

Europe in the Looking Glass is Robert Byron's travel classic, recounting a car journey across Europe in 1926, and providing a mirror on events and nationhood both then and today. Byron (a descendant of the poet) found acclaim as the author of The Road to Oxiana - an account of a trip to Afghanistan and Persia.

It tells the story of three young Englishmen travelling across the neighbouring continent in an unreliable car - encountering the rise of Italian fascism and the anarchy of Greece along the way. In other words, the book offers a compelling mirror on Europe today (a world of technocrats and populists...) with the additional benefit of being witty, colourful and full of apercus about such types as loud American tourists and unwashed German backpackers.

The conclusion offers the travellers (and all of us) a new perspective on their homeland as well as the countries and cultures they explore together.

In part one, they leave Grimsby and motor through northern Germany.

Read by Rupert Penry-Jones.

Producer: David Roper
A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4. Show less

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