Forgotten Land: Journeys Among the Ghosts of East Prussia
East Prussia is no longer on any map, though it was once a thriving land, famously military, deeply forested, artistically fertile, and the birthplace of Immanuel Kant. As the scene of Stalin's 'terrible revenge' it came to embody the turbulence of the twentieth century, was carved up between Poland and the USSR after World War II -- and passed abruptly into history. Embarking on a remarkable journey through landscape and memory, Max Egremont has woven the stories of ghosts and survivors into an evocative and deeply moving meditation on identity and the passing of time. 'East Prussia's successful evocation demands both the mind of a poet who can delineate the scale of human loss, and the imagination of an historian who knows how to count the cost. Forgotten Land, a work of consummate artistry, blends both capacities to rare effect' Spectator 'Changing frontiers, blurred racial identities, shifting allegiances and the mass movement of people -- this a story for our time' New Statesman 'Illuminating. A literary map to a beguiling hidden enclave of Europe' Metro 'Egremont's compelling tale exploits his boundless intellectual curiosity, mastery of German and eye for whimsy as well as tragedy. The book's canvas is remarkable. Fascinating reading' Max Hastings, Sunday Times
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" The experience of reading Max Egremont's wonderful evocation of the final years of East Prussia is like watching a film whose images you know will stay with you for years to come. You stumble out onto the street numb and haunted, unable and reluctant to rejoin the present . . .
Max Egremont was born in 1948 and studied Modern History at Oxford University. As well as four novels, he is the author of The Cousins and Balfour: A Life of Arthur James Balfour. His acclaimed biography of Siegfried Sassoon was published in 2005.