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The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the…

The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive (edition 2020)

by Philippe Sands (Author)

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225693,811 (3.93)10
Title:The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive
Authors:Philippe Sands (Author)
Info:W&N (2020), Edition: 01, 432 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive by Philippe Sands


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Showing 4 of 4
I learned a lot from this book about the escape of Nazis, often to South America, aided by the Vatican and the US. The last third or so of the book involved the author revisiting towns, houses, etc where the main character and his wife had lived, visited, hidden, that had already been mentioned in the narrative. Kind of a travelogue, less interesting. ( )
  suemetzner | Sep 5, 2021 |
This was an eduational book regarding the lives of Nazis and community members before and after World War II. It showed in detail how much the Vatican and the Americans were involved in protecting some Nazis after the War. There was too much detail for me to be interested in the intricacies shown, but the overall picture was illuminating and depressing. ( )
  suesbooks | Jun 13, 2021 |
I started Sands's previous book, but never got very far. I was bothered both by the unnecessary detail, and by Sands inserting himself into every page. Unfortunately, this book has the same flaws. Do we really need to know the street address of every building that any character has lived or worked in? And do we need to know Sands's account of every interview or archival dive he makes?

> I thought of Laurence Olivier removing teeth in the torture scene in the film Marathon Man. Later I realized I'd conflated it with a different film, The Boys from Brazil.

> I did not mention this when he met me at the airport, or over a lunch of spicy tacos. Nor did I mention it as we drank coffee in the branch of the Twisters restaurant that was used as the set of Los Pollos Hermanos, from Breaking Bad, one of my favorite television series.

Really? These details are bizarre. The underlying story itself is also underwhelming, in my opinion, not even worth a podcast (which Sands also made). I'm obviously missing something. ( )
  breic | Sep 30, 2020 |
This is history as it should be written.

Philippe Sands has taken the story of one Nazi war criminal and turned it into a sprawling tale of love, family, truth, lies and memory.

The story revolves around Otto von Wächter, an Austrian Nazi who became one of the senior figures in the German occupation regime in Poland. His colleagues and friends were tried as war criminals and were, in some cases, hanged for their crimes. Wächter escaped, dying in a hospital in Rome in 1949. Sands grew to know Wächter’s son, who believed — and continues to believe — that his father was a good man, and that while others committed crimes, Wächter did the best he could in a difficult situation. But as it becomes clear early in the book, Wächter was a moral monster, a mass murderer, part of the criminal Nazi regime and completely loyal to it.

The second part of the book which explores the question of Wächter’s death is a bit of a shaggy dog story, but still gripping because Sands knows how to tell a tale. Some may not love the author being one of the characters in a book like this — some of which is set in the present day — but I thought it worked in this case (it didn’t, for me, in Laurent Binet’s 2010 book HHhH).

Highly recommended. ( )
  ericlee | Jun 21, 2020 |
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