Eastern Europe sought investors after the fall of Communism, but the most enterprising part of Transylvania’s population was already leaving the country. So says journalist Catalin Gruia in this short (37-minute) book, inviting the reader to look back 800 years to a similar call for investment, and follow its history. The format of the book switches between personal recollection and a curious mix of history, geography, and the more general conversations of a modern Saxon German, Transylvanian, family. Detailed descriptions of crops, lifestyle, historic houses, and archeology offer plenty of information. Meanwhile familiar characters tie location to well-remembered snippets of history—Genghis Khan, Austrian mercenaries, Kind Louis VII of France…, all nicely related to the business of prosperity. The text book style of writing and the mix of historical and tourist content made this a slower read for me than the promised 37 minutes. But the words are lightened by beautiful color illustrations, and the history of this fascinating region has much to offer as the present day approaches. A people invited, rejected, then tolerated, Romania’s Saxon Germans invite tourists to explore their world, and websites in the final chapters of the book will help you plan your trip.
Disclosure: I was given a free ecopy of this book by the author with a request for my honest review.
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