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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 EXSWZ50. Buy these 4 items as a set for $61 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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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)

Insight Guide Switzerland

Insight Guide Switzerland

by Insight Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 368 PAGES

This handsome guide gives a profusely illustrated overview of Switzerland, featuring concise essays by well-regarded authors on history, politics and culture, as well as hundreds of photos and maps and other practical information. (SWZ15, $24.99)

Culture Smart! Switzerland

Culture Smart! Switzerland

by Kendall Maycock

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 168 PAGES

A concise, no-nonsense guide to Switzerland's customs, etiquette and culture. (SWZ58, $9.95)

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
  • HARD COVER
  • 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 of change in Switzerland. (SWZ80, $29.95)

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 all left their mark. (ALP30, $35.00)

Why Switzerland?

Why Switzerland?


by Jonathan Steinberg

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1996
  • PAPER
  • 300 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)

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 (where four of the seven-man team perished). (ALP16, $14.00)

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, $14.95)

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
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 332 PAGES

Set in snowy Switzerland and the rainy Italian Lake Country during World War I, this semi-autobiographical novel chronicles the romance between a British nurse and an American ambulance driver. (ITL384, $16.00)

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, $7.00)

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, $14.95)

The Night Manager

The Night Manager


by John Le Carre

  • LITERATURE
  • 1994
  • PAPER
  • 473 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, $7.99)

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 has been updated with revised text and maps. (FG47, $29.95)

Wild Flowers of Britain & Northern Europe

Wild Flowers of Britain & Northern Europe


by Andrew Cleave

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 160 PAGES

Featuring color photographs of commonly encountered species in the field and garden. (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.