Berezina: From Moscow to Paris Following Napoleon's Epic Fail
Lire Magazine Best Travel Book
Take four friends, put them on two Ural motorcycles (complete with sidecars), send them off on a 2,500-mile odyssey retracing history's most famous retreat, add what some might consider an excessive amount of Vodka, and you've got Sylvain Tesson's Berezina, a riotous and erudite book that combines travel, history, comradery, and adventure.
The retreat of Napoleon's Grande Armée from Russia culminated, after a humiliating loss, with the crossing of the River Berezina, a word that henceforth became synonymous with unmitigated disaster for the French and national pride for the Russians. Two hundred years after this battle, Sylvain Tesson and his friends retrace Napoleon's retreat, along the way reflecting on the lessons of history, the meaning of defeat, and the realities of contemporary Europe. A great read for history buffs and for anyone who has ever dreamed of an adventure that is out of the ordinary.
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About the Author
Sylvain Tesson has traveled the world by bicycle, train, horse, and motorcycle, and on foot. His bestselling accounts of his travels have won numerous prizes, including the Dolman Best Travel Book Award. Berezina is his first book to appear in English.
Katherine Gregor translates from Italian, Russian and French. She is also a playwright and a fiction writer and maintains a regular blog at scribedoll.wordpress.com.
Praise for Berezina
"The narration is wry and marked by a cheerful fatalism. Mr. Tesson is a witty and knowledgeable road companion."--The Wall Street Journal
"Both the writer and the reader feel like they've really been through something when the journey is done."--Kirkus Reviews
"Berezina succeeds brilliantly as a sly commentary on--and a challenge to conventional thinking about--today's contention between Russia and the EU, and the rutted habits of the popular Western mind."--Ron Slate, On the Seawall
"Hilarious, introspective, contemplative, professorial, disturbingly graphic, and always engrossing."--Ultimate Motorcycling
"From beginning to end, the story of Berezina is enthralling, funny, and terrifying. At the same time, it is magnificently written." --RTL
"For me, Berezina is Sylvain [Tesson]'s most important book." --Jean-Christophe Rufin, Le Figaro
"Tesson's latest book is probably his best [ . . . ] his style, which has reached maturity, is up to capturing the horror of the period, full of blood and drama, but also of humor, alcohol (vodka only) . . . You feel that Tesson is in his element." --Libération