Recommended Read – Munich by Robert Harris
MUNICH, SEPTEMBER 1938
Hitler is determined to start a war. Chamberlain is desperate to preserve the peace.
They will meet in a city which forever afterwards will be notorious for what is about to take place.
As Chamberlain’s plane judders over the channel and the Fuhrer’s train steams south, two young men travel with their leaders. Former friends from a more peaceful time, they are now on opposing sides.
As Britain’s darkest hour approaches, the fate of millions could depend on them – and the secrets they’re hiding.
Spying. Betrayal. Murder. Is any price too high for peace?
Any lover of 20th century history will know Neville Chamberlain’s speech declaring ‘peace for our time’ when he stepped from a plane on his return from Germany in September 1938. A year later Britain was at war with Germany and the piece of paper which Chamberlain had waved so confidently seemed worthless. History has looked on Prime Minister Chamberlain as a failure and hostage to appeasement; but was there, in fact, a different explanation for what happened at the Munich Conference?
Robert Harris has done an incredible amount of research into this period. His in-depth descriptions of characters and their motivations are based on recorded fact, as are his detailed descriptions of Munich at the height of the Nazi’s power. The introduction into this historical setting of Legat and Hartmann serves to show both sides of the conference in Munich as well as raise questions about what might have happened if the opposition to Hitler at that time had been stronger and the planned removal of Hitler had gone ahead.
Munich is not an action-packed spy thriller with lots of car chases and dead bodies, it is a more thoughtful insight into the workings of leaders and their governments as they strive to do what they believe is best for their country, even if that means hiding their true motives and objectives in order to achieve their aims. I must admit that I came away from this novel with some new questions about Neville Chamberlain and a feeling that, just perhaps, he may have been done a disservice by history.
‘Munich’ Is a well plotted novel which draws the reader in. Yes, we know the outcome of the event, but how did the leaders get there? Could things have been different and prevented the Second World War? Or was it all inevitable? If Hitler had been removed from power would Goring or Hess or Himmler have taken over and continued the Fuhrer’s plans? It is questions like this which keeps the reader turning the pages.
This novel gives us an in-depth look at what happened over four short days in 1938, our own seat at the table where the future of Europe was decided not so much by what was said and done as by what was left un-done. If you have read and enjoyed other books by Robert Harris you will not be disappointed by ‘Munich’.
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