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History and biography

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  • Cover When the water breaks
    Cover When the water breaks
    When the Water Breaks
    Empathy is the raw material all his books are made of
    Humo

    This is the true story of a fisherman and his daughter, who fled their home country Vietnam some time ago. Hung crossed the ocean in his small fishing vessel to start a new life in a village behind a high sea wall. Quyen opened a successful restaurant, but is now struggling with an identity crisis.

  • Cover Back to Neerpelt
    Cover Back to Neerpelt
    Return to Neerpelt
    Lieve Joris views half the world as her village. Therein lies the universal and personal power of her books.
    Ons Erfdeel

    Lieve Joris has acquired an international reputation as an author of non-fiction travelogues. For many years she travelled around Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and more recently China, and considered the world to be her village. Now she has returned to Flanders, to Neerpelt, to the house by the canal where she grew up as the middle child in a chaotic family of nine.

  • The Father and the Philosopher - cover
    The Father and the Philosopher - cover
    The Father and the Philosopher. Saving the Husserl archives
    A story comparable to a novel by Umberto Eco or Dan Brown, except for the fact that it really happened
    De Volkskrant

    At first an exciting story about smuggling manuscripts set against the backdrop of the persecution of Jews before and during the Second World War, this book indirectly develops into a history of European philosophy in the twentieth century.

  • De bones of the Borinage
    De bones of the Borinage

    In April 1878 miners in Bernissart, a Walloon village in the former coal region of the Borinage, came across a vast quantity of dinosaur bones. The remains of some thirty iguanodons were discovered in the clay at a depth of 322 metres. Thanks to the clay, several skeletons had been preserved fully intact.

  • Cover The Age of Charlie Chaplin
    Cover The Age of Charlie Chaplin
    The Age of Charlie Chaplin
    The alternation between zooming in to focus on the films and panning out to the world stage works well.
    De Standaard

    Matthijs de Ridder gives a sparkling account of an artist who was able to embody all the important themes of the 20th century. Using new sources, he casts a fresh glance over the life and work of Chaplin. At the same time, ‘The Age of Charlie Chaplin’ is a phenomenal cultural history of a turbulent period that defines our worldview to this very day.

  • Jihad van liefde
    Jihad van liefde
    A Jihad for Love
    A passionate plea against hate, thirst for revenge and the urge for destruction
    De Volkskrant

    El Bachiri transforms the pain he suffered into a message of love and humanity, in which he appeals to western Muslims for a more humanist approach to Islam. ‘A Jihad for Love’ is the answer to the hatred of those who wish to divide us, of those who propagate violence and terrorism. 

  • Cover Beyond the Borders
    Cover Beyond the Borders
    Beyond the Borders
    ‘Beyond the Borders’ reads like an ode to the unfathomability of human relationships.
    De Standaard

    'Beyond the Borders’ is an account of Meulemans' fascinating literary pilgrimage, digging into the history of  the American author Glenway Wescott (1901-1987). Right from the very first page this book whisks the reader away to a now-forgotten literary and artistic world in America before and after the Second World War. Gradually, the lives of Meulemans and Wescott become ever more intertwined. Is friendship beyond death possible?

  • Cover Berlin. Life in a Divided City
    Cover Berlin. Life in a Divided City
    Berlin. Life in a Divided City
    With his talent for well-balanced, focused writing, De Moor now occupies an unrivalled position within Dutch-language literature.
    Knack

    How did the Nazis poison the bustling life of the city? Which communist absurdities were the residents of East Berlin confronted with in the GDR? How did the city transform after ‘die Wende’?

    In ‘Berlin. Life in a Divided City’, Piet de Moor goes in search of the soul of the mythical metropolis, a city that suffered like no other during the violent history of the 20th century. The result is an informative and kaleidoscopic book that is truly worth reading.

  • Cover The Spill
    Cover The Spill

    ‘The Spill’ tells the story of five guys who meet by chance over the course of a few years. All five have a single goal: racing, or a career as a professional cyclist to be precise. On the towpath along the river Scheldt, from Ghent to Oudenaarde, they train together: Iljo Keisse, Wouter Weylandt, Dimitri De Fauw, Bert De Backer and Kurt Hovelijnck. Young, virile and popular, they do indeed manage to become professional cyclists. But life is harder than the dream. What once brought them together, racing, just as ruthlessly tears them apart again.

  • Cover The End of The World
    Cover The End of The World
    The End of the World. A History
    Stroeykens, a physicist at heart, has thought of everything.
    KIJK Magazine

    What might the end of the world really look like? Should we be worried about the climate, mutating viruses, artificial intelligence and asteroid impacts? Or is that fear just as irrational as that of the medieval cultists who constantly expected another biblical flood to wash away the world?

