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East West Street On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity by Philippe Sands
  

East West Street On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity

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May 2017 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.

This immersive book works as both a personal and public examination of the legal attempts to hold Nazi warmongers to account at Nuremberg, some of the first stirrings of international law. We are introduced to two Nuremberg judges who, after the prosecution of Hans Frank, Hitler’s Governor General of Poland, found he might well have been responsible for the destruction of their people and homeland, circumstances Phillipe Sands finds echoed in his own personal story through his Mother’s family. Already a deserved multi-prize-winner, East West Street manages to thread together multiple strands into one truly compelling history. ~ Sue Baker

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Synopsis

East West Street On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity by Philippe Sands

WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE AND THE JQ-WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE When he receives an invitation to deliver a lecture in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, international lawyer Philippe Sands begins a journey on the trail of his family's secret history. In doing so, he uncovers an astonishing series of coincidences that lead him halfway across the world, to the origins of international law at the Nuremberg trial. Interweaving the stories of the two Nuremberg prosecutors who invented the crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, the Nazi minister responsible for the murder of thousands in and around Lviv, and incredible acts of wartime bravery, EAST WEST STREET is an unforgettable blend of memoir and historical detective story, and a powerful meditation on the way memory, crime and guilt leave scars across generations.

Reviews

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

'Supremely gripping ... There are, of course, plenty of books about the Nazis, the Holocaust and the Nuremberg trials. When I picked up Sands's, I have to confess that my heart sank at the thought of another. Then I started reading. A few hours later, I looked up and realised that it was past midnight. When I woke up the next morning, the first thing I did was to reach for the book, and then I kept reading until I had finished it ... 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, with its handsome cafes and grand new opera house, to the high drama of the Nuremberg trials, with their rich cast of colourful characters. Often it is almost intolerably poignant ... But it is also a reminder that, even in the deepest darkness, there were glimmers of extraordinary heroism. One short chapter alone ... is one of the most moving accounts of human compassion I have ever read. For Sands, given his family's history, this must have been an enormously painful endeavour. But the result is one of the most gripping and powerful books imaginable.' -- Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times

'Important and engrossing ... The surprise is that 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 ... EAST WEST STREET is an exceptional memoir' -- Lisa Appignanesi, The 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

'EAST WEST STREET is 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

'EAST WEST STREET is 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

About the Author

Philippe Sands

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.

Author photo © Antonio Zaueta Olmos

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Book Info

Publication date

31st March 2017

Author

Philippe Sands

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Publisher

Weidenfeld & Nicolson an imprint of Orion Publishing Co

Format

Paperback
496 pages

Categories

Biography / Autobiography
All Shortlists and Winners
Books of the Month
History
The Real World
eBook Favourites

Memoirs
International human rights law
Genocide & ethnic cleansing
Second World War
War crimes

ISBN

9781474601917

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