New Europe, Paperback Book
2 out of 5 (1 rating)


No. 1 bestseller and superstar doing what he does best, introducing millions of avid readers to little-known peoples and places.Until the early 1990s, when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, travelling behind the iron curtain was never easy.

In undertaking his new journey through Eastern Europe, breathing in its rich history, and exquisite sights and talking to its diverse peoples, Michael fills what has been a void in his own experience and that of very many others.

NEW EUROPE is very much a voyage of discovery, from the snows of the Julian Alps to the beauty of the Baltic sea, he finds himself in countries he'd barely heard of, many unfamiliar and mysterious, all with tragic histories and much brighter futures.During his 20-country adventure Palin meets Romanian lumberjacks, drives the 8.58 stopping train from Poznan to Wolsztyn, treads the catwalk at a Budapest fashion show, learns about mine-clearing in Bosnia and watches Turkish gents wrestling in olive oil. As with all his bestselling books, in his uniquely entertaining style, Palin opens up a new and undiscovered world to millions of readers.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Travel writing
  • ISBN: 9780753823972

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It would be difficult to separate the book from the television series, better titled "A series too far". Even the "New Europe" title suggests the belated discovery of a part of the continent which an increasing number of people had already been visiting for some years. "We need to do a new series.""Must we? Where could we go.""How about the new Europe?""What new Europe?""The East, the Balkans - nobody knows about it yet.""Really?"Predictably, the result was a lame series. I awaited the accompanying book with interest - although not too much interest - to see whether the flaw was a presenter whose heart wasn't in it, or bad research, or bad editing. This is still not entirely clear.The book does clarify a number of things. Palin really does believe that Sarajevans can't stop talking about the war once they start. Or, given the stereotypic fare on offer, is it that Palin can't stop thinking about it? Yes, as the series showed (or didn't show), even though the referendum on Montenegrin independence (and its likely outcome) was known about well in advance - and the production team were aware of it - the intrepid visitors to the 'new' Europe sailed right on past its newest country. Still, this did give Palin more time to be rude about Tirana.It now seems the television series was rather misleading about Macedonia. It may have been a little confusing to see Palin step off a boat from Albania - come on; it's much simpler to drive round the north of the lake and that's what you did - on the shore in Ohrid and be in Bulgaria in a matter of seconds. In reality, the team did actually spend some time in Macedonia. Sadly, a country of spectacular scenery, full of history and art, whose fragmentation could potentially have caused more mayhem in the Balkans than the Bosnian war, was edited out, (except from the tally of countries visited). And L'viv genuinely was too wet to bother with much. (Fortunately, the people from UNESCO must have been there on a fine day.) And....But let's be positive. At least 'New Europe' reminds us that there is a country called Moldova where it is worth spending a little time.The book came out in paperback at £7.99. It is now available in some charity shops at 50p. It was worth the wait.[The elevated two star rating reflects the book's clarifications, the acknowledgement of the existence of Macedonia and a little worthwhile stuff about Moldova.]

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