The Silences of Hammerstein

A German Story

Hans Magnus Enzensberger

Translated by Martin Chalmers


5 x 8 inches, 472 pp. March 2017

ISBN : 9780857424464

Rs  525.00 (PB)
$30.00 (PB)
£21.00 (PB)

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The Silences of Hammerstein engages readers with a blend of a documentary, collage, narration and fictional interviews. The gripping plot revolves around 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 lifes in the July 1944 plot against Hitler and were subsquently on the run till 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.

'In writing about Hammerstein, Enzensberger is not just telling the story of a man, or of that man's remarkable family. He is investigating the moral value of intransigence . . . .' Adam Kirsh, New York Review of Books.

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.

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