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SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS

Discovering Switzerland: A Family Adventure

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXSWZ68. Buy these 6 items as a set for $93 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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Swiss Watching, Inside Europe's Landlocked Island

Swiss Watching, Inside Europe's Landlocked Island

by Diccon Bewes

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 324 PAGES

An international bestseller. Diccon Bewees, a neutral Brit, covers cheese, chocolate, William Tell, bureaucracy and banks, all with humor and thorough research. His cultural portrait of the one-of-a-kind nation includes tips on local customs, greetings and etiquette. Second edition. (SWZ73, $19.95)

La Place de la Concorde Suisse

La Place de la Concorde Suisse

by John McPhee

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1994
  • PAPER
  • 150 PAGES

McPhee deploys his usual insight and wonderful prose on the phenomenon of the Switzerland army to present an irreverent portrait of Switzerland and the Swiss mindset. (SWZ14, $16.00)

Killing Dragons, The Conquest of the Alps

Killing Dragons, The Conquest of the Alps

by Fergus Fleming

  • EXPLORATION
  • 2001
  • PAPER
  • 398 PAGES

Fleming spins lively tales of man against nature in this entertaining history of the eccentrics, adventurers and publicity-hounds who sought to conquer the Alps, including Whymper and his first ascent of the Matterhorn 150 years ago. (ALP16, $14.00)

Culture Smart! Switzerland

Culture Smart! Switzerland

by Kendall Maycock

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2016
  • PAPER
  • 168 PAGES

A concise, no-nonsense guide to Switzerland's customs, etiquette and culture. (SWZ58, $11.99)

Eyewitness Guide Switzerland

Eyewitness Guide Switzerland

by Eyewitness Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2015
  • FLEXI-BOUND
  • 320 PAGES

A compact, thoroughly illustrated guide, featuring over 900 photographs, good maps, and plenty of information on hiking in the Swiss Alps, natural and tourist attractions and the history and arts of Switzerland. (SWZ45, $25.00)

Switzerland Map

Switzerland Map

by Michelin Maps

  • 2012
  • MAP

A colorful, shaded relief map of Switzerland at a scale of 1:400,000. (SWZ11, $12.95)

 
Slow Train to Switzerland, One Tour, Two Trips, 150 Years -- and a World of Change Apart

Slow Train to Switzerland, One Tour, Two Trips, 150 Years -- and a World of Change Apart


by Diccon Bewes

  • HISTORY
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

Bestselling author Diccon Bewes (Swiss Watching SWZ73) follows in the footsteps of an 1863 tour group who traveled from London to Lucerne, Switzerland. In his trademark breezy, intelligent prose, Bewes traces how tourism and time have caused a sea change in Switzerland. (SWZ80, $19.95)

The Alps, A Cultural History

The Alps, A Cultural History


by Andrew Beattie

  • HISTORY
  • 2006
  • HARD COVER
  • 256 PAGES

Beattie explores the turbulent past and vibrant present of the Alps, where early pioneers of tourism, mountaineering and scientific research have each left their mark. (ALP30, $36.95)

Why Switzerland?

Why Switzerland?


by Jonathan Steinberg

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES

A masterly overview of the idiosyncrasies of Switzerland, its history, language, politics and identity as a naysayer at the center of Europe. (SWZ04, $39.99)

Eiger Dreams, Ventures Among Men and Mountains

Eiger Dreams, Ventures Among Men and Mountains


by Jon Krakauer

  • EXPLORATION
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 192 PAGES

A collection of some of Krakauer's (Into Thin Air) best journalism, these stories and essays focus on the mindset and determination of world-class mountaineers, including Alpine and Himalayan climbers. (ALP10, $14.95)

Scrambles Amongst the Alps: In the Years 1860-69

Scrambles Amongst the Alps: In the Years 1860-69


by Edward Whymper

  • EXPLORATION
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

Edward Wymper's classic account of Victorian-era mountaineering captures the geography, beauty and allure of the Alps. (ALP02, $16.00)

