"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)"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 Trials.
In this 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 trials, that the man they are prosecuting may be responsible for the murders of their entire families in Nazi-occupied Poland, in and around Lviv. The two prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, are remarkable men whose efforts led to the inclusion of the terms crimes against humanity and genocide in the judgment 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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Ade Owen on 18-03-17
How Philippe Sands put this book together is beyond belief, the amount of research - historical documentation and family history - knits together like an, enormous, sometimes horrific and melancholic word quilt. Beautifully read tremendously moving it is a work of great importance.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Christopher on 20-07-17
I never write reviews....
So I have over 140 audio books on Audible and this is the first time I have been moved to write a review. This book is a staggering achievement. In turns it's a brilliantly researched history, a compelling memoir, a collection of incredible short stories and a compelling narrative of incredible scope. All of these elements are seemlessly weaved together into a compelling whole.
It's a book of sorrow and hope. Some passages left me close to tears, and yet others were uplifting and inspiring. Given that the Holocaust is the story underpinning the book its no surprise that it is a deeply moving. It's fitting that the book which explores the relationship between the individual and the group chooses to tell the story of the Holocaust through a collection of individual stories.
The narration is well done. The author narrates some elements, which give the book personality and authenticity. Long passages are given over to David Rintoul, who is a very adept narrator and allows the narrative to progress smoothly.
I can not recommend this book highly enough.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful