As European unity is buffeted by Brexit and the rise of nationalist governments, the team behind Travel the Liberation Route Europe (Rough Guides, Aug.) aims to transport readers to a time when much of the continent rallied around the shared goal of freedom.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the final phase of WWII fought on the Continent, the Liberation Route Europe Foundation, a Dutch organization that promotes tourism along the area of the Western Front, has partnered with Rough Guides to produce a travel guide steeped in history. The book is timely not just because of the anniversary, coauthor Nick Inman says, but also because of current geopolitics: “It’s important for people to remember why Europe needs to work together.”
The book traces the Allied advance through nine countries, covering a geographic area that spans from the United Kingdom to Poland. Destinations include well-known memorials and less-visited sites. In Normandy, for instance, travelers may visit the Memorial de Caen in Normandy, site of the Canadian, American, and British gardens honoring the liberating troops, as well as the Civilians in Wartime Memorial in Falaise, which turns the focus to the devastation local populations suffered under bombardment.
Full-page color photos and descriptions of historical sites are interspersed with narrative chapters on topics including local Resistance movements and the fate of displaced communities. The book provides basic information for destinations and encourages readers to consult the Liberation Route website for more in-depth details, including information on accommodations and local tour guide operators.
As the European Union contemplates some of its most serious challenges since the war, Inman says, the book is a reminder of shared foundations. “There is a thing called Europe that’s about tolerance, freedom, and human rights, and that’s all a result of the liberation that came out of this war.”