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Philippe Sands Recommends

The author of 'The Ratline' Chooses Related Reads


Philippe Sands

Philippe Sands' first book, East West Street won him the Baillie Gifford Prize and the Prix Montaigne. His second,The Ratline : Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive is the true story of Otto von Wächter, a fugitive Nazi who died under mysterious circumstances in Rome whilst awaiting transport through 'the ratline' to Argentina. Sands befriends von Wächter's youngest son who is determined to exonerate the soul of his father. This book, for all its grim reality, is a densely-packed thriller with the unnerving wisdom of a fairytale. Sands unravels not only the mystery of Von Wächter's death, but also of his life.

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Philippe has chosen books with a relationship to The Ratline.

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The Pigeon Tunnel

John LeCarre, paperback


Le Carre's memoir of his own time in the British secret services. It is as rivetting, ambiguous and, at times, funny as any of his novels. Philippe says, '... from a friend and neighbour, a powerful influence of style and substance.'



Curzio Malaparte, paperback


'– published as the war ended, the Fascist-sympathising Italian journalist offers an extraordinary account of the horror and the opulence of Nazi rule in occupied Europe. Fact or fiction? You may well ask.'


Soldiers of Salamis

Javier Cercas, paperback


'Spanish Civil War, a moment of eye contact between a Nationalist prisoner and the Republican soldier who is about to execute him, an exploration of what may have followed. A non-fiction novel by the writer who unlocked a door to my own book’s conclusion.'


The Little Virtues

Natalia Ginzberg, paperback


'Stories about post-war Europe, including the unexpected death of a husband in Rome, a work of magical inspiration.'

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The Dutch House

Ann Patchett, paperback


'– what I was reading as my own book was published, that rare work that grabs you by the heart and brain and pulls you right into sibling life and the places of others until you can’t let go. Pure, magical brilliance.'