Harding Thomas The House by the Lake

ISBN 13: 9780434023233

The House by the Lake

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9780434023233: The House by the Lake

Longlisted for the Orwell Prize

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Times (London), New Statesman (London), Daily Express (London), and Commonweal Magazine

In the summer of 1993, Thomas Harding traveled to Germany with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake on the outskirts of Berlin. It had been a holiday home for her and her family, but in the 1930s, she had been forced to flee to England as the Nazis swept to power. Nearly twenty years later, the house was government property and soon to be demolished. It was Harding’s legacy, one that had been loved, abandoned, fought over―a house his grandmother had desired until her death. Could it be saved? And should it?

When Harding began to make inquiries, he unearthed secrets that had lain hidden for decades about the lives of the five families who had lived there: a wealthy landowner, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned composer, a widow and her children, and a Stasi informant. The house had been the site of domestic bliss and of contentment, but also of terrible grief and tragedy. As its story began to take shape, Harding realized that there was a chance to save it, but in doing so, he would have to resolve his own family’s feelings towards their former homeland―and a hatred handed down through the generations.

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About the Author:

THOMAS HARDING is an author and journalist who has written for the Financial Times, The Sunday Times, The Washington Post, and The Guardian, among other publications. He is the author of the #1 international bestselling book Hanns and Rudolf, which won the 2015 Jewish Quarterly-Wingate Prize, was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Biography Award, and has been translated into many languages. He lives in Hampshire, England.

Review:

"Fascinating revelations abound . . . [A] powerful book." ―The Economist

"A fascinating window on a tumultuous period." ―Financial Times

"The House by the Lake meticulously chronicles two linked feats of reclamation: the author's reconstruction of the house's life and times, and his quest to restore the building itself. . . . This is a tale of multiple dispossessions, but also of adaptation and resiliency." ―Julia M. Klein, The Boston Globe

"An epic, fact-filled, multi-voiced saga told with pace, verve, and warmth, and rich in fascinating revelations. . . . Masterful." ―Minneapolis Star Tribune

"In his absorbing personal history, The House by the Lake: One House, Five Families, and a Hundred Years of German History, Harding recounts, with a measured pathos, the experiences of a succession of tenants. It is a story of aspiration, fleeting joy, escape and the small-scale dramas of domestic life. . . . For all the political and personal upheaval detailed here, Harding writes with a restraint that's all the more impressive given his personal connection to the material. . . . Harding makes excellent use of eyewitness testimony, interviews with Gross Glienicke villagers, family papers, government archives and other documents, as he moves across a century of time." ―Newsday

"Breathtaking in scope and intimate in its detail, Harding's book is a groundbreaking and revelatory history of Germany, told over nearly a century through the story of a small wooden house." ―Anne Hammock, Florida Times-Union Book of the Week

"By tracing the lives of the different families who lived there, Harding sheds fresh light on the German 20th century, a tale of war, spies, murder and political, racial and social division. His account of the house is a superb work of social history, told with tremendous narrative verve." ―The Sunday Times (London)

"This is a history that is often poignant, sometimes heartening, and never other than intimate. . . . This is a gentle but rewarding book, carefully tuned into the marginal voices recorded in the history of one small house by a lake." ―Clare Mulley, The Spectator (UK)

"Diamond-brilliant . . . If a webcam had been left on at number 101 Gross Glienicke for 90 years, the record could not have been more vivid or revelatory. Harding's research, from eyewitness accounts to the files of ministries, is jaw-dropping. This is an extraordinary book. Five Stars." ―Sunday Express (UK)

"This emblem of tyranny [the Berlin Wall] was just another fact of life for those living in its shadow. And that is, perhaps, the most important lesson of Harding's book. History, which we learn about as a series of ideological abstractions, is lived concretely. This is why an ordinary house can serve so effectively as a symbol of the German experience." ―Adam Kirsch, The New Statesman

"It would be hard to write an original and moving account of the tortured 20th-century history of Germany. But, in The House by the Lake, Thomas Harding succeeds remarkably. . . . A tragic and beautifully told history." ―The Jewish Chronicle

"Impressive . . . A deft history of a cabin containing many secrets." ―The Independent (UK)

