Philippe Sands - East West Street - Orion Publishing Group

Time remaining

  • -- days
  • -- hours
  • -- minutes
  • -- seconds
Other Formats
  • Paperback £9.99
    More information
    • ISBN:9781474601917
    • Publication date:31 Mar 2017
  • E-Book £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781474601924
    • Publication date:26 May 2016
  • Downloadable audio file £P.O.R.
    More information
    • ISBN:9781409163244
    • Publication date:26 May 2016

East West Street

Non-fiction Book of the Year 2017

By Philippe Sands

  • Hardback
  • £20.00

A uniquely personal exploration of the origins of international law, centring on the Nuremberg Trials, the city of Lviv and a secret family history

WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION AND JQ-WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE
SHORTLISTED FOR THE SLIGHTLY FOXED BEST FIRST BIOGRAPHY AWARD AND DUFF COOPER PRIZE

'A monumental achievement: profoundly personal, told with love, anger and great precision' - John le Carré

'A triumph of astonishing research ... No novel could possibly match such an important work of truth' - Antony Beevor

'Magnificent ... I was moved to anger and to pity. In places I gasped, in places I wept. I wanted to reach the end. I couldn't wait to reach the end. And then when I got there I didn't want to be at the end' - The Times

When human rights lawyer Philippe Sands received an invitation to deliver a lecture in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, he began to uncover a series of extraordinary historical coincidences. It set him on a quest that would take him halfway around the world in an exploration of the origins of international law and the pursuit of his own secret family history, beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg trial.

Part historical detective story, part family history, part legal thriller, Philippe Sands guides us between past and present as several interconnected stories unfold in parallel. The first is the hidden story of two Nuremberg prosecutors who discover, only at the end of the trial, that the man they are prosecuting may be responsible for the murder of their entire families in Nazi-occupied Poland, in and around Lviv. The two prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, were remarkable men, whose efforts led to the inclusion of the terms 'crimes against humanity' and 'genocide' in the judgement at Nuremberg. The defendant, Hans Frank, Hitler's personal lawyer and Governor-General of Nazi-occupied Poland, turns out to be an equally compelling character.

The lives of these three men lead Sands to a more personal story, as he traces the events that overwhelmed his mother's family in Lviv and Vienna during the Second World War. At the heart of this book is an equally personal quest to understand the roots of international law and the concepts that have dominated Sands' work as a lawyer. Eventually, he finds unexpected answers to his questions about his family, in this powerful meditation on the way memory, crime and guilt leave scars across generations, and the haunting gaps left by the secrets of others.

Biographical Notes

Philippe Sands is Professor of Law at University College London and a practising barrister at Matrix Chambers. He has been involved in many of the most important international cases of recent years, including Pinochet, Congo, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Iraq and Guantanamo. His previous books include LAWLESS WORLD and TORTURE TEAM. He is a frequent contributor to the FINANCIAL TIMES, GUARDIAN, NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS and VANITY FAIR, makes regular appearances on radio and television, and serves on the boards of English PEN and the Hay Festival.
@philippesands

