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Jonathan Littell

The Kindly Ones

Jonathan Littell The Kindly Ones
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Main description:

Named one of the "100 Best Books of the Decade" by The Times of London

"Oh my human brothers, let me tell you how it happened."

A former Nazi officer, Dr. Maximilien Aue has reinvented himself, many years after the war, as a middle-class family man and factory owner in France. An intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music, he is also a cold-blooded assassin and the consummate bureaucrat. Through the eyes of this cultivated yet monstrous man we experience in disturbingly precise detail the horrors of the Second World War and the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Eichmann, Himmler, Göring, Speer, Heydrich, Höss—even Hitler himself—play a role in Max's story. An intense and hallucinatory historical epic, The Kindly Ones is also a morally challenging read. It holds a mirror up to humanity—and the reader cannot look away.

Review quote:

“A great work of literary fiction, to which readers and scholars will turn for decades to come.”

Review quote:

“A world-class masterpiece of astonishing brutality, originality, and force.”

Review quote:

“An alternately fascinating and impressively researched novel. . . . Its feverish voice is weirdly mesmerizing, the scope awesome.”

Review quote:

“An extraordinarily powerful novel…. Above all, it is a sophisticated exploration of issues of morality, evil and luck… The novel as a whole brilliantly shows how ‘ordinary men’ become killers.”

Review quote:

“The force and clarity with which Littell renders the physical realities of war and mass murder are simply astounding. . . . The Kindly Ones is unmistakably the work of a profoundly gifted writer.”

Review quote:

“The meticulously realistic main plot of The Kindly Ones is brilliantly organized and written…”

Review quote:

“Unquestionably brilliant…Littell is a gifted writer and what he achieves…is unparalleled…The novel [is] scrupulous in its period details and…generous in its scope”

Short description/annotation:

“Simply astounding. . . . The Kindly Ones is unmistakably the work of a profoundly gifted writer.” — Time

A literary prize-winner that has been an explosive bestseller all over the world, Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones has been called “a brilliant Holocaust novel… a world-class masterpiece of astonishing brutality, originality, and force,” and “relentlessly fascinating, ambitious beyond scope,” by Michael Korda (Ike, With Wings Like Eagles). Destined to join the pantheon of classic epics of war such as Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate, The Kindly Ones offers a profound and gripping experience of the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust.


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