In 1991, Stevenson moved from Brooklyn to a house in the vineyards outside Geneva, Switzerland. In this book he writes about his travels around Europe ("On a hot July evening, in the company of other backpackers, we boarded the midnight Geneva-Trieste express and scrambled to our compartment, so that long into the night children could bicker about who was most deserving of the upper bunks.") and his impressions of visiting the United States ("the size of the suburban houses made me think America has become a nation of great Gatsbys.")
In these essays, Stevenson, with wit and insight, describes crossing Poland by bicycle, the countries of former Yugoslavia, visiting the battlefields of Okinawa, and Albania'™s brave new world ("The province of pyramid schemes and stolen cars"). He explores the myths of Omaha Beach and Steven Spielberg'™s Saving Private Ryan ("a war movie by a guy who has seen a lot of war movies"). Whenin New York after September 11, he recalls his earlier visits to Asian battlefields ("the skeletal frame of the Trade Center evokes the dome at Hiroshima").
Matthew Mills Stevenson was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island, attending Buckley Country Day School and Friends Academy. His university degrees are from Bucknell and Columbia universities, and he spent a year abroad with the Institute of European Studies in London and Vienna. He moved to Geneva, Switzerland in 1991 and worked in banking until 2004. He is a contributing editor to Harper's Magazine, and the host of The Travel Hour, a radio program. He was a panelist on World Radio Switzerland's Not So Foreign Affairs, a weekly broadcast. His articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications in the U.S. and Europe. His books include: Letters of Transit, Mentioned in Dispatches, An April Across America, Remembering the Twentieth Century Limited, Whistle Stopping America, and Reading the Rails, a work of travel, history and politics. Recent books include Appalachia Spring, a drive across the coal belts of America; The Revolution as a Dinner Party: Across China with Edgar Snow, Mao Tse-tung, Joseph Stilwell, Chiang Kai-shek, and Sun Yat-sen; Biking with Bismarck: A Little Tour in France, a ride across French history; and Our Man in Iran, an account of travels in that troubled land.