Author(s): Thomas Harding
"In the summer of 1993, Thomas Harding travelled to Germany with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake on the outskirts of Berlin. It had been her soul place as a child, she said a holiday home for her and her family, but much more a sanctuary, a refuge. In the 1930s, she had been forced to leave the house, fleeing to England as the Nazis swept to power. The trip, she said, was a chance to see it one last time, to remember it as it was. But the house had changed. Nearly twenty years later Thomas returned to the house. It was government property now, derelict, and soon to be demolished. It was his legacy, one that had been loved, abandoned, fought over a house his grandmother had desired until her death. Could it be saved? And should it be saved? He began to make tentative enquiries speaking to neighbours and villagers, visiting archives, unearthing secrets that had lain hidden for decades. Slowly he began to piece together the lives of the five families who had lived there a wealthy landowner, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned composer, a widower and her children, a Stasi informant. All had made the house their home, and all bar one had been forced
A personal and panoramic new history of Germany in the twentieth century by the author of Hanns and Rudolf
Shortlisted for Costa Biography Award 2015.
"A passionate memoir about Germany." -- Neil MacGregor, author of A History of the World in 100 Objects and Germany: Memories of a Nation "A superb portrait of twentieth century Germany seen through the prism of a house which was lived in, and lost, by five different families. A remarkable book." -- Tom Holland "In The House by the Lake, the simple villa loved and lost by Thomas Harding's family magically becomes the setting for the great clashes of the twentieth century, and for a technicolour cast - victims, villains and ordinary compromisers - struggling not to be crushed by them. Personal and panoramic, heart-wrenching yet uplifting, this is history at its most alive." -- A. D. Miller, bestselling author of Snowdrops and The Faithful Couple "I loved this book. I admire the elegance of it, the hope, the honesty and the generousness with which every resident is given his or her place. It has made me think about our individual parts in the bigger story, and the coming and going-ness of things. It is a book that will stay with me for a very long time." -- Rachel Joyce "A superb work of social history, told with tremendous narrative verve." -- Ian Critchley Sunday Times
Thomas Harding is a journalist who has written for the Sunday Times, Financial Times and the Guardian, among other publications. He co-founded a television station in Oxford, and for many years was an award-winning publisher of a newspaper in West Virginia. He lives in Hampshire, England.