About thirty years ago I had the pleasure of dining with a striking lady from an East Prussian 'Junker' family who related, over dinner what had happened to them in 1945. This very dignified lady told the story with tears running down her cheeks - an event that I suspect I shall never forget. I therefore welcomed the chance to understand what it was that she had lost and how.
I am reasonably familiar with what happened in East Prussia during the 20th century but there is little in English specifically on the subject so I was very interested in Mr Egremont's take on it. The answer for me was really not very much. He appeared to have rifled through a few books in German and had had some interviews and these were regurgitated at considerable length and in a rather confusing manner. When some of the characters appeared yet again to say, yet again, not very much - it was just a little irritating.
We kept on being told about the great East Prussian families but actually focused on just three of them, and then on the musings of a few individuals within them. The result was an extremely partial picture. The middle classes who were the backbone of the towns were almost non-existant in the narrative. If Kant came up once he came up a hundred times. There was almost no narrative of how East Prussia had evolved, or on the strange disconnectedness caused by its separation from the rest of Germany between the wars. There was for me little evocation of what it had all been like. So much more could have been done with the subject.
Well done Mr Egremont for tackling the subject, but I am afraid that poor editing and a paucity of sources have let you down.