Books about Switzerland
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It’s surprisingly hard to find books about Switzerland. Go to any large bookstore, and you’ll see plenty of shelves devoted to the history and politics of Germany, France, Italy and the rest of Europe, but you’ll be lucky to find a single work on Switzerland. Literature is the same, with Swiss authors rarely reaching audiences in their native languages outside the borders of their own country, let alone getting translated into English for a wider market.

The best places to hunt are the large Internet bookstores: try barnesandnoble.com, bol.com, bookshop.co.uk, amazon.com or amazon.co.uk. In Britain, Daunt Books, 81 Marylebone High St, London W1M 3DE (020/7224 2295), handily organizes its stock of travel books, fiction and non-fiction by country instead of by author or theme, making it easy to riffle through their Swiss titles. The Alpine Club Library, 55 Charlotte Rd, London EC2A 3QF (020/7613 0755, www.alpine-club.org.uk), has one of the most comprehensive collections of mountaineering literature in the world, over 25,000 books, plus journals, guidebooks and expedition reports, including several thousand works on Switzerland alone. Non-members may visit by appointment (Wed–Fri 2–5pm), but no borrowing is allowed.

Pro Helvetia, the federally funded Arts Council of Switzerland, publishes a range of slim paperbacks giving erudite background to the country and its culture in English – subjects covered include music, theatre, the four literatures of Switzerland, Swiss composers, dance and ballet, media, cinema, architecture, philosophy, politics, social structure, refugees, multilingualism, and more. You can get any or all of them for free by contacting your nearest Swiss embassy, or Pro Helvetia at Hirschengraben 22, CH-8024 Zürich (01/267 71 71, fax 267 71 06, phmail@pro-helvetia.ch).

Publishers are listed below in the form of UK publisher/US publisher, where both exist. Where books are published in only one of these countries we have specified which one; when the same company publishes the book in both, its name appears just once. “UP” stands for University Press, “o/p” signifies out of print. “Bergli” refers to Bergli Books, a small English-language Swiss publisher which produces and distributes a range of books on Switzerland. For details, contact them at Eptingerstrasse 5, CH-4052 Basel (061/373 27 77, fax 373 27 78, www.bergli.ch).

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