Europe, Europe

Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Author, Helena Franklin, Editor, Martin Chalmers, Translator Pantheon Books $18.95 (325p) ISBN 978-0-394-55819-6
Enzensberger's disillusioned travel diary based on his wanderings through six European countries is an acerbically witty look at a continent beset by corruption, shadow economies, discredited political parties, and laboring under a crazy-quilt of special-interest groups. This German essayist ( Politics and Crime ) and poet finds the Swedes docile, conformist, touched by historical innocence. His sarcastic sketch of Italy lightly mocks a people obsessed with status and intrigue. In Portugal, he contemplates the stolid natives' passive sabotage that undermines capitalist efficiency. A Polish woman tells him: ``Feminism is a detested aberration! Our men worship us, it's true . . . and that's the source of our power.'' In Hungary, he sees a people stagnating because the political system won't tolerate needed economic reforms. ``Madrid is about as festive as Moscow or Houston,'' the author quips. These sharply illuminating vignettes gauge the social and political realities of each country with a perspicacity rare in travel writing. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-679-73159-7
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