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Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529424164

Price: £22

ON SALE: 4th July 2024

Genre: Humanities / History / Regional & National History / European History

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A beautiful book, by turns poetic, witty and full of learning . . . This unique biography of a river marks a new kind of writing about people and place, both in and out of time” PATRICK McGUINNESS

The Boundless River takes the reader into a unique world ‒ the twilight zone between fact and fiction, science and imagination ‒ and on a journey which moves effortlessly from a time in prehistory, long before the existence of a European continent, to the present day. Along the way Deen encounters paleontologists, geologists, museum curators, taxidermists, fishermen and skippers who work the boats, who still see the Rhine as a living entity.

From the mighty hippos that swam in its waters millions of years ago, to the weary salmon that saw their habitat slowly change and the aurochs that grazed its shores; from the primordial Steinheim Woman to the Roman general Corbulo who commanded settlements along its delta, to a young Goethe: in all of their stories the Rhine is ever present, sometimes as the main character, sometimes as an extra, as a theatre of war, a border between nations, a bathing spot, a killer, a vital transport route.

Beautifully fluid, rich and captivating, The Boundless River shows how the Rhine connects and divides, terrifies, comforts, carries and swallows, and has done since the beginning of time.

Translated from the Dutch by Jane Hedley-Prôle and Jonathan Reeder


Deen has an impressive historical knowledge that enables him to travel effortlessly through the centuries.
De Volkskrant
An extraordinary capacity for empathy, a sound style, conscientious research and a flair for succinct details. Each story is a sketch of a life, of a society, of a zeitgeist.
De Morgen
Like Geert Mak, he knows how to bring history to life, thanks to his compelling style and his poetic imagination.
De Volkskrant
Deen is an exceptional prose stylist
Het Parool