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781474601900
  • Publication date: 26 May 2016
  • Page count: 496
  • Imprint: W&N
A monumental achievement: profoundly personal, told with love, anger and great precision — John le Carré
Supremely gripping. Sands has produced something extraordinary. Written with novelistic skill, its prose effortlessly poised, its tone perfectly judged, his book teems with life, from the bustling streets of Habsburg Lviv to the high drama of the Nuremberg trials. One of the most gripping and powerful books imaginable — Dominic Sandbrook, SUNDAY TIMES
Important and engrossing. . . even when charting the complexities of law, Sands's writing has the intrigue, verve and material density of a first-rate thriller. . . He can magic whole histories of wartime heroism out of addresses eight decades old. Or, chasing the lead of a faded photograph, he can unearth possible alternate grandparents and illicit liaisons to be verified only by DNA tests. . . an exceptional memoir — Lisa Appignanesi, OBSERVER
Engrossing ... Sands has written a remarkable and enjoyable book, deftly weaving his own family history into a lively account of the travails of the early campaigners for international human rights law — Caroline Moorhead, LITERARY REVIEW
A magnificent book. A work of great brilliance. There is narrative sweep and intellectual grip. Everything that happens is inevitable and yet comes as a surprise. I was moved to anger and to pity. In places I gasped, in places I wept. I wanted to reach the end. I couldn't wait to reach the end. And then when I got there I didn't want to be at the end — Daniel Finkelstein, THE TIMES
A fascinating and revealing book, for the things it explains: the origins of laws that changed our world, no less. It's also a readable book, and thoughtful, and compassionate. Most fundamentally, though, it's a book that tells a few individual human stories that lie behind the world-changing ones. That storytelling isn't redemptive - what could be, in this context? - but it confronts all those silences and challenges them. That challenge makes it an important book too — Daniel Hahn, THE SPECTATOR
A vivid and readable contribution, part memoir, part documentary, to the history debate ... Much of the most compelling material in this book is personal ... Moving and powerful — Mark Mazower, FINANCIAL TIMES
Outstanding ... This is the best kind of intellectual history. Sands puts the ideas of Lemkin and Lauterpacht in context and shows how they still resonate today, influencing Tony Blair, David Cameron and Barack Obama. When we think of the atrocities committed by Slobodan Milosevic or Bashar al-Assad, it is the ideas of these two Jewish refugees we turn to. Sands shows us in a clear, astonishing story where they came from — David Herman, NEW STATESMAN
In a triumph of astonishing research, Sands has brilliantly woven together several family stories which lead to the great denouement at the Nuremberg tribunal. No novel could possibly match such an important work of truth — Antony Beevor
A book like no other I have ever read - unputdownable and unforgettable — Orlando Figes
A beautiful and necessary book — A.L. Kennedy
Dazzling, shatttering. East West Street is one of the most extraordinary books that I have ever read. — Antonia Fraser
An exacting, heroic, essential education — Peter Florence, DAILY TELEGRAPH
A masterpiece — Andrew Neather, EVENING STANDARD
A narrative to my knowledge unprecedented. . . a machine of power and beauty that should not be ignored by anyone in the United States or elsewhere who would believe there are irreparable crimes whose adjudication should not stop at the border — NEW YORK TIMES
In EAST WEST STREET, Philippe Sands brings all the power of his formidable intellect, his inquisitive spirit and his emotional imagination to bear on a complicated tangle of personal, legal and European history. In a gripping narrative that is tender yet dispassionate, intensely felt and meticulously researched. Sands uncovers the surprising affinities and divergences among the parallel lives of three men, two celebrated, one unknown, whose struggles, sorrows, accomplishments and defeats, large and small, help us to understand and, more, to feel the mittel-European civilization their lives embodied, a whole world that was destroyed and reinvented within the span of a single lifetime — Michael Chabon
Reads more like a thriller or a spy story: not many barristers have their books endorsed by John le Carre — Joshua Rozenberg, PROSPECT
EAST WEST STREET pulls off the considerable feat of interweaving the lives of these three men with a brief history of international law and its origins, and some profoundly moving revelations about Sands' own forebears ... [It] is also an eminently topical book because it directly considers the impact of the past on our present — Caroline Sanderson, THE BOOKSELLER
Gripping ... This fascinating account of forgetting, forgiving and moving on ... achieves a balance between the individual and the political that brings the events of the Holocaust into new focus. ... [A] compelling work with unforgettable characters — LIBRARY JOURNAL
There is growing suspicion that there are no stories left to tell of the Holocaust; all the pain and horror has been revealed to the point of repetition. But human-rights lawyer Sands proves that there is still room for thoughtful writers to educate, engage and even beguile readers on this terribly important subject ... An unexpected page-turner, EAST WEST STREET is a book for the twenty-first century that reminds us that the cruel lessons of the twentieth still have much to impart and must not be ignored — Colleen Mondor, BOOKLIST
EAST WEST STREET is a landmark moment. From the ashes of the holocaust, the graveyards of Bosnia, and other places of mass killing, Sands gives a brilliant and uplifting insight into the birth of the crimes of "genocide" and "crimes against humanity" and the roles they played in bringing the agents of such slaughter to justice — Jon Snow
EAST WEST STREET is a strange and beautiful object: at once a genealogy of international human rights law, and a delicate family portrait. The common element to this apparently unrelated pair is genocidal persecution - and other assorted horrors of twentieth century history. It is meticulous, moving and compulsive — Adam Thirlwell
This book transcends genre, breaking convention to create something fascinating and engrossing. Sands manages to weave the most personal of stories through the most globally impactful: the inclusion of the term "crimes against humanity" in the judgement at Nuremberg. — Steven Cooper of Waterstones, THE BOOKSELLER
This remarkable book is partly a lawyer's quest to understand the roots of international law (one that is surprisingly fascinating for the non-legal reader) and a riveting family memoir — THE BOOKSELLER, Book of the Month
