The magnificent Danube both cuts across and connects central Europe, flowing through and alongside ten countries: Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany. Travelling its full length from east to west, against the river’s flow, Nick Thorpe embarks on an inspiring year-long journey that leads to a new perspective on Europe today. Thorpe’s account is personal, conversational, funny, immediate, and uniquely observant—everything a reader expects in the best travel writing. Immersing himself in the Danube’s waters during daily morning swims, Thorpe likewise becomes immersed in the histories of the lands linked by the river. He observes the river’s ecological conditions, some discouraging and others hopeful, and encounters archaeological remains that whisper of human communities sustained by the river over eight millennia. Most fascinating of all are the ordinary and extraordinary people along the way—the ferrymen and fishermen, workers in the fields, shopkeepers, beekeepers, waitresses, smugglers and border policemen, legal and illegal immigrants, and many more. For readers who anticipate their own journeys on the Danube, as well as those who only dream of seeing the great river, this book will be a unique and treasured guide.