"The house by the lake has survived economic booms, busts, extremist ideology, persecution, barbed wired fences, blame and retribution and this book is a potent reminder that behind all these, are human stories." ―Country Life

"In The House by the Lake, the simple villa loved and lost by Thomas Harding's family magically becomes the setting for the great clashes of the twentieth century, and for a Technicolor cast―victims, villains and ordinary compromisers―struggling not to be crushed by them. Personal and panoramic, heart-wrenching yet uplifting, this is history at its most alive." ―A. D. Miller, author of Snowdrops and The Faithful Couple

"A passionate memoir about Germany." ―Neil MacGregor, author of A History of the World in 100 Objects and Germany: Memories of a Nation

"This revelatory and compelling book is a clear must-read for anyone interested in German history during the past tumultuous century. The House By The Lake is a deeply moving story of endurance―of place as well as people. It is also uplifting as we learn of how the crumbling wreck of the house is restored to a haven of reconciliation and peace for the community and visitors to enjoy, and to heed its history which has been so brilliantly exposed." ―Lyn Smith, author of Forgotten Voices

"With the narrative drive of a great novelist and the meticulous research of a great historian, Harding has crafted a moving, instructive and important book." ―Herald Scotland

"A fascinating and revealing account of a century of German social and political history, told in an effortlessly accessible way." ―David Lodge, author of Changing Places

"A superb portrait of twentieth century Germany seen through the prism of a house which was lived in, and lost, by five different families. A remarkable book." ―Tom Holland, author of In The Shadow Of The Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World

"Harding recounts not only his family's story, but also those of the others who inhabited the beautiful country house, most notably composer (and one-time member of the Nazi party) Will Meisel and, later, secret police informant Wolfgang Kuhne. In doing so, he also traces the complicated German history of the mid- and late-twentieth century. . . . The overarching notion of using a building to trace a family's and a country's troubled history is affecting and even, at times, inspirational." ―Booklist

"An absorbing account." ―Library Journal

"Extraordinary . . . A masterpiece of microcosmic history." ―The Bookseller

"Original, personal, moving and uplifting . . . [Harding] writes engagingly and sympathetically." ―The Literary Review

"Harding writes of love and loss, of victims and villains, of struggle and survival in a heart-wrenching family memoir that many novelists would envy for powerful story, colourful characters and cool style." ―Saga Magazine

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Trade Paperback. Language: English . Brand New Book. SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD 2015 A passionate memoir about Germany Neil MacGregor History at its most alive A. D. Miller Superb. a remarkable book Tom Holland A book that will stay with me for a very long time Rachel Joyce In the summer of 1993, Thomas Harding travelled to Berlin with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake. It was her `soul place she said - a sanctuary she had been forced to leave when the Nazis swept to power. The trip was a chance to see the house one last time, to remember it as it was. But the house had changed. Twenty years later Thomas returned to Berlin. The house now stood empty, derelict, and soon to be demolished. A concrete footpath cut through the garden, marking where the Berlin Wall had stood for nearly three decades. Elsewhere were signs of what the house had once been - blue tiles showing behind wallpaper, phographs fallen between floorboards, flagstones covered in dirt. Evidence of five families who had made the house their home over a tumultuous century. The House by the Lake is a groundbreaking work of history, revealing the story of Germany through the inhabitants of one small wooden building: a nobleman farmer, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned Nazi composer, a widow and her children, a Stasi informant. Moving from the late nineteenth century to the present day, from the devastation of two world wars to the dividing and reuniting of a nation, it is a story of domestic joy and contentment, of terrible grief and tragedy, and of a hatred handed down through the generations. Breathtaking in scope, intimate in detail, it is the long-awaited new history from the author of the bestselling Hanns and Rudolf. Bookseller Inventory # LIB9780434023233