Gripping, profound and deeply personal ... EAST WEST STREET is especially interesting and readable as much of it is a detective story of Sands' investigation into his family history ... The unravelling of these secrets, and the remarkable way that Sands' family history interweaves with those of Lemkin and Lauterpacht, make for gripping reading — HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY TRUST
Astonishing and important — Louis Begley
Beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg Trials, several powerful, interconnecting stories unfold in parallel — CHOICE
Shattering, important and incredibly readable — John Lewis-Stempel, SUNDAY EXPRESS
Philippe Sands' remarkable book is a voyage of discovery into the lost world of Lemberg/Lwow, its people, and their actions and ideas as these ripple out into the larger world we still inhabit. — Isabel Hull, LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS
An engrossing tale of family secrets and groundbreaking legal precedents ... a tense, riveting melding of memoir and history ... From letters, photographs, and deeply revealing interviews, the author portrays Nazi persecutions in shattering detail ... For the future of humanity, forgetting, Sands insists in this vastly important book, is not an option — KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review
(But) if you think you have read enough on this subject, or know enough, then think again. In East West Street: on the origins of genocide and crimes against humantiy, the London-based international lawyer, Philippe SAnds has produced a masterpiece that is part detective story and part exploration of family history, memory, crime, guilt, loss and law...It is a work of hte highest order and it deserves to be as widely read as possible. it is, I reiterate, a masterpiece. — Iain Martin, REACTION
Absorbing — Nicholas Goodman, LAW SOCIETY GAZETTE
Philippe Sands, a professor of law and a practising barrister, brings his experience of a wide variety of cases of serious human rights abuses, from Rwanda to Yugoslavia, Guantanamo to Congo-Brazzaville, to an excavation of the origins of the concepts of 'crimes against humanity' and 'genocide'. — Richard J Evans, THE GUARDIAN
Gripping and beautifully written — Robert Low, JEWISH CHRONICLE
The coincidences that lie at the heart of the story that Philippe Sands, QC, will recount in Edinburgh this weekend are so breathtaking that audiences will find them hard to believe. At least as remarkable, however, is the detective work that he has used to pull them together. — Magnus Linklater, THE TIMES
Sands...shows himself to be superbly in control of his materials...fascinating and moving — TLS
More gripping than any thriller — Gabriel Josipovici, TLS
Philippe Sands has not only woven together striking and important stories, leading from the city of Lviv to the Nuremberg tribunal, he has achieved an almost unbelievable miracle in his research. — Antony Beevor, THE GUARDIAN Christmas Books
Beautifully written and enormously moving, Sands's meditation on the Holocaust in the formerly Polish city of Lviv was a well-deserved winner of the Baillie Gifford prize. — Dominic Sandbrook, SUNDAY TIMES Christmas Books
Intellectual thriller, family story, legal history, political tour-de-force, East West Street, winner of the Baillie Gifford prize for non-fiction, is all of these things...It makes a compelling case for international law and the rights of the individual as it sweeps you along with its astonishing narrative. — Daniel Finkelstein, THE TIMES Books of the Year
The winner of this year's Baillie Gifford Prize, Sands' book is a mixture of intellectual history, family memoir and a re-creation of the events leading up to the Nuremberg trails. — FINANCIAL TIMES Books of the Year
An extraordinary work of research and evocative empathy, in which consciousness of present effects is never allowed to trump the complexities of the past. — David Horspool, THE GUARDIAN Books of the Year
The most moving book I've read this year...The book is more than a brilliant lawyer's description of two legal concepts that have been fundamental to the moral history of humanity since the Second World War. It is also a story of self-discovery that plunges us into one of the darkest episodes in human history, the Holocaust. Am I wrong to imagine I can hear some of those long-buried skeletons rattling in their graves again? — Richard Holloway, SUNDAY HERALD
An un-put-downable winner of the Baillie Gifford prize for non-fiction — THE ECONOMIST Books of the Year
In his remarkable book, part history, part memoir, Sands painstakingly sifts the evidence to discover the tragedy and secret history of his own family, interweaving his story with those of Lauterpacht and Lemkin, and their efforts to ensure justice for the countless victims of Nazi crimes against humanity. — Jane Shilling, DAILY MAIL
Winner of the Baillie Gifford (formerly Samuel Johnson) prize, East West Street tells teh extraordinary story of the two Nuremberg prosecutors who gave legal definition to the terms "genocide" and "crimes against humanity". — DAILY TELEGRAPH
Like a detective, Sands ties these four characters together, drawing in the strands until the evil Frank, his protestations of innocence rejected, dangles from the end of a rope. — DAILY MAIL
Philippe Sands has the gift of storytelling...East West Street rightly won the Baillie Gifford Prize for nonfiction — THE TIMES
He alights on a pit containing the remains of 3.500 Jews, "individuals each, together a group". And in a moment of insight and epiphany he understands. And so, in the end do we: that is the achievement of this learned, idiosyncratic, carefully crafted, grippingly readable book. — THE TABLET
In his quest to find out more about the early life of his late grandfather Philippe Sands gives us a powerful insight into the lives of two great jurists who defined crimes against humanity and genocide. — HISTORY TODAY
The best thing I've read this year, East West Street is both personal and international in scope. — THE RIVERSIDE WAY
East West Street...is a book unlike any other, a work impossible to categorise. The work has recently won the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, but to label it as such could be limiting: Sands presents no usual work of non-fiction. Combining memoir, biography, work of history and study of international law, it could most aptly be described as a "biography of a generation" (as Mark Mazower argues) or of generations — OXFORD CULTURAL REVIEW
This is not conventional history-telling. In terms of time, the narrative moves back and forth, between the various people and places and between the public and the private. Much of it is told as if Sands is sitting in the room talking to you and taking you through his researches. The Holocaust itself comes into it in brief but powerful passages. — David Wurtzel, COUNSEL
It's a profound and very personal account of the origins of genocide in Nazi Germany, intertwined with the history of his own family during that time, and much more compelling than I've made it sound. — Anthony Horowitz, BURTON MAIL
