Book Review: Munich: A Novel by Robert Harris (four stars)
‘In his ostentatiously modest way, [redacted] thought, Chamberlain was as egocentric as Hitler: he always conflated the national interest with himself.’
Reads as much as a life and times story as history of a critical week in 1938 when World War Two didn’t start. Exhaustively researched details of architecture, dress, food, and technology.
‘Truth was like any other material necessary for the making of war: it had to be beaten and bent and cut into the required shape.’
Timely parallel to current eastern European history. When writing it, Harris may have had an entirely different ax to grind. No shortage of megalomaniacs in this world.
‘In that moment, in a flash of clarity, he saw that nobody—not him, not the Army, not a lone assassin—that no German would disrupt their common destiny until it was fulfilled.’
Complex intertwined narratives of two former colleagues from university days, now high in their respective government. The fictitious observers act as catalyst and recorder of what seemed like a daring, last ditch effort to avoid a second world war. Serious students are directed to William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
“Whereas if he keeps his word—and I happen to believe he will—we will avoid war.” “But what if he breaks his word?” “If he breaks it—well, then the world will see him for what he is.”
Great book cover. I think I still have my “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” Read a lot of these books when I was young. And now we have another horror.