I couldn't sleep last night, so my mind went off on all sorts of tangents. Sorry...
I understand why towns in southern Italy are perched on hills. People sought protection against marauding hordes. Swiss towns were tucked in secluded valleys to avoid tax-collecting nobles from the flatland. They've always been cleverer...
I can't figure out why many German towns are located in valleys. All are practically indefensible. Perhaps, over time, people decided that it was better to be close to water and easier to acquiesce to occasional rape, pillage, and plunder than to rebuilt destroyed villages. In the meantime, they learned how to bore marauders into submission with discipline, efficiency, lack of humor, and tax discipline. That's what happens when a country has no natural borders.
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.