It's a beautifully written story about legal theory (crimes against humanity and genocide in the Nazi era), the city of Lviv in western Ukraine and an intimate family history. — Lionel Barber, FINANCIAL TIMES
A complex but beautifully woven story, East West Street follows the plight of Sands' Jewish family in what was a town near Lemberg (now Lviv) in Ukraine. This moving personal story is interwoven with the lives and work of two lawyers from that troubled city (one of whom coined the phrase "genocide") during the 1945-46 Nuremberg trials. — James Holland, BBC HISTORY
In an age in which truth has become more elusive than ever, this is a brave, passionate book that makes its readers witnesses of a search for it...One of the best examples of analytical thinking and research combined with fine storytelling. — Elif Shafak, NEW STATESMAN
The war-crimes trials at Nuremberg are at the heart of this stirring Holocaust history and memoir — SUNDAY TIMES - Summer Books
Gripping and moving — THE TIMES - Summer Books
A monumental achievement: profoundly personal, told with love, anger and great precision
Supremely gripping. Sands has produced something extraordinary. Written with novelistic skill, its prose effortlessly poised, its tone perfectly judged, his book teems with life, from the bustling streets of Habsburg Lviv to the high drama of the Nuremberg trials. One of the most gripping and powerful books imaginable
Important and engrossing. . . even when charting the complexities of law, Sands's writing has the intrigue, verve and material density of a first-rate thriller. . . He can magic whole histories of wartime heroism out of addresses eight decades old. Or, chasing the lead of a faded photograph, he can unearth possible alternate grandparents and illicit liaisons to be verified only by DNA tests. . . an exceptional memoir
Engrossing ... Sands has written a remarkable and enjoyable book, deftly weaving his own family history into a lively account of the travails of the early campaigners for international human rights law
A magnificent book. A work of great brilliance. There is narrative sweep and intellectual grip. Everything that happens is inevitable and yet comes as a surprise. I was moved to anger and to pity. In places I gasped, in places I wept. I wanted to reach the end. I couldn't wait to reach the end. And then when I got there I didn't want to be at the end
A fascinating and revealing book, for the things it explains: the origins of laws that changed our world, no less. It's also a readable book, and thoughtful, and compassionate. Most fundamentally, though, it's a book that tells a few individual human stories that lie behind the world-changing ones. That storytelling isn't redemptive - what could be, in this context? - but it confronts all those silences and challenges them. That challenge makes it an important book too
A vivid and readable contribution, part memoir, part documentary, to the history debate ... Much of the most compelling material in this book is personal ... Moving and powerful
Outstanding ... This is the best kind of intellectual history. Sands puts the ideas of Lemkin and Lauterpacht in context and shows how they still resonate today, influencing Tony Blair, David Cameron and Barack Obama. When we think of the atrocities committed by Slobodan Milosevic or Bashar al-Assad, it is the ideas of these two Jewish refugees we turn to. Sands shows us in a clear, astonishing story where they came from
In a triumph of astonishing research, Sands has brilliantly woven together several family stories which lead to the great denouement at the Nuremberg tribunal. No novel could possibly match such an important work of truth
A book like no other I have ever read - unputdownable and unforgettable
A beautiful and necessary book
Dazzling, shatttering. East West Street is one of the most extraordinary books that I have ever read.
An exacting, heroic, essential education
A masterpiece
A narrative to my knowledge unprecedented. . . a machine of power and beauty that should not be ignored by anyone in the United States or elsewhere who would believe there are irreparable crimes whose adjudication should not stop at the border
In EAST WEST STREET, Philippe Sands brings all the power of his formidable intellect, his inquisitive spirit and his emotional imagination to bear on a complicated tangle of personal, legal and European history. In a gripping narrative that is tender yet dispassionate, intensely felt and meticulously researched. Sands uncovers the surprising affinities and divergences among the parallel lives of three men, two celebrated, one unknown, whose struggles, sorrows, accomplishments and defeats, large and small, help us to understand and, more, to feel the mittel-European civilization their lives embodied, a whole world that was destroyed and reinvented within the span of a single lifetime
Reads more like a thriller or a spy story: not many barristers have their books endorsed by John le Carre
EAST WEST STREET pulls off the considerable feat of interweaving the lives of these three men with a brief history of international law and its origins, and some profoundly moving revelations about Sands' own forebears ... [It] is also an eminently topical book because it directly considers the impact of the past on our present
Gripping ... This fascinating account of forgetting, forgiving and moving on ... achieves a balance between the individual and the political that brings the events of the Holocaust into new focus. ... [A] compelling work with unforgettable characters
There is growing suspicion that there are no stories left to tell of the Holocaust; all the pain and horror has been revealed to the point of repetition. But human-rights lawyer Sands proves that there is still room for thoughtful writers to educate, engage and even beguile readers on this terribly important subject ... An unexpected page-turner, EAST WEST STREET is a book for the twenty-first century that reminds us that the cruel lessons of the twentieth still have much to impart and must not be ignored
EAST WEST STREET is a landmark moment. From the ashes of the holocaust, the graveyards of Bosnia, and other places of mass killing, Sands gives a brilliant and uplifting insight into the birth of the crimes of "genocide" and "crimes against humanity" and the roles they played in bringing the agents of such slaughter to justice
EAST WEST STREET is a strange and beautiful object: at once a genealogy of international human rights law, and a delicate family portrait. The common element to this apparently unrelated pair is genocidal persecution - and other assorted horrors of twentieth century history. It is meticulous, moving and compulsive
This book transcends genre, breaking convention to create something fascinating and engrossing. Sands manages to weave the most personal of stories through the most globally impactful: the inclusion of the term "crimes against humanity" in the judgement at Nuremberg.
