Last fall, a local German friend I only know online recommended a book to me. It’s called Your Swabian Neighbors, was written by Bob Larson, and though it was published in 1981, offers an interesting look at the customs and language of Swabia. Bob Larson married a woman from Swabia and served as a liaison for the U.S. Army with local German authorities. That role, along with the fact that he married into a Swabian family, gave him great insight into how Americans can better understand their hosts here in the Stuttgart area.
The first half of the book is full of personal anecdotes, information about the Schwabish dialect and how it differs from regular German, and even some insight into why Swabians are reputed to be so “tight” with their money. The second half is about the history of the area and some of the people that made it great. You can read about Schwabish philosophers and writers, as well as leaders.
I will admit that I didn’t just breeze through this book, mainly because I don’t tend to read real books as much as I used to. I prefer to read things on my iPad as I’m going to bed, so I can turn the light off and read in the dark while my husband sleeps. This isn’t a long book, though, and once I found some time during the afternoon, I was finally able to finish it.
Your Swabian Neighbors is a somewhat dated book, though much of the information within it still holds true. It is also out of print, though it looks like the book is still readily available from third party sellers on Amazon.com.
Larson is witty and smart and I didn’t find his writing to be too dull. I liked that as an American, he could relate to American readers, while still educating them about Swabia and Swabian people. I wish I had read this the first time I lived here. I think it’s pretty awesome that a local recommended this book to me instead of an American.
In any case, if you are interested in getting your hands on this little yellow book, you can check Amazon.com.