A uniquely personal exploration of the origins of international law, centring on the Nuremberg Trials, the city of Lviv and a secret family history
WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE AND THE JQ-WINGATE LITERARY PRIZE
When he receives an invitation to deliver a lecture in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, international lawyer Philippe Sands begins a journey on the trail of his family's secret history. In doing so, he uncovers an astonishing series of coincidences that lead him halfway across the world, to the origins of international law at the Nuremberg trial.
Interweaving the stories of the two Nuremberg prosecutors (Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin) who invented the crimes or genocide and crimes against humanity, the Nazi governor responsible for the murder of thousands in and around Lviv (Hans Frank), and incredible acts of wartime bravery, East West Street is an unforgettable blend of memoir and historical detective story, and a powerful meditation on the way memory, crime and guilt leave scars across generations.
About the Author
Philippe Sands is Professor of Law at University College London and a practising barrister at Matrix Chambers. He frequently appears before international courts, including the International Criminal Court and the World Court in The Hague, and has been involved in many of the most important cases of recent years, including Pinochet, Congo, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Iraq and Guantanamo. His previous books include Lawless World (on the illegality of the Iraq war), and Torture Team (on the embrace of torture by the Bush Administration).
He is a frequent contributor to the Financial Times, Guardian, New York Review Of Books and Vanity Fair, makes regular appearances on radio and television, and serves on the boards of English PEN and the Hay Festival.
A monumental achievement: profoundly personal, told with love, anger and great precision
Engrossing . . . Sands has written a remarkable and enjoyable book, deftly weaving his own family history into a lively account of the travails of the early campaigners for international human rights law - LITERARY REVIEW
A vivid and readable contribution, part memoir, part documentary, to the history debate ... Much of the most compelling material in this book is personal ... Moving and powerful - FINANCIAL TIMES
In a triumph of astonishing research, Sands has brilliantly woven together several family stories which lead to the great denouement at the Nuremberg tribunal. No novel could possibly match such an important work of truth
A narrative to my knowledge unprecedented . . . We have in Sands's EAST WEST STREET a machine of power and beauty that should not be ignored by anyone - NEW YORK TIMES
Dazzling, shatttering. East West Street is one of the most extraordinary books that I have ever read.