This remarkable book is partly a lawyer's quest to understand the roots of international law (one that is surprisingly fascinating for the non-legal reader) and a riveting family memoir
Gripping, profound and deeply personal ... EAST WEST STREET is especially interesting and readable as much of it is a detective story of Sands' investigation into his family history ... The unravelling of these secrets, and the remarkable way that Sands' family history interweaves with those of Lemkin and Lauterpacht, make for gripping reading
Astonishing and important
Beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg Trials, several powerful, interconnecting stories unfold in parallel
Shattering, important and incredibly readable
Philippe Sands' remarkable book is a voyage of discovery into the lost world of Lemberg/Lwow, its people, and their actions and ideas as these ripple out into the larger world we still inhabit.
An engrossing tale of family secrets and groundbreaking legal precedents ... a tense, riveting melding of memoir and history ... From letters, photographs, and deeply revealing interviews, the author portrays Nazi persecutions in shattering detail ... For the future of humanity, forgetting, Sands insists in this vastly important book, is not an option
(But) if you think you have read enough on this subject, or know enough, then think again. In East West Street: on the origins of genocide and crimes against humantiy, the London-based international lawyer, Philippe SAnds has produced a masterpiece that is part detective story and part exploration of family history, memory, crime, guilt, loss and law...It is a work of hte highest order and it deserves to be as widely read as possible. it is, I reiterate, a masterpiece.
Absorbing
Philippe Sands, a professor of law and a practising barrister, brings his experience of a wide variety of cases of serious human rights abuses, from Rwanda to Yugoslavia, Guantanamo to Congo-Brazzaville, to an excavation of the origins of the concepts of 'crimes against humanity' and 'genocide'.
Gripping and beautifully written
The coincidences that lie at the heart of the story that Philippe Sands, QC, will recount in Edinburgh this weekend are so breathtaking that audiences will find them hard to believe. At least as remarkable, however, is the detective work that he has used to pull them together.
Sands...shows himself to be superbly in control of his materials...fascinating and moving
More gripping than any thriller
Philippe Sands has not only woven together striking and important stories, leading from the city of Lviv to the Nuremberg tribunal, he has achieved an almost unbelievable miracle in his research.
Beautifully written and enormously moving, Sands's meditation on the Holocaust in the formerly Polish city of Lviv was a well-deserved winner of the Baillie Gifford prize.
Intellectual thriller, family story, legal history, political tour-de-force, East West Street, winner of the Baillie Gifford prize for non-fiction, is all of these things...It makes a compelling case for international law and the rights of the individual as it sweeps you along with its astonishing narrative.
The winner of this year's Baillie Gifford Prize, Sands' book is a mixture of intellectual history, family memoir and a re-creation of the events leading up to the Nuremberg trails.
An extraordinary work of research and evocative empathy, in which consciousness of present effects is never allowed to trump the complexities of the past.
The most moving book I've read this year...The book is more than a brilliant lawyer's description of two legal concepts that have been fundamental to the moral history of humanity since the Second World War. It is also a story of self-discovery that plunges us into one of the darkest episodes in human history, the Holocaust. Am I wrong to imagine I can hear some of those long-buried skeletons rattling in their graves again?
An un-put-downable winner of the Baillie Gifford prize for non-fiction
In his remarkable book, part history, part memoir, Sands painstakingly sifts the evidence to discover the tragedy and secret history of his own family, interweaving his story with those of Lauterpacht and Lemkin, and their efforts to ensure justice for the countless victims of Nazi crimes against humanity.
Winner of the Baillie Gifford (formerly Samuel Johnson) prize, East West Street tells teh extraordinary story of the two Nuremberg prosecutors who gave legal definition to the terms "genocide" and "crimes against humanity".
Like a detective, Sands ties these four characters together, drawing in the strands until the evil Frank, his protestations of innocence rejected, dangles from the end of a rope.
Philippe Sands has the gift of storytelling...East West Street rightly won the Baillie Gifford Prize for nonfiction
He alights on a pit containing the remains of 3.500 Jews, "individuals each, together a group". And in a moment of insight and epiphany he understands. And so, in the end do we: that is the achievement of this learned, idiosyncratic, carefully crafted, grippingly readable book.
In his quest to find out more about the early life of his late grandfather Philippe Sands gives us a powerful insight into the lives of two great jurists who defined crimes against humanity and genocide.
The best thing I've read this year, East West Street is both personal and international in scope.
East West Street...is a book unlike any other, a work impossible to categorise. The work has recently won the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, but to label it as such could be limiting: Sands presents no usual work of non-fiction. Combining memoir, biography, work of history and study of international law, it could most aptly be described as a "biography of a generation" (as Mark Mazower argues) or of generations
This is not conventional history-telling. In terms of time, the narrative moves back and forth, between the various people and places and between the public and the private. Much of it is told as if Sands is sitting in the room talking to you and taking you through his researches. The Holocaust itself comes into it in brief but powerful passages.
It's a profound and very personal account of the origins of genocide in Nazi Germany, intertwined with the history of his own family during that time, and much more compelling than I've made it sound.
It's a beautifully written story about legal theory (crimes against humanity and genocide in the Nazi era), the city of Lviv in western Ukraine and an intimate family history.
A complex but beautifully woven story, East West Street follows the plight of Sands' Jewish family in what was a town near Lemberg (now Lviv) in Ukraine. This moving personal story is interwoven with the lives and work of two lawyers from that troubled city (one of whom coined the phrase "genocide") during the 1945-46 Nuremberg trials.
In an age in which truth has become more elusive than ever, this is a brave, passionate book that makes its readers witnesses of a search for it...One of the best examples of analytical thinking and research combined with fine storytelling.
Orion

