The Silences of Hammerstein
Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Translated by Martin Chalmers
5 x 8 inches, 402pp, 64 halftones December 2009
ISBN : 9781906497224
Rs 695.00 (HB)
The Silences of Hammerstein, the latest work from one of Germany’s most significant contemporary authors, engages readers with a blend of documentary, collage, narration, and fictional interviews. The gripping plot revolves around the experiences of real life German General Kurt von Hammerstein and his wife and children. A member of an old military family, a brilliant staff officer, and the last commander of the German army before Hitler seized power, Hammerstein, who died in 1943 before Hitler’s defeat, was nevertheless an idiosyncratic character. Too old to be a resister, he retained an independence of mind that was shared by his children: three of his daughters joined the Communist Party, and two of his sons risked their lives in the July 1944 plot against Hitler and were subsequently on the run until the end of the war. Hammerstein never criticized his children for their activities, and he maintained contacts with the Communists himself and foresaw the disastrous end of Hitler’s dictatorship.
In The Silences of Hammerstein, Hans Magnus Enzensberger offers a brilliant and unorthodox account of the military milieu whose acquiescence to Nazism consolidated Hitler’s power—and of the heroic few who refused to share in the spoils.
“An astonishing story of betrayal and human decency, about the possibilities of resistance of the most various kinds. . . . A book without heroes but with heroic moments and small gestures of resistance. . . . An unbelievably thrilling book.”—Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung
Hans Magnus Enzensberger, often considered Germany’s most important living poet, is also the editor of the book series Die Andere Bibliothek and the founder of the monthly TransAtlantik. His books include Lighter Than Air: Moral Poems and Civil Wars: From L.A. to Bosnia.
Martin Chalmers is a translator and editor. He grew up in Glasgow, Scotland. His translations include works by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Hubert Fichte, Ernst Weiss, Herta Mueller, Alexander Kluge, Emine Sevgi Oezdamar and Erich Hackl. At present Chalmers lives in Berlin.