The Ruins of the Reich: Travels in Germany Past and Present


An exploration of German identity, Michael Geoghegan journeys through the former German Reich, through the eighteen territories memorialised in the Hall of Liberation. His travels cover present-day Germany and Austria and those regions of Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania and Russia which were once German or which remain German-speaking.

Geoghegan witnesses a parade of "Schutzen" in Bolzano, an Easter Monday demonstration in Frankfurt and the Festival of the Five-Petalled Rose in Cesky Krumlov.  He visits monasteries, fantasy castles, Jewish ghettoes and the remains of the Iron Curtain. He is stopped by "unofficial collaborators" in a wood near Weimar, gets hopelessly lost in Swinoujscie and spends a dismal New Year's Eve in Rudesheim. There are flashbacks to an exchange visit to Dusseldorf as a schoolboy, love affairs and broken engagements, arrests at borders and a search for his Stasi file.

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