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Trade Paperback. Language: English . Brand New Book. SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD 2015 A passionate memoir about Germany Neil MacGregor History at its most alive A. D. Miller Superb. a remarkable book Tom Holland A book that will stay with me for a very long time Rachel Joyce In the summer of 1993, Thomas Harding travelled to Berlin with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake. It was her `soul place she said - a sanctuary she had been forced to leave when the Nazis swept to power. The trip was a chance to see the house one last time, to remember it as it was. But the house had changed. Twenty years later Thomas returned to Berlin. The house now stood empty, derelict, and soon to be demolished. A concrete footpath cut through the garden, marking where the Berlin Wall had stood for nearly three decades. Elsewhere were signs of what the house had once been - blue tiles showing behind wallpaper, phographs fallen between floorboards, flagstones covered in dirt. Evidence of five families who had made the house their home over a tumultuous century. The House by the Lake is a groundbreaking work of history, revealing the story of Germany through the inhabitants of one small wooden building: a nobleman farmer, a prosperous Jewish family, a renowned Nazi composer, a widow and her children, a Stasi informant. Moving from the late nineteenth century to the present day, from the devastation of two world wars to the dividing and reuniting of a nation, it is a story of domestic joy and contentment, of terrible grief and tragedy, and of a hatred handed down through the generations. Breathtaking in scope, intimate in detail, it is the long-awaited new history from the author of the bestselling Hanns and Rudolf. Bookseller Inventory # LIB9780434023233

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Book Description 2015. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. In the summer of 1993, Thomas Harding travelled to Germany with his grandmother to visit a small house by a lake on the outskirts of Berlin. It had been her soul place as a child, she said.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 464 pages. 0.692. Bookseller Inventory # 9780434023233

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Book Description Random House UK Ltd Sep 2015, 2015. Taschenbuch. Book Condition: Neu. Neuware - In den 20er Jahren wurde das Haus am See das Sommerparadies für die jüdische Familie Alexander. Für Elsie Alexander, Großmutter von Autor Thomas Harding, ist es auch nach der Verfolgung und Vetreibung durch die Nazis ein Ort für die Seele geblieben. Danach pachtete Will Meisel, Komponist und NSDAP-Mitglied, das Anwesen. Im Krieg bot das Haus seiner Familie Zuflucht. Nach der Teilung Deutschlands lag es in der sowjetischen Besatzungszone und späteren DDR, direkt an der Grenze. Wieder wurde es zur Zuflucht für Familien. Sie sahen, wie am Gartenende die Mauer gebaut wurde und wie sie fiel. Thomas Harding hatte seine Großmutter nach der Wende einmal dorthin begleitet. Viele Jahre später kam er wieder. Es war wie ein Wunder. Das Haus stand immer noch, inzwischen aber verlassen und dem Verfall preisgegeben. Er beschloss, die Geschichte dieses Hauses und der Menschen, die in ihm gelebt hatten, zu erzählen. Und nicht nur das: Er konnte die Stadt Potsdam, inzwischen Besitzerin des Grundstücks, davon überzeugen, dass dieses Haus Denkmalschutz verdient. 442 pp. Englisch. Bookseller Inventory # 9780434023233

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Book Description Random House UK Ltd Sep 2015, 2015. Taschenbuch. Book Condition: Neu. Neuware - In den 20er Jahren wurde das Haus am See das Sommerparadies für die jüdische Familie Alexander. Für Elsie Alexander, Großmutter von Autor Thomas Harding, ist es auch nach der Verfolgung und Vetreibung durch die Nazis ein Ort für die Seele geblieben. Danach pachtete Will Meisel, Komponist und NSDAP-Mitglied, das Anwesen. Im Krieg bot das Haus seiner Familie Zuflucht. Nach der Teilung Deutschlands lag es in der sowjetischen Besatzungszone und späteren DDR, direkt an der Grenze. Wieder wurde es zur Zuflucht für Familien. Sie sahen, wie am Gartenende die Mauer gebaut wurde und wie sie fiel. Thomas Harding hatte seine Großmutter nach der Wende einmal dorthin begleitet. Viele Jahre später kam er wieder. Es war wie ein Wunder. Das Haus stand immer noch, inzwischen aber verlassen und dem Verfall preisgegeben. Er beschloss, die Geschichte dieses Hauses und der Menschen, die in ihm gelebt hatten, zu erzählen. Und nicht nur das: Er konnte die Stadt Potsdam, inzwischen Besitzerin des Grundstücks, davon überzeugen, dass dieses Haus Denkmalschutz verdient. 442 pp. Englisch. Bookseller Inventory # 9780434023233

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