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The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding
  

The House by the Lake

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Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2015.

With a work of history, this book reveals the story of Germany through the inhabitants of one small wooden building: a nobleman farmer, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned Nazi composer, a widow and her children, a Stasi informant.

Costa Judges' comment: “With the pace of a thriller, and a wholly original perspective, this book offers an unforgettable and touching account of life in Germany throughout the turbulent 20th century.”

Synopsis

The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding

In the spring of 1993, Thomas Harding travelled to Berlin with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake. It was her 'soul place', she said - a sanctuary she had been forced to leave when the Nazis swept to power. The trip was a chance to see the house one last time, to remember it as it was. But the house had changed. Twenty years later Thomas returned to Berlin. The house now stood empty, derelict, soon to be demolished. A concrete footpath cut through the garden, marking where the Berlin Wall had stood for nearly three decades. Elsewhere were signs of what the house had once been - blue tiles showing behind wallpaper, photographs fallen between floorboards, flagstones covered in dirt. Evidence of five families who had made the house their home over a tumultuous century. The House by the Lake is a ground breaking work of history, revealing the story of Germany through the inhabitants of one small wooden building: a nobleman farmer, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned Nazi composer, a widow and her children, a Stasi informant. Moving from the late nineteenth century to the present day, from the devastation of two world wars to the dividing and reuniting of a nation, it is a story of domestic joy and contentment, of terrible grief and tragedy, and of a hatred handed down through the generations. It is the long-awaited new work from the best-selling author of Hanns and Rudolf.

Reviews

'A passionate memoir about Germany.' -- Neil MacGregor, author of A History of the World in 100 Objects and Germany: Memories of a Nation

'A superb portrait of twentieth century Germany seen through the prism of a house which was lived in, and lost, by five different families. A remarkable book.' -- Tom Holland

'In The House by the Lake, the simple villa loved and lost by Thomas Harding's family magically becomes the setting for the great clashes of the twentieth century, and for a technicolour cast - victims, villains and ordinary compromisers - struggling not to be crushed by them. Personal and panoramic, heart-wrenching yet uplifting, this is history at its most alive.' -- A. D. Miller, bestselling author of Snowdrops and The Faithful Couple

'A superb work of social history, told with tremendous narrative verve.' -- Ian Critchley Sunday Times

'Diamond brilliant... the history of modern Germany as seen through the windows of the wooden house beside the lake. This is an extraordinary book.' -- John Lewis-Stempel Sunday Express

About the Author

Thomas Harding is a journalist who has written for The Sunday Times, the Financial Times and the Guardian, among other publications. He founded a television station in Oxford, England, and for many years was an award-winning publisher of a newspaper in West Virginia. He lives in Hampshire, England.

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Book Info

Publication date

24th September 2015

Author

Thomas Harding

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Author's Website

thomasharding.com/hans-and-...

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Publisher

William Heinemann Ltd an imprint of Cornerstone

Format

Hardback
464 pages

Categories

Biography / Autobiography
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

European history
20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000

ISBN

9780434023226

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