by Simon Winder
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A Sunday Times History Book of the Year 2019 Shortlisted for The Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award ‘No Briton has written better than Winder about Europe’ – Sunday Times In AD 843, the three surviving grandsons of the great Emperor Charlemagne met at Verdun. After years of bitter squabbles over who would inherit the family land, they finally decided to divide the territory and go their separate ways. In a moment of staggering significance, one grandson inherited what became France, another Germany and the third Lotharingia: the chunk that initially divided the other two. The dynamic between these three great zones has dictated much of our subsequent fate. In this beguiling, hilarious and compelling book we retrace how both from west and from east any number of ambitious characters have tried and failed to grapple with these Lotharingians, who ultimately became Dutch, German, Belgian, French, Luxembourgers and Swiss. Over many centuries, not only has Lotharingia brought forth many of Europe’s greatest artists, inventors and thinkers, but it has also reduced many a would-be conqueror to helpless tears of rage and frustration. Joining Germania and Danubia in Simon Winder’s endlessly fascinating retelling of European history, Lotharingia is a personal, wonderful and gripping story.