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Eames, Andrew, Blue River, Black Sea (London: Bantam Press, 2009).

The river Danube flows through more countries than any other river on earth. It runs like an artery from the heart of Europe in the Black Forest to Europe's furthest flung fringes, where it joins the Black Sea in the Danube Delta in Romania. A journey along its length takes in all of European history, and encompasses the very latest developments in what can be called the New Europe.

Starting at the river's source in Germany, Andrew Eames here takes a fascinating and revelatory journey by bicycle, boat and on foot. Along the way, he knocks on the door of the occasional Schloss in the hope of accommodation for the night and meets a real live Hohenzollern; he travels through areas of intensive heavy industry as well as completely rural areas where wolves still roam and tribal fisherman live on islands thatched with reeds. He passes through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and the Ukraine - as well as a brief stopover with Count Dracula in Transylvania.

Blue River, Black Sea is an absorbing and highly entertaining book which explores how much we really know about the New Europe. Andrew Eames doesn't shrink from analysing the difficult issues of race and cultural identity he is bound to encounter along the way and his book seeks to find an answer to some of the most complex problems facing Europeans today.

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