A Wartime Promise

Ruby Reynolds
Authors:
Ruby Reynolds

A gripping and poignant wartime saga following the highs and lows of the young, courageous members of the Women's Army. January 1941. Peggy Collins has learned a lot during her time as a Spark Girl. Posted to Swansea, as a driver to the squadron leader, she often hears things she shouldn't and she knows to be discreet, understanding how serious the phrase loose lips sink ships really is. Peggy meets and falls in love with pilot Jim Hudson, but her heart is broken when he becomes missing in action and Peggy is left fearing the worst. That isn't the end of the shocks in store for Peggy and she is forced to remember a promise made long ago. But can she keep her word while the bombs fall?Full of wartime adventure, romance and heartbreak, A Wartime Promise is perfect for fans of Daisy Styles, Kate Thompson and Ellie Dean.Praise for The Spark Girl, Ruby's heart-warming debut (published as Fiona Ford):'A fabulous debut from an immensely talented author' Annie Groves'A compelling first novel which I promise you won't be able to put down' Daisy Styles 'Ford gets to the heart of what it was like to live through the dangerous war years in this warm, captivating, down-to-earth story which is brimming with engaging characters, adventure, romance and heartbreak.' Lancashire Post

W&N

Lenin the Dictator

Victor Sebestyen
Authors:
Victor Sebestyen

Shortlisted for the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical BiographyVictor Sebestyen's intimate biography is the first major work in English for nearly two decades on one of the most significant figures of the twentieth century. In Russia to this day Lenin inspires adulation. Everywhere, he continues to fascinate as a man who made history, and who created a new kind of state that would later be imitated by nearly half the countries in the world.Lenin believed that the 'the political is the personal', and while in no way ignoring his political life, Sebestyen focuses on Lenin the man - a man who loved nature almost as much as he loved making revolution, and whose closest ties and friendships were with women. The long-suppressed story of his ménage a trois with his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, and his mistress and comrade, Inessa Armand, reveals a different character to the coldly one-dimensional figure of legend.Told through the prism of Lenin's key relationships, Sebestyen's lively biography casts a new light on the Russian Revolution, one of the great turning points of modern history.

W&N

The Boy Made of Snow

Chloe Mayer
Authors:
Chloe Mayer

'THE BOY MADE OF SNOW had me compulsively turning the pages to find out the fate of Daniel and his mother. A haunting and thrilling read. I absolutely loved it' Kate Hamer, author of THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT'An evocative and stunning debut' Jane Harris, author of GILLESPIE AND I'Original and unsettling - and just a little bit heartbreaking' Rachel Rhys, author of DANGEROUS CROSSING'A beautiful and evocative debut' STYLIST'Affecting' DAILY MAIL In a sleepy English village in 1944, Annabel and her son Daniel live in the shadow of war. With her husband away, an increasingly isolated Annabel begins to lose her grip on reality.When mother and son befriend Hans, a German PoW consigned to a nearby farm, their lives are suddenly filled with thrilling secrets. To Annabel, Hans is an awakening from the darkness that has engulfed her since Daniel's birth. To her son, a solitary boy caught up in the magical world of fairy tales, he is perhaps a prince in disguise. But Hans has plans of his own and will soon set them into motion with devastating consequences.

