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The Lesser Evil

The Diaries 1945-59

Victor Klemperer



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Weidenfeld & Nicolson
08 February 2022
The superb, bestselling diaries of Victor Klemperer, a Jew in Dresden who survived the war - hailed as one of the 20th century's most important chronicles.

'Compulsive reading' LITERARY REVIEW 'Deeply engrossing' SPECTATOR

'Klemperer's diary deserves to rank alongside that of Anne Frank' SUNDAY TIMES

'A vivid and powerful account of a remarkable life' SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY

June 1945. The immediate postwar period produces many shocks and revelations - some people have behaved better than Klemperer had believed, others much worse. His sharp observations are now turned on the East German Communist Party, which he himself joins, and he notes many similarities between Nazi and Communist behaviour. Politics, he comes to believe, is above all the choice of the lesser evil . He serves in the GDR's People's Chamber and represents East German scholarship abroad. But it is the details of everyday life, and the honesty and directness, that make these bestselling diaries so fascinating.
Imprint:   Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 134mm,  Spine: 40mm
Weight:   680g
ISBN:   9781474623193
ISBN 10:   1474623190
Pages:   672
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Born in 1881, Victor Klemperer studied in Munich, Geneva and Paris. He served in the German Army in the First World War and was decorated. He was a professor in Dresden until he was dismissed as a result of Nazi laws in 1935. He survived the Holocaust and the war, and taught again as an academic until his death in 1960. Martin Chalmers, the translator of the first two volumes, has also translated this volume.

Reviews for The Lesser Evil: The Diaries 1945-59

Klemperer's diary deserves to rank alongside that of Anne Frank * SUNDAY TIMES * These diaries constitute one of the most vital historical and human documents of their age. Packed with vivid observation, profound reflection ... they find hope, dignity and even tart humour in the jaws of hell * INDEPENDENT * One of the greatest diarists - perhaps the greatest - in the German language * NEW YORK TIMES * Compulsive reading ... Klemperer's diary also offers a superb window on life in Soviet-occupied Germany in 1945-9 and the early years of the German Democratic Republic * LITERARY REVIEW * Klemperer's acute eye for the corruption of his contemporaries and his sharp ear for the corruption of language make these diaries an inexhaustible mine of information and insight for anybody interested in the German catastrophe ... In the hands of a master, the ephemeral is perennial * DAILY TELEGRAPH * The diary juxtaposes the profound and the mundane, rather like life itself. That is what makes it such a vivid and powerful account of a remarkable life * SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY * Deeply engrossing ... he has the supreme gifts of honesty and scepticism ... He doesn't exaggerate, he doesn't fantasize ... one of the supreme chroniclers of the 20th century * SPECTATOR * No other testimony remotely as truthful exists of the locked-in half of Germany. The voice of Victor Klemperer is simply indispensable * EVENING STANDARD * Puts tears and blood into a political era that is otherwise difficult to dramatise and so to imagine * SCOTSMAN * The enhance Victor Klemperer's rare standing as a truth-teller * IRISH TIMES * The triumph of these diaries ... is precisely this: not for one moment does Klemperer lose his essential humanity. The diaries testify to the integrity of private space and truth to self ... This is the epic of a self-confessedly commonplace mortal with extraordinary qualities of intellect, wit and self-knowledge - recording his insights with unswerving fidelity to the truth * GUARDIAN *

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