Book Review: Backpacking With Dracula by Leif Pettersen

Contrary to popular belief travel writing – as we have spent years trying to tell anyone who will listen – is neither a glamorous nor a lucrative occupation. In fact, most of the time it’s a grim, lonely existence which barely covers the rent. Maybe it’s confirmation bias, but we think that the best bits… Continue reading Book Review: Backpacking With Dracula by Leif Pettersen

Fell in love with an alien

Ever heard of the Kelly Family? An incredibly cheesy, kitsch Irish family pop combo featuring tens of kids? (If you added the Corrs and the Nolans together you’d still be well short of the kind of numbers we are talking here). They were vaguely big in Germany (but then again, who wasn’t?) and had a… Continue reading Fell in love with an alien

No Saints: Romania’s Legionary Death Cult

Book review: Holy Legionary Youth: Fascist Activism in Interwar Romania By Roland Clark The next time anyone tries to convince you that the Romanian Legionary Movement of the 1930s and early 1940s was anything other than evil it is enough to remember just one passage describing the Bucharest pogrom of January 1941¬†from this quite brilliant… Continue reading No Saints: Romania’s Legionary Death Cult

Book review: In Europe’s Shadow, by Robert Kaplan

Amidst a sea of often wildly inaccurate and turgid rubbish churned out by hacks eager to make a quick few bob in the wake of Romania’s 1989 revolution, one of the few genuinely readable accounts of Romania at the time was that which appeared in Robert Kaplan’s excellent Balkan Ghosts. A sweeping tour of the… Continue reading Book review: In Europe’s Shadow, by Robert Kaplan

Bucharest down the pan

The most fascinating little book that you have (probably) yet to read this year is this gem from Alex Drace-Francis and Wendy Bracewell, both of whom we know – disclosure klaxon – from our days at SSEES: Where to Go in Europe. It’s a simple idea: an anthology of travellers’ accounts of confronting the need… Continue reading Bucharest down the pan

The Belgium of the East

We usually publish reviews of great books about Romania under the heading Great Books About Romania in English. Alas for those of you who don’t read Romanian, Lucian Boia’s latest book De ce este Romania altfel? (Why is Romania different?) is not – yet – available in English. We hope it will be very soon,… Continue reading The Belgium of the East

Great books about Romania in English: Never Mind the Balkans, Here’s Romania by Mike Ormsby

We had planned to do so much this weekend, not least watching the Arsenal lose at home to Blackburn in the cup, but then while drinking our Saturday morning coffee we noticed on Twitter that the Kindle version of Mike Ormsby’s Never Mind the Balkans, Here’s Romania was currently free. We downloaded it immediately and… Continue reading Great books about Romania in English: Never Mind the Balkans, Here’s Romania by Mike Ormsby