Following Europe’s Greatest River from Amsterdam to the Alps
By Ben Coates
Ben Coates, author of Why the Dutch are Different, cycles the Rhine river from mouth to source, discovering the mark it makes on Europe.
The Rhine is one of the world's greatest rivers. Once forming the outer frontier of the Roman Empire, it flows 800 miles from the social democratic playground of the Netherlands, through the industrial and political powerhouses of Germany and France, to the wealthy mountain fortresses of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
For five years, Ben Coates lived alongside a major channel of the river in Rotterdam, crossing it daily, swimming and sailing in its tributaries. In The Rhine, he sets out by bicycle from the Netherlands where it enters the North Sea, following it through Germany, France and Liechtenstein, to its source in the icy Alps. He explores the impact that the Rhine has had on European culture and history and finds out how influences have flowed along and across the river, shaping the people who live alongside it.
Blending travelogue and offbeat history, The Rhine tells the fascinating story of how a great river helped shape a continent.
Ben Coates was born in Britain in 1982, lives in Rotterdam with his Dutch wife, and now works for an international charity. During his career he has been a political advisor, corporate speechwriter, lobbyist and aid worker. He has written articles for numerous publications including the Guardian, Financial Times and Huffington Post. ben-coates.com
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- Publication date:
13 Sep 2018
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Nicholas Brealey Publishing
A captivating mixture of travel and history. — Compass
Ben Coates discovers how the Rhine influenced history. — Daily Express
*Praise for Why the Dutch are Different* — -
Ben Coates has produced an insightful gem. — Scotsman - Book of the Year
Coates is entirely convincing in his affectionate portrait. — Prospect
Vivid and informative. — Geographical
He conveys well the role of the Rhine in European culture and history: how it has been seen at different times as a "free-flowing conduit for goods, people and ideas" and as a battleground and frontier. — The Telegraph
The Ten Best Books About Travel of 2018
A piece of nonfiction that's both a travelogue and historic account of how the river shaped Europe.
— Smithsonian Mag
we might question the Rhine being considered 'Europe's greatest river'. But Ben Coates makes a persuasive and entertaining argument for the accolade...My eagerness to devour each chapter was dependent less on the overall theme of the book, but almost entirely on Coates' engaging writing style and the playful way he reveals the history of this part of Europe. — Chris Fitch, Geographical