    ‘The End of the World’ is a fascinating history of catastrophes, fears and nightmares.

  • Cover Pieter Bruegel
    Cover Pieter Bruegel
    Pieter Bruegel
    Huet’s writing is quite simply superb: elegant, colourful, lively, with great feeling for detail, witty and never condescending.
    Kees 't Hart

    Of all the art of the Flemish School, the work of Pieter Bruegel (1525?-1569) seems most typical of the Low Countries. His familiar and much loved paintings turned him into a folkloric icon, even if that does not entirely square with his life story. Leen Huet has written the first proper biography of the sixteenth-century master.

  • Cover Zinc
    Cover Zinc
    Zinc
    His trademark has become a personal, erudite and stirring form of history writing.
    Vrij Nederland

    For more than a century, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany shared a neighbour, Neutral Moresnet, a completely forgotten mini-state that is now part of German-speaking Belgium.

  • Cover The Demons of Leonard Cohen
    Cover The Demons of Leonard Cohen
    The Demons of Leonard Cohen
    Francis Mus displays an expertise not seen before by Cohen’s Canadian critics.
    Brian Trehearne

    Authority on Cohen Francis Mus portrays the real Cohen and his recurring demons. He searched for and found ‘Cohen pieces’ that never have been written about. This book offers a unique view into Leonard Cohen’s soul.

  • Cover The Johad Caravan
    Cover The Johad Caravan
    The Jihad Caravan
    It brings the reader closer to the origins and the reality of armed jihad than most of the analyses.
    MO* Magazine

    Together AlDe’emeh and Stockmans travel to Zarqa in Jordan, the cradle of international jihad and  AlDe’emeh’s birthplace in a refugee camp. They returned with surreal stories that make this book unforgettable.

  • Cover Organ Man
    Cover Organ Man
    Organ Man
    Words fail me. This is a book you will never forget.
    Geert Mak

    If there was ever a man who rose from the ashes like a phoenix then it was the painter Felix Nussbaum. Mark Schaevers follows Nussbaum on his wanderings through the Nazi years, from Rome to the Italian Riviera, from Paris to Ostend and Brussels.

  • Cover Napoleon
    Cover Napoleon
    Napoleon
    Narrative history of the most fascinating kind.
    Knack

    The French Revolution and Napoleon: two epic, captivating tales from western history brought together in a vibrant and compelling narrative.

  • Cover Ex. About a Country Gone Missing
    Cover Ex. About a Country Gone Missing
    Ex. About a Country Gone Missing
    A beautifully written travel story, a political history and a philosophical meditation
    De correspondent

    In a very poetic style and with a keen eye for the unexpected detail, Peter Vermeersch wrote a compelling literary narrative about the post-war experience in former Yugoslavia.

  • Cover On the Wings of the Dragon
    Cover On the Wings of the Dragon
    On The Wings of the Dragon
    Much is currently being written about the Chinese exploitation of Africa, but who is writing about the price China pays? The answer: Lieve Joris, and brilliantly, too.
    NRC Handelsblad

    What happens when people meet who do not share a colonial past? With that question in mind, Lieve Joris leaves Africa for China. In keeping with the modus operandi she has refined over past decades, she immerses herself in the world of Africans and Chinese who venture into each other’s territory in the slipstream of the big trade contracts.

  • Cover The Age of Brussels
    Cover The Age of Brussels
    The Age of Brussels
    An effervescent portrait of the artistically and politically foaming city Brussels was between 1850 and 1914.
    Cobra.be

    Refugees and adventurers, thinkers and doers, finders and inventors washed ashore in this elegant city where life was good - ask Baudelaire, Marx, Rodin, Ensor, Multatuli and all those others, read it in the writings of Teirlinck or Van de Woestijne.

  • Cover Rebellious Rhythms
    Cover Rebellious Rhythms
    Rebel Rhythms
    A gorgeous voyage of discovery
    Bert Van Raemdonck

    No better soundtrack for a political and cultural history of the twentieth century than jazz. In 'Rebellious Rhythms' Matthijs de Ridder starts on a hazardous search through an age of jazz and jazzy literature.

  • Cover France Trilogy
    Cover France Trilogy
    France Trilogy
    An impassioned literary pilgrim
    NRC Handelsblad

    The 'France Trilogy' is a tribute to literature and an original ode to the most important of life’s pleasures.

