Swiss Watching

Swiss Watching : Inside the Land of Milk and Money

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FINANCIAL TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR One country, four languages, 26 cantons, and 7.8 million people (but only 78% 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 cliches, 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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Product details

  • Paperback | 336 pages
  • 134 x 214 x 30mm | 399.16g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • B&W maps
  • 1857885872
  • 9781857885873
  • 12,638

Review quote

A FINANCIAL TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR 'We all know that Switzerland gave the world 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, manager of an English language bookshop in Bern, is a perfect guide.' -Financial Times 'A journalist who now lives in Switzerland, Bewes is a well-qualified guide to a country that, although familiar, requires expertise to understand... Bewes reveals how Switzerland is riddled with contradictions... Informative and entertaining.' **** -Harry Ritchie, Mail on Sunday 'Bewes has an engagingly light and comic touch. The narrative moves between subjects as diverse as graffiti and recycling with ease, and as the book is divided into sections, it's easy to dip in and out of. This isn't a read to change your life, but it will make you smile and perhaps think a little more deeply about cultural stereotypes.' -Clover Stroud, The Sunday Telegraph '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' 'This book is excellently researched and reads wonderfully well. As well as being packed with material, it contains a heart-warming sense of irony... [It] is in a league of its own.' -Jurg Muller, Swiss Review 'At Last! A book about Switzerland that cuts through the stereotypes in an honest and entertaining exploration of this unique corner of Europe. 'Swiss Watching' manages to combine impeccable research with humour and wry observation.' -Matthew Beattie, Swiss News '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 Snowball Orange 'Diccon Bewes has written the ideal book for Swiss national day. As an Enlishman he has the necessary ironic distance, but he knows the object of his enquiry, perhaps better than many a Swiss patriot... Diccon Bewes' background as a travel writer gives the book a special flair: the author's observations are insightful, with a sure eye for comic or exotic detail, and described with typically English humour.' -Artur K. Vogel, Der Bund 'With 'Swiss Watching', Diccon Bewes has achieved a book that holds surprising insights about the Swiss, and not just for foreigners.' -Jonathan Spirig, Berner Zeitung 'A fascinating book, teeming with facts and figures, and anecdotes which even the Swiss don't know. A ournalist, anthropologist and satirist, Diccon Bewes gives us a book that is serious without being academic and funny without ever falling into caricature.' -Michel Guillaume, L'Hebdo

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About Diccon Bewes

Diccon Bewes is a full-time writer following the international success of 'Swiss Watching'. A degree from LSE in International Relations and an 18-month world trip set him up for a career in travel writing, via the scenic route of bookselling. After ten years at Lonely Planet and Holiday Which? magazine, he decamped to Switzerland, where he has managed the Stauffacher English Bookshop in Bern. As well as grappling with German, re-learning to cross the road properly, and overcoming his desire to form an orderly queue, he has spent the last five years exploring this quirky country. See his website at

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