Theater of Cruelty cover

Theater of Cruelty: Art, Film, and the Shadows of War

Ian Buruma is fascinated, he writes, “by what makes the human species behave atrociously.” In Theater of Cruelty the acclaimed author of The Wages of Guilt and Year Zero: A History of 1945 once again turns to World War II to explore that question—to the Nazi occupation of Paris, the Allied bombing of German cities, the international controversies over Anne Frank’s diaries, Japan’s militarist intellectuals and its kamikaze pilots.

One way that people respond to power and cruelty, Buruma argues, is through art, and the art that most interests him reveals the dark impulses beneath the veneer of civilized behavior. This is what draws him to German and Japanese artists such as Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Mishima Yukio, and ...

More »

1941: The Year That Keeps Returning

Slavko Goldstein, introduction by Charles Simic, translated from the Croatian by Michael Gable
“This perfectly successful combination of childhood memoir and historical analysis has few peers in European writing about the Second World War. All who read it will find their knowledge of the continent extended by Goldsteins’s erudite depiction of Yugoslavia, and their consciences nourished by his humane understanding of the experience of atrocity.”—Timothy Snyder

More »

Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure

Leigh Fermor was not only one of the masters of travel writing in English—his multi-volume memoir of his teen-aged trek across Europe is a classic of the genre—but his WWII exploits marked him as a genuine hero. In preparing this prize-winning biography, Artemis Cooper spent years in conversation with Leigh Fermor and his closest friends and enjoyed unlimited access to his papers.

More »