I liked this description of a region being ‘daft-and-marginal’ before splitting in two, with one half somehow managing to rule the world for a while.

This is from Simon Winder’s masterful, erudite and entirely entertaining study of Germany. He writes with such verve and originality that he puts most historians to shame. Apart from Simon Schama and Tom Holland, that is.

‘So in one of those dynastic swirls which I have generally tried to shelter the reader from, two daft and marginal bits of Lower Saxony suddenly went their different ways, with one branch, from its new bases in Hanover and London, ruling a large part of the world, and the other remaining daft and marginal.’

For more examples of his engaging and imaginative style and dazzling, playful metaphor, see the quote-packed review.

 

Source: Simon Winder, Germania: A personal history of Germans ancient and modern (London, Picador, 2011 (2010)), p. 197

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