Orion

The Spark Girl

Fiona Ford
Authors:
Fiona Ford

'A compelling first novel which I promise you won't be able to put down' Daisy Styles, bestselling author of The Bomb Girls Can her fight for the country fix her broken heart? A knock on the door early one morning wouldn't normally be cause for concern but it is 1941, Britain is at war, and Kitty Williams's fiancé Joe is far from home fighting Hitler with the Navy. As Kitty's heart is shattered into pieces hearing the news she had been dreading, resolve kicks in and she becomes more determined than ever to do her bit for the war effort. Signing up to the Women's Army is just the sort of challenge Kitty needs and on meeting new recruits Mary, Di and Peggy, she is happy to learn that the challenge won't be a lonely one. But it also won't be easy and when bombs start to fall on her home town of Coventry, and supposed allies turn against her, Kitty must find the strength she never knew she had to save her family, fix her broken heart and help her country to victory.The Spark Girl is an absorbing and poignant saga, perfect for fans of Daisy Styles, Kate Thompson and Ellie Dean. The second book in the series, The Spark Girl's Promise is now available for pre-order'a fabulous debut from an immensely talented author' Annie Groves'Ford gets to the heart of what it was like to live through the dangerous war years in this warm, captivating, down-to-earth story which is brimming with engaging characters, adventure, romance and heartbreak.' Lancashire Post 'Fiona Ford has written a charming and very appealing story...Kitty Williams is the girl we all want to be.' Swirl and Thread'an enjoyable read with a twist towards the end to keep the reader engaged until the next one!' Jera's Jamboree

Orion

Evie's Victory

Kitty Danton
Authors:
Kitty Danton
W&N

Blood and Silk

Michael Vatikiotis
Authors:
Michael Vatikiotis
Orion

Rogue Justice

Geoffrey Household
Authors:
Geoffrey Household
W&N

The Woman on the Stairs

Bernhard Schlink
Authors:
Bernhard Schlink
W&N

Pearl Harbor

Craig Nelson
Authors:
Craig Nelson

On 7 December 1941, an armada of 354 Japanese warplanes supported by aircraft carriers, destroyers and midget submarines launched a surprise attack on the United States, killing 2,403 people and forcing America's entry into the Second World War. Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness follows the sailors, soldiers, pilots, diplomats, admirals, generals, emperor and president as they engineer, fight and react to this stunningly dramatic moment in world history.In vivid prose Craig Nelson maps the road to war, beginning in 1914 with a young Franklin D. Roosevelt, the man who would become president, attending the laying of the keel of the USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He also traces Japan's leaders as they lurch into ultranationalist fascism, culminating in their insanely daring yet militarily brilliant scheme to terrify America with one of the boldest attacks ever waged.The result is a thrilling historical drama on the grandest scale. Nelson delivers all the terror, chaos, violence, tragedy and heroism of the attack in stunning detail, and offers surprising conclusions about the tragedy's unforeseen consequences that resonate even today.

W&N

Les Parisiennes

Anne Sebba
Authors:
Anne Sebba
W&N

Evelyn Waugh

Philip Eade
Authors:
Philip Eade

BOOK OF THE WEEK on BBC Radio 4, a GUARDIAN, SUNDAY TIMES and FINANCIAL TIMES Book of the Year and a Waterstones.com Best Biography of 2016'A brisk, lively and wonderfully entertaining account of the life of a strange, tormented, unique creature' JOHN BANVILLE, NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS'Excellent ... read this book' LITERARY REVIEW'An exemplary piece of work' DAILY MAIL'The best single-volume life of the author available' IRISH TIMESEvelyn Waugh was described by Graham Greene as 'the greatest novelist of my generation', yet reckoned by Hilaire Belloc to have been possessed by the devil.Waugh's literary reputation has continued to rise since Greene's assessment in 1966. Fifty years on from his death, Philip Eade takes a fresh look at this famously complex character and tells the full story of his dramatic, colourful and frequently bizarre life: his strained relationship with his sentimental father and blatantly favoured elder brother, and the burning ambition they provoked in him; his formative homosexual love affairs at Oxford; his disastrous first marriage and subsequent conversion to Roman Catholicism; his unrequited love for the brightest of the bright young people; his complex interest in the aristocracy and what the aristocrats made of him; his insane bravery yet chequered wartime career; his drug-induced madness; his strangely successful second marriage; his unconventional attitude to his six children; his sharp tongue; his devastating wit; the love, fear and loathing that he variously inspired.Scrupulously researched and sympathetically written, this is a sparkling and compelling new biography of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century - and one of England's most mythologised eccentrics.

