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Download East West Street: On the Origins of “Genocide” and “Crimes against Humanity” Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample East West Street: On the Origins of “Genocide” and “Crimes against Humanity”, by Philippe Sands Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Philippe Sands Narrator: Philippe Sands, David Rintoul Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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When human rights lawyer Philippe Sands received an invitation to deliver a lecture in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, he began to uncover a series of extraordinary historical coincidences. It set him on a quest that would take him halfway around the world in an exploration of the origins of international law and the pursuit of his own secret family history, beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg Trials.

Part historical detective story, part family history, part legal thriller, Philippe Sands guides us between past and present as several interconnected stories unfold in parallel. The first is the hidden story of two Nuremberg prosecutors who discover, only at the end of the trials, that the man they are prosecuting, once Hitler’s personal lawyer, may be responsible for the murder of their entire families in Nazi-occupied Poland, in and around Lviv. The two prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, were remarkable men, whose efforts led to the inclusion of the terms crimes against humanity and genocide in the judgement at Nuremberg, with their different emphasis on the protection of individuals and groups. The defendant was no less compelling a character: Hans Frank, Hitler’s personal lawyer, friend of Richard Strauss, collector of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, and governor-general of Nazi-occupied Poland.

A second strand to the book is more personal, as Sands traces the events that overwhelmed his mother’s family in Lviv and Vienna during the Second World War and led his grandfather to leave his wife and daughter behind as war came to Europe. At the heart of this book is an equally personal quest to understand the roots of international law and the concepts that have dominated Sands’ work as a lawyer. Eventually he finds unexpected answers to his questions about his family in this powerful meditation on the way memory, crime, and guilt leave scars across generations.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A monumental achievement: profoundly personal, told with love, anger, and great precision.”

    John le Carré, #1 New York Times bestselling author

  • “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.”

    Antony Beevor, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Sands is a fine writer and sets his scenes so compellingly and earnestly…Engrossing, luminous, and moving.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “A rare and unusual event: a book about international law that makes you want to keep reading.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “Barack Obama and his successors would be well advised to move to the top of their reading lists this account of the birth, amid the darkest conceivable shadows, of an unprecedented body of rights-based law, whose application has scarcely begun.”

    New York Times

  • “Weaves lives together in a kind of collective biography of a generation…remarkable…compelling…moving and powerful.”

    Financial Times (London)

  • “This is the best kind of intellectual history…a clear, astonishing story.”

    New Statesman

  • “Written with novelistic skill, its prose effortlessly poised, its tone perfectly judged, the book teems with life and high drama…One of the most gripping and powerful books imaginable.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “A compelling family memoir intersects with the story of the Jewish legal minds who sowed the seeds for human rights law at the Nuremberg trials.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “A voyage of discovery…[and] riveting odyssey…Sands elicits the most extraordinary revelations from his subjects.”

    London Review of Books

  • “Extraordinary…astonishing…a considerable feat…profoundly moving.”

    Bookseller (Book of the Month Pick)

  • “For the future of humanity, forgetting, Sands insists in this vastly important book, is not an option.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “David Rintoul proves to be a reasonable narrator for this production…[and] smoothly interjects various foreign terms into the narration…[In] sections Sands himself narrates at the beginning and the end…Sands illuminates meaning and emphasis with his narration, enhancing understanding by teasing out nuance.”


  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A 2016 Nominee for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature
  • A 2016 Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction Shortlist Selection
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