The House by the Lake

by Thomas Harding

Biography / Autobiography

The House by the Lake Synopsis

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.

The House by the Lake Press 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

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780434023226
Publication date: 24/09/2015
Publisher:
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780434023226
Publication date: 24th September 2015
Author: Thomas Harding
Publisher:
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 464 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography,
Categories: European history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,

About Thomas Harding

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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