- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Picador; Reprints edition (12 April 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0330456601
- ISBN-13: 978-0330456609
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 225,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Forgotten Land: Journeys Among the Ghosts of East Prussia Paperback – 12 Apr 2012
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More About the Author
Praise for "Siegfried Sassoon"
"This is it. The thoroughly authentic, artistically intelligent biography we've been waiting for. The book is refreshingly rich and subtle as well as psychologically acute. Thank you, Max Egremont." --Paul Fussell, author of "The Great War and Modern Memory"
Praise for "Forgotten Land"
"Memory, its suppression and manipulation, is a recurrent theme in this original book . . . Egremont has written a book that tries to make sense of this history--not as a single, chronological narrative, but as a sequence of short, interconnected essays in which measured reflections, portraits of the leading political and cultural figures, and conversations with exiles from this 'forgotten land' are interwoven. Egremont's allusive prose style seems to echo these multiple perspectives, changing frontiers, blurred racial identities, shifting allegiances and the mass movement of peoples--a story for our time." Richard Calvocoressi, "The New Statesman"
"The book's canvas is remarkable . . . Egremont's compelling tale exploits his boundless intellectual curiosity, mastery of German and eye for whimsy as well as tragedy. I know enough of the story he tells to appreciate how much he has discovered that is quite unfamiliar to Anglo-Saxon readers . . . his literary journey through its past makes fascinating reading." --Max Hastings, "Sunday Times" (UK)
"East Prussia is Germany's lost province, in national memory the place of Immanuel Kant, honorable nationalism, and military strength. Max Egremont has captured the spirit of the land and its people." --Professor Roger Louis
'A masterwork on a region that is at risk of becoming lost in the mists of history.'--Pennant magazine
'Carved up between Russia and Poland after the Second World War, Prussia casts a sorrowful spell in this non-fiction curio which uneasily blends engrossing history with threadbare travelogue.'
Following his highly successful life of Sassoon, Max Egremont turns his attention to a world that has vanished into history.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Two-thirds of East Prussia were absorbed by Poland and the remaining northern third became a new region of Russia, to be renamed as Kaliningrad, after a senior Russian political figure (who died without ever setting foot there). For many years, Kaliningrad was a closed region - off-limits to all foreigners (except favoured anti-Western "freedom fighters" and their ilk) and most Russians, for the region was turned into a huge military base - the headquarters of the Soviet Baltic Fleet and home to hundreds of thousands of troops occupying the closest Russian territory to NATO forces, immediately behind the Warsaw Pact frontline.
And then everything changed. The Soviet Union collapsed and, with the independence of the Baltic States and Belarus from the former USSR, Kaliningrad found itself cut off from the Russian mainland, separated from the motherland by two foreign countries, whichever route (other than by air) people chose to take. In the early 1990s the future of Kaliningrad became a hot topic for western and, indeed, Russian analysts, researchers, diplomats, politicians and others.Read more ›
For after the Second World War, the lands of East Prussia were parcelled out between Russia and Poland. Those of the German population who could, fled westwards in the face of the retributive zeal of the advancing Russian troops. Many others were recruited as forced labour by the Russians and found themselves in the Gulag system. Towns and cities were renamed, gravestones were used as paving stones and so far as was possible, all traces of German residency were obliterated.
While the lands of East Prussia have buried their German past, it is perhaps Kaliningrad which shows the most dramatic change since it was the German city-port of Königsberg. With the fall of the Soviet Empire in 1989 the territory around Kaliningrad has been part of the Russian Federation but has had no land connection to the rest of Russia. When Max Egremont visited it in 1992 he found it "a parody of Soviet planning, with cracked concrete, cratered streets, people bend against the cold and wet . . .". In the post-Soviet age he finds "black limousines and dark-suited security guards . . . wait outside the Kaliningrad clubs, restaurants and hotels; the show of money mocks any idea of communism".Read more ›
Sometimes it wanders too far and stretches the significance of the content but if you are interested in the eastern end of western europe and its often tragic past then this is a relatively easy narrative.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
'The past is a land we can never re-visit' this is particularly true in the case of Prussia, a country forcibly wiped from the face of Europe at the end of World War Two, when this... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Alan. J. Reynolds
The book arrived safely and on time. This may be reprint of the original but nevertheless is fantastic value.Published 3 months ago by nala
A bit disappointing and certainly neither a history nor a travel book.Published 15 months ago by Matilda
A very interesting account and description of the country where my father-in- law grew up, and which we now want to visit.Published 23 months ago by Rosemary Holstein
A well written history,about the destruction of a people,and a way of life for millions of Germans,as Stalin annexed East Prussia at the end of the war,together Bohemia,and the... Read morePublished on 5 Jan. 2014 by Mr P
This readable book makes no claim to be objective - it isn't - and few claims as to historical objectivity. Read morePublished on 3 Nov. 2013 by F. Julius
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. Read morePublished on 27 May 2013 by Oliver Griffiths
You immediately know you are in trouble when the author says on page 7 that Luneburg is, "about twenty miles or so inland from the Baltic coast... Read morePublished on 19 April 2013 by Kenneth Parkes
Having waited almost three weeks for this book to arrive, the book that eventually came is a US edition and not a UK first as described and illustrated. Read morePublished on 18 April 2013 by email@example.com