  • Cover Leopold I
    Cover Leopold I
    Leopold I
    She succeeds in making the first king of the Belgians a man of flesh and blood.
    Erwin Mortier

    Based on Leopold’s private letters, Gita Deneckere paints a portrait of a melancholy ruler who managed like no other to weave together the personal and the political. Through his eyes she examines the history of Europe in a period of change.

  • Cover Chanson
    Cover Chanson
    Chanson
    An ambitious and harmonious get together of touristic guide, history lesson and good stories.
    Radio 1

    Bart Van Loo’s declaration of intent opens a highly original and enjoyable alternative history of France in the light of French chansons. By combining an erudite knowledge of French music and historical facts Bart Van Loo constructs fascinating and unexpected connections.

  • Cover Congo
    Cover Congo
    Congo
    Sublime, monumental, virtuoso. This literary non-fiction is more thrilling than a novel.
    NRC Handelsblad

    Like many Belgians of his generation, David Van Reybrouck knew Congo from stories of the old days. The author begins his gripping account in the 1870s and chronicles the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial eras, right up to 2010, the fiftieth anniversary of Congolese Independence.

  • Cover Beethoven
    Cover Beethoven
    Beethoven
    An outstanding achievement
    Vrij Nederland

    This biography will appeal to a broad audience of music lovers and to anyone interested in cultural history.

  • Cover James Ensor
    Cover James Ensor
    James Ensor
    A magnificent style – scholarly but vivid and punchy
    Ons Brussel

    James Ensor (1860–1949) was everything in one: cocky and solitary, baron and bohemian, a misunderstood bourgeois, a peintre maudit who surveyed the world from his ivory tower in Ostend and sought refuge in the salons of Brussels. Min peels away the mask of the mythmaker to create a wonderful portrait of this enigmatic and multi-faceted painter.

  • Cover Europe, Oh Europe!
    Cover Europe, Oh Europe!
    Europe, Oh Europe!
    Buelens has written a brilliant and accessible book about the hyperbole of the Great War.
    De Volkskrant

    In' Europe, oh Europe!' Buelens describes how Europe was shooting itself to pieces while desperately seeking a new identity. It is a book about the destructive and healing power of the word, a chunk of lively cultural history and a meditation on nationalism and international cooperation.

  • Cover The High Planes
    Cover The High Planes
    The High Plains
    Journalism, only better than that; the literature of reality
    Liberation

    They walk from market to market, sleeping in huts and schools, but gradually the power of the colonel starts to decline and the guide becomes increasingly insecure. The ancient landscape brings back powerful memories of Joris’ childhood village.

  • Cover The History of the World of Tomorrow
    Cover The History of the World of Tomorrow
    The History of the World of Tomorrow
    The clear prose offers a broad readership a reassuring perspective on a confusing time.
    De Standaard

    These turbulent times represent an enormous challenge to all of us, the world over. New questions that lack clear answers are making many people feel insecure. But fear is a poor counsellor.

  • Cover Back to the Congo
    Cover Back to the Congo
    Back to the Congo
    So evocative that it’s as if you have actually set out in the company of Lieve Joris.
    Nieuwsblad van het Noorden

    Fascinated since childhood by the stories of her great-uncle, a missionary in the Congo, Lieve Joris travelled to Africa in his footsteps in 1985. Back to the Congo tells of her search for the old Congo of the Catholic fathers, and for the Zaire of the ubiquitous President Mobutu.

  • Cover Psychogenocide
    Cover Psychogenocide
    Psychogenocide
    A terribly beautiful book
    Paul Verhaeghe

    On October 1st 1939, the day World War II started, Hitler permitted doctors to kill patients suffering from neurologic and psychiatric disorders. This was the start of Aktion T4, the systematic and industrial killing of handicapped and mentally ill people.

  • Cover The Belgian Labyrinth
    Cover The Belgian Labyrinth
    The Belgian Labyrinth
    A coup de coeur
    Critiqueslibres.com

    In ‘The Belgian Labyrinth’ Van Istendael guides his readers through the history of Belgium, from the hunting parties of Emperor Charlemagne through Spanish, Austrian, French and Dutch rule to the creation of the Kingdom of Belgium in 1830.

  • Cover The Leopard's Dance
    Cover The Leopard's Dance
    The Leopard's Dance
    Travel writing doesn’t get much better than this.
    New York Times Book Review

    All the problems of post-colonial Africa seem to rage there in exaggerated form. Ten years after her highly praised 'Back to the Congo', Lieve Joris was brave enough to return during a particularly precarious moment in Congolese history.