The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive (Hardback)Philippe Sands (author)
Documenting the shadowy activities of an SS Brigadesfuhrer in the years leading up to his mysterious demise, the award-winning author of East West Street paints a complex picture of insidious evil and encroaching desperation.
Shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of the Year 2020
As Governor of Galicia, SS Brigadesfuhrer Otto Freiherr von Wachter presided over an authority on whose territory hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles were killed, including the family of the author's grandfather. By the time the war ended in May 1945, he was indicted for 'mass murder'.
Hunted by the Soviets, the Americans, the Poles and the British, as well as groups of Jews, Wachter went on the run. He spent three years hiding in the Austrian Alps before making his way to Rome and being taken in by a Vatican bishop. He remained there for three months. While preparing to travel to Argentina on the 'ratline' he died unexpectedly, in July 1949, a few days after having lunch with an 'old comrade' whom he suspected of having been recruited by the Americans.
In The Ratline Philippe Sands offers a unique account of the daily life of a Nazi fugitive, the love between Wachter and his wife Charlotte, who continued to write regularly to each other while he was on the run, and a fascinating insight into life in Rome and among American and Soviet spies active at the start of the Cold War. Using modern medical expertise, the door is unlocked to a mystery that haunts Wachter's youngest child, who believes his father was a good man - what was Wachter doing while in hiding, and what exactly caused his death?
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 657 g
Dimensions: 238 x 160 x 42 mm
‘For Philippe Sands, lawyer, academic and historical Nazi hunter, this stuff is gold dust… [His] untangling of the mysteries surrounding Otto von Wächter is masterfully done.’ - The Sunday Times
'A gripping adventure, an astounding journey of discovery and a terrifying and timely portrait of evil in all its complexity, banality, self-justification and madness. A stunning achievement' - Stephen Fry'Hypnotic, shocking and unputdownable' - John le Carre
'This is a burningly necessary book. Sands makes a gently unsparing dissection of deception, love, delusion and ineradicable evil. Elegant, painstaking, passionate and quietly enraging' - A L Kennedy
'A triumph of research and brilliant storytelling' - Antony Beevor
'Breathtaking, gripping, and ultimately, shattering. Philippe Sands has done the unimaginable: look a butcher in the eye and tell his story without flinching' - Elif Shafak
'The Ratline is a book of twists and intrigues as complex as any le Carre thriller ... like its predecessor, [it] is replete with vivid descriptions and Sands brings to it the same relentless narrative momentum.' - The Literary Review
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“The lover, the father and the mass murderer...”
Philippe Sands follows the story of Otto Wächter. SS governor of Galicia who appeared in his award winning book “East West Street”. This is like a follow up, but essentially the story of Otto and Charlotte.
In the... More
“A modern masterpiece”
The Ratline is several books at once: a biography, a murder mystery, the story of a troubled friendship, and a reckoning with the crimes of the 20th century. The book triumphs because the action is held together by... More
“Best History Book 2020.”
A rare masterpiece. This is a biography, a spy thriller, a detective work and above all a demonstration of unmatched commitment to scrupulous research and absolute (as absolute as possible) factual certainty. I love... More
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