A Tramp Abroad

A Tramp Abroad


by Mark Twain | David Eggers | Kerry Driscoll

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES

Written 11 years after Innocents Abroad, this is Twain's second foray into European travel. Filled with his characteristic wit and humorous observations, it documents his journeys through Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. Now with an introduction by Dave Eggers. (EUR78, $17.00)

Coming Out Swiss, In Search of Heidi, Chocolate and My Other Life

Coming Out Swiss, In Search of Heidi, Chocolate and My Other Life


by Anne Herrmann

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2014
  • HARD COVER
  • 264 PAGES

Part memoir, part history, part travelogue, Anne Hermann's passionate celebration of what it means to be Swiss intertwines personal revelation with cultural fact. (SWZ82, $26.95)

There & Then, Travel Writings of James Salter

There & Then, Travel Writings of James Salter


by James Salter

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 296 PAGES

These sketches and essays cover 20 years of novelist Salter's peripatetic life, particularly his extended time hiking and skiing in the Alps of Switzerland, Austria and France. (ALP28, $16.95)

A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms


by Ernest Hemingway

  • LITERATURE
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 330 PAGES

Set in snowy Switzerland and the rainy Italian Lake Country during WWI, this semi-autobiographical novel chronicles the romance between a British nurse and an American ambulance driver. This edition collects all of the alternate endings, along with early drafts of other essential passages (ITL384, $17.00)

Daisy Miller

Daisy Miller


by Henry James

  • LITERATURE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 126 PAGES

A classic story of a young American woman's innocent flirtation and its misinterpretation by a sophisticated European man, set in Lac Leman and Chillon. This is James' first fictional work to gain mass popularity and one of his great American female portraits. (SWZ09, $8.00)

Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus

Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus


by Mary Shelley

  • LITERATURE
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

Set around Lake Geneva, this classic gothic novel, was written in 1816 when the author and her husband were neighbors of Byron, who suggested writing ghost stories to while away the damp, summer days during their stay. (SWZ10, $9.00)

Hotel du Lac

Hotel du Lac


by Anita Brookner

  • LITERATURE
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 184 PAGES

Funny, stylish and spellbinding, Brookner's novel tracks the story of a romance novelist seeking evasive peace and quiet at the luxurious Hotel du Lac in Switzerland. (SWZ05, $15.95)

Selected Poems

Selected Poems


by George Gordon Byron, Baro Byron

  • LITERATURE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 830 PAGES

This excellent selection of the Romantic poet's work includes a complete version of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Lord Byron's classic, epic poem about a world-weary traveler -- in part, an account of youthful adventures in the Balkans. (EUR400, $17.00)

The Night Manager

The Night Manager


by John Le Carre

  • LITERATURE
  • 2016
  • PAPER
  • 480 PAGES

This best-selling, post-Cold War thriller about ruthless arms dealers in Geneva is a gripping read. Carrying on the great Le Carre tradition of espionage, a man who essentially gave up living after a tremendous failure is given a costly shot at redemption. (SWZ06, $9.99)

The Walk

The Walk


by Robert Walser | Susan Bernofsky

  • LITERATURE
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 96 PAGES

In this classic novella by the Swiss modernist, freshly translated, Walser writes that "it is on walks that the lore of nature and the lore of the country are revealed, charming and graceful, to the sense and eyes of the observant walker." (SWZ75, $10.95)

Birds of Europe

Birds of Europe


by Lars Svensson

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 416 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second edition of this exquisite guide features updated text and maps. (FG47, $29.95)

Wild Flowers of Britain & Northern Europe

Wild Flowers of Britain & Northern Europe


by Andrew Cleave

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2015
  • PAPER
  • 160 PAGES

A colorful field guide featuring commonly encountered species of the fields and gardens of Europe. (EUR371, $14.95)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.