The Naked Swiss: A Nation Behind 10 Myths


My Swiss book has a title – and a cover! It has an author’s note, an afterword, and ten action-packed chapters in between. Now that the book has start to pop up on book retailers’ websites, I wanted to share the news here.

I am at the stage of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, and by the end of the week my work on the manuscript itself will finally be done. What a year it’s been. This time last year I had just arrived in Ireland by ferry for my annual summer holiday. I had the task of reworking the concept for the book I had pitched to Bergli Books two months beforehand, plus a new sample chapter to write.

The starting point for me was that I felt the Swiss were poorly served by the clichés – some flattering, many negative – that had crystallised around them. Their true nature was obscured by false assumptions and fixed ideas. To paint an accurate picture, I wanted to go through the dirty laundry and great achievements, and get close to the Swiss at their best and at their worst.

Did the Swiss really help the Nazis? Are Swiss women stuck in the past? Are the Swiss xenophobic? Is there even such as thing as a real Swiss person? How did these people get so rich? And what’s going on with the banks?

This book introduces an engaging cast of Swiss characters – refugees from Stalin’s Soviet Union, one of the country’s last surviving suffragettes, a street-sweeper philosopher, a pragmatic private banker and a president with no regrets, to name but a few. It also provides all the context you need to make your mind up about this complex and dynamic land.

Have a look at the Bergli Books catalogue for autumn 2016 (The Naked Swiss is on page 6) for the full list of chapters. If you are a long-term planner, you can pre-order the book here. So far it’s only available to pre-order on German-language websites (although the book is in English) but I’ll let you know as soon as the English-language Bergli website has the book for sale.

If you are interested in keeping up to date on The Naked Swiss, I’ve just started a Facebook page which will be a good source of book news and related events over the next three months ahead of publication in October. Now that we’re on the subject of non-fiction, what is your favourite non-fiction book?


22 thoughts on “The Naked Swiss: A Nation Behind 10 Myths

  1. Congratulations, Clare. I will share and spread the good news. And my favourite nonfiction book? Hmmm. Too many to mention, but recent ones include William Manchester’s bio of Churchill, Robert Caro’s bio of LBJ, and both ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ and ‘Collapse’ by Jared Diamond.

  2. Ooh, I like the sound of Collapse. Seeing as collapsing civilisations is quite topical at the moment, I must add it to my summer reading list. Not too keen on bios of political leaders but those two are obviously fascinating subjects. I’d quite like to read a good biography of Charlie Chaplin, such an interesting character but I only have the a Wikipedia idea of his life.
    Thanks for your support Niall!

  3. I did not see that coming! I mean the title and the illustration, so obviously you are indeed shattering the stereotypes starting with the cover. Love that it’s about the Swiss people, individualised so that the reader can stop thinking about the Swiss ‘en masse’. Favourite nonfiction? I always fail miserably with such questions, but could produce a shortlist which would include something by Seamus Deane, Karen Armstrong, & Fergal Keane. Many congrats, Clare. I’m sure the next few months will fly over. Very exciting 🙂

    1. Thanks a million Safia. Maybe you could write something similar on the Arab world in general and UAE in particular. The misconceptions there are massive. (as if you don’t have enough to do 😉 )

      1. It’d be a huge problem knowing where to begin (and end)! There are too many people more capable of that than me, for example, just finished reading Tim Mackintosh-Smith’s “Yemen: Travels in Dictionary Land”, so poignant 2 decades on considering the desperate state of affairs there now. A fascinating and enlightening read on South Arabia and its people.

  4. Congrats!!

    I haven’t read a ton of non-fiction as an adult. I used to read (auto)biographies all the time as kid/teenager. I do want to read Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, though.

    1. Thanks Liz! Great subject and an era I know very little about. I recently read Sugar in the Blood by Andrea Stuart, a brilliant account of slavery in the Caribbean told through the life stories of her black and white ancestors.

  5. Congratulations on your project!
    Following your Facebook page.
    Favourite non-fictional book? Don’t laugh, the first thing that came to my mind, was a cook book!

    1. Thanks Tamara! Lots of cook books come with a philosophy these days, so why not? I have stopped buying cook books to give myself a chance to catch up on recipes. Otherwise you get overwhelmed.

    1. Thank you very much Johanna. I’ll be interested to hear your reaction to the book. I haven’t read The Dictators, maybe I should. Over the years I’ve read books related to those horrible figures, like Hitler’s Willing Executioners (talk about a damning title) but no biographies. Stalin’s Children by Owen Matthews is a fascinating family history showing the effect of the regime on ordinary people.

  6. Congrats, and this sounds like a fascinating read! I look forward to its release; I’ve only come across snippets of Swiss info myself (not having been here long) and look forward to being better informed.
    I’m not a huge non-fiction reader, but did get into the neuroplasticity trend that hit a few years ago (i.e. The Brain That Changes Itself etc) as well as a bunch of books about climate change, Australian history, flora and fauna by Tim Flannery (any of his are fab but the Future Eaters was the first big hit back in the day. I had a bit of a university crush on the man!).

    1. Thank you! I hadn’t heard of Tim Flannery, isn’t that terrible? But I checked him out and I can see the appeal 😉 I’ve been meaning to read Naomi Klein’s book on climate change – This Changes Everything. Very difficult to keep up with all the good reading intentions …

  7. Well done Clare, it doesn’t seem that long since we were chatting about deadlines and getting that first draft done.
    Fav non fiction – hmmm, hard to pick one but I do love farming memoirs with humour.

    1. Great to hear from you Lorna. I hope your next book is coming along nicely. I just signed up for your newsletter in case I miss the launch, although knowing your social media skills that does seem unlikely. Good to hear the first two books are doing well. Farming memoirs with humour rock!
      My latest non-fiction purchase is How to Market Your Book by Joanna Penn. Time for the practical stuff 🙂

  8. Congratulations, Clare. I’m so impressed with your hard work and your ability to finish on time. Great cover and title. With those bright colors and clean design, the book is sure to catch the attention of prospective readers.

    I’m currently reading a fascinating non-fiction book: “Sapiens, a Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s a book that should appeal to almost everyone. Maybe you’ve read it. I think it was available in Europe before it came out here in the US.

    1. Thank you so much Nicki. Onwards and upwards now. I haven’t heard of Sapiens but it sounds interesting. Must look it up. In the meantime I am finally reading, and loving, This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein.

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