Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Episode 1

Europe in the Looking Glass is Robert Byron's travel classic, recounting a car journey across Europe in 1926, and providing a mirror on events and nationhood both then and today. Byron (a descendant of the poet) found acclaim as the author of The Road to Oxiana - an account of a trip to Afghanistan and Persia.

It tells the story of three young Englishmen travelling across the neighbouring continent in an unreliable car - encountering the rise of Italian fascism and the anarchy of Greece along the way. In other words, the book offers a compelling mirror on Europe today (a world of technocrats and populists...) with the additional benefit of being witty, colourful and full of apercus about such types as loud American tourists and unwashed German backpackers.

The conclusion offers the travellers (and all of us) a new perspective on their homeland as well as the countries and cultures they explore together.

In part one, they leave Grimsby and motor through northern Germany.

Read by Rupert Penry-Jones.

Producer: David Roper
A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.

Release date:

15 minutes

Last on

Tue 6 Dec 2016 02:45

4 Stories

4 Stories

Exceptional readings and dramas from 4 Stories.

Sample our books and authors Clip Collection

Clips of Books Content

Interviews, previews and reviews

More from Books at the BBC

Books at BBC logo

Author interviews, readings, documentaries and highlights from the BBC's books content