Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad: A Family Memoir of Miraculous Survival (Paperback)
  • Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad: A Family Memoir of Miraculous Survival (Paperback)
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Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad: A Family Memoir of Miraculous Survival (Paperback)

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Paperback 496 Pages
Published: 06/06/2024
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Waterstones Says

The respected journalist and political commentator tells the harrowing yet also inspirational story of his parents' suffering at the hands of both Hitler and Stalin in this profoundly important and exquisitely written family memoir.

Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Political Writing 2024

From longstanding political columnist and commentator Daniel Finkelstein, a powerful memoir exploring both his mother and his father’s devastating experiences of persecution, resistance and survival during the Second World War.

Daniel’s mother Mirjam Wiener was the youngest of three daughters born in Germany to Alfred and Margarete Wiener. Alfred, a decorated hero from the Great War, is now widely acknowledged to have been the first person to recognise the existential danger Hitler posed to the Jews and began, in 1933, to catalogue in detail Nazi crimes. After moving his family to Amsterdam, he relocated his library to London and was preparing to bring over his wife and children when Germany invaded the Netherlands. Before long, the family was rounded up, robbed and sent to starve in Bergen-Belsen.

Daniel’s father Ludwik was born in Lwów, the only child of a prosperous Jewish family. In 1939, after Hitler and Stalin carved up Poland, Ludwik’s father was arrested and sentenced to hard labour in the Gulag. Meanwhile, deported to Siberia and working as a slave labourer on a collective farm, Ludwik survived the freezing winters in a tiny house he built from cow dung.

Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad is a deeply moving, personal and at times horrifying memoir about Finkelstein’s parents’ experiences at the hands of the two genocidal dictators of the twentieth century. It is a story of persecution; survival; and the consequences of totalitarianism told with the almost unimaginable bravery of two ordinary families shining through.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780008483890
Number of pages: 496
Weight: 360 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 30 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR Winner of the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2023 ‘Captivating . . . Superb. This is a beautiful book about a horrific time when life was cheap and cruelty abundant. It took possession of me. I read it quickly, but then couldn’t stop thinking or talking about the Finkelstein and Wiener families’ The Times ‘This is a masterful tale, haunting, elegiac, at times joyful and humorous. It is a history, a commentary, and a thriller, alternating between the suffering at the hands of the Germans and the Soviets’ Financial Times ‘Powerful and beautifully written. Once the second world war breaks out the book works like a thriller, as both families race against the clock to escape certain death. But there are bigger themes running through Finkelstein’s writing, elevating Hitler, Stalin, Mum and Dad to the status of A modern classic – and just as deserving of acclaim as Philippe Sands’s East West Street or Edmund de Waal’s The Hare With Amber Eyes, both of which used inventive ways to examine the Holocaust afresh’ Observer ‘Superb. Finkelstein is a versatile writer who has delivered an exciting story of courage and persistence, powered by a sense of filial duty and engagingly sustained over its hundreds of pages’ Daily Telegraph ‘Profoundly moving . . . This is a vital addition to the literature of two catastrophes of the 20th century. With great clarity and wisdom he demonstrates what evil politics can do. There is not a word of padding. The prose, distilled into what is both true and interesting, can sometimes be disarmingly simple’ Spectator ‘A masterpiece. This book will be read for generations as a classic’ Jewish Chronicle ‘By far the best book published this year’ Peter Hitchens

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“Totally brilliant”

This is a special book. It is deep, it is wise and it holds huge emotional power. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
The stories of the two sides of the Finkelstein are expertly told and, as you read, you come to... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 23

“Thank you”

A beautifully written story of family, love, loss, man's inhumanity and the ability of some to rise above it.
It was an easy read for such an intense and difficult subject matter

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 19

“A Must Read”

This read was both harrowing and uplifting, and I couldn't put it down. Not just the story of a Jewish family's horrendous experiences during WW2 but an explanation of the politics and feelings of the time.... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 10

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