W&N

A Way Through the Wood

Nigel Balchin
Authors:
Nigel Balchin

A psychological study of marriage, loyalty and justice, A WAY THROUGH THE WOOD is a remarkable post-war novel.James Manning is perfectly content. He has a successful life as a businessman in the city, a bright young thing of a wife, Jill, and an idyllic home in the countryside, where he is a local magistrate. The only fly in the ointment as far as he can see is the 'Honbill' - the Honourable William Stephen Fitzharding Bule, a gentleman with too much time on his hands.When a young man is knocked off his bicycle and subsequently dies, James is sure that the culprit is Bule - after all, he saw a scratch on his car the day of the accident and the car matches the description to a T. But events take an unexpected turn when James discovers that it was really Jill driving the car that day, and he is torn between obligations of class, loyalty and justice.A WAY THROUGH THE WOOD was the inspiration for SEPARATE LIES, a 2005 British drama film adapted by Academy Award-winning writer Julian Fellowes and starring Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson and Rupert Everett.

W&N

The Small Back Room

Nigel Balchin
Authors:
Nigel Balchin
W&N

Darkness Falls from the Air

Nigel Balchin
Authors:
Nigel Balchin

The classic novel of the London Blitz, DARKNESS FALLS FROM THE AIR captures the chaos, absurdity and ultimately the tragedy of life during the bombardment.Bill Sarratt is a civil servant working on the war effort. Thwarted at every turn by bureaucracy and the vested interests of big business, the seemingly unflappable Bill is also on the verge of losing his wife Marcia to a literary poseur named Stephen. As the bombs continue to fall, Bill must decide whether he his willing to compromise his principles and prevent his life from crumbling before his very eyes.

Gollancz

S.N.U.F.F.

Victor Pelevin
Authors:
Victor Pelevin

Damilola Karpov is a pilot. Living in Byzantium, a huge sky city floating above the land of Urkaine, he makes his living as a drone pilot - capable of being a cameraman who records the events unfolding in Urkaine or, with the weapons aboard his drone, of making a newsworthy event happen for his employers: 'Big Byz Media'.His recordings are known as S.N.U.F.F.: Special Newsreel/Universal Feature Film.S.N.U.F.F. is a superb post-apocalyptic novel, exploring the conflict between the nation of Urkaine, its causes and its relationship with the city 'Big Byz' above. Contrasting poverty and luxury, low and high technology, barbarity and civilisation - while asking questions about the nature of war, the media, entertainment and humanity.

W&N

Borderland

Anna Reid
Authors:
Anna Reid

A classic and vivid history of Ukraine, fully updated to cover the Euromaidan Revolution in 2014 and ongoing crisis in the Donbass.Centre of the first great Slav civilisation in the tenth century, then divided between warring neighbours for a millennium, Ukraine finally won independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Tiring of their own corrupt governments, Ukrainians have since mounted two popular revolutions, taking to the streets to demand fair elections and closer ties to Europe. In the spring of 2014, Russia responded by invading Crimea and sponsoring a civil war in the Russian-speaking Donbass. Threatened by Moscow, misunderstood in the West, Ukraine hangs once more in the balance. Speaking to pro-democracy activists and pro-Russia militiamen, peasants and miners, survivors of Hitler's Holocaust and Stalin's famine, Anna Reid combines history and travel-writing to unpick the past and present of this bloody and complex borderland.

Orion

The Dandelion Years

Erica James
Authors:
Erica James

'Someone had made a perfect job of creating a place in which to hide a notebook . . . there was no address, only a date: September 1943 . . .'Ashcombe was the most beautiful house Saskia had ever seen as a little girl. A rambling cottage on the edge of a Suffolk village, it provided a perfect sanctuary to hide from the tragedy which shattered her childhood.Now an adult, Saskia is still living at Ashcombe and as a book restorer devotes her days tending to broken and battered books, daydreaming about the people who had once turned their pages. When she discovers a hidden notebook - and realises someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to hide a story of their own - Saskia finds herself drawn into a heart-rending tale of wartime love.

W&N

Ella Morris

John David Morley
Authors:
John David Morley

'This is a bold and fascinating mystery novel of ideas. John David Morley enfolds science and human loss with great fictional cunning' Ian McEwan on The Book of OppositesSpanning the decades from World War II to the Yugoslav conflict, Ella Morris is the story of a remarkable woman, and of the toll history takes on individual lives. Born in Berlin on the eve of Hitler's rise to power, Ella Andrzejewski escapes Soviet-occupied Europe and finds a safe haven in England. Here, she marries George Morris, but subsequently falls in love with Claude de Marsay, a French student ten years her junior. The intrusion of Claude upsets the balance of the Morris household, while the effects of Ella's traumatic past continue to be felt. As the decades pass and Europe lurches towards another conflict, Ella's children and grandchildren struggle to find their peace in a continent still reverberating with the echoes of war.

W&N

The Second World War

Antony Beevor
Authors:
Antony Beevor
W&N

Enigma

Hugh Sebag-Montefiore
Authors:
Hugh Sebag-Montefiore