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THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017
WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE and THE JQ-WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE
THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 10 BESTSELLER
'A monumental achievement: profoundly personal, told with love, anger and great precision' John le Carré
'One of the most gripping and powerful books imaginable' SUNDAY TIMES
When he receives an invitation to deliver a lecture in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, international lawyer Philippe Sands begins a journey on the trail of his family's secret history. In doing so, he uncovers an astonishing series of coincidences that lead him halfway across the world, to the origins of international law at the Nuremberg trial. Interweaving the stories of the two Nuremberg prosecutors (Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin) who invented the crimes or genocide and crimes against humanity, the Nazi governor responsible for the murder of thousands in and around Lviv (Hans Frank), and incredible acts of wartime bravery, EAST WEST STREET is an unforgettable blend of memoir and historical detective story, and a powerful meditation on the way memory, crime and guilt leave scars across generations.
WINNER OF THE HAY FESTIVAL MEDAL FOR PROSE 2017
Sands (Torture Team), a human rights lawyer and professor of international law at University College London, takes readers on a labyrinthine journey into the personal histories of three men whose lives were forever altered by the Nuremberg trials of October 1946. Two of them Rafael Lemkin and Hersch Lauterpacht were founding luminaries of the new field of international human rights law; the third, Hans Frank, was Hitler's personal legal counsel. Sands intertwines their stories with his own tragic family history, and seeks to illuminate the guiding principles of humanitarian law while unearthing the forgotten stories of the men who fought for its establishment in the wake of Nazi devastation. Part detective story and part heart-wrenching family history, the teeming narrative is anchored in the Ukrainian city of L'viv (alternately Lw w, L'vov, or Lemberg), hometown of Lemkin and Lauterpacht, and an emblem of the changing face of 20th-century Europe. Yet despite this attention to place, the book feels curiously unmoored, with the personalities and ambitions of its three main characters getting lost under a glut of biographical detail. Sands clearly revels in discovering long-lost family secrets; unfortunately, he also loses sight of the innovations in legal theory that Lemkin and Lauterpacht helped usher in, the ostensible focus on which is arguably the book's most original aspect.