John Kampfner, author of Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country recommends a fascinating group of books! Before jumping into the interview, please check out John's book:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
If you want one book to help explain everything that has gone wrong with liberal democracy, you should look no further than The Light That Failed by Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes. They provide a European and American take on how authoritarianism has filled the void. Trump may be gone but the causes of discontent have not.
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
I'll go for two about Germany and its reckoning with history and one on Russia.
Géraldine Schwarz's Those Who Forget is a haunting account of her German grandparents' relationship with their Jewish neighbours.
A hugely successful podcast, The Ratline by Philippe Sands went straight onto the best-sellers.
Catherine Belton's Putin's People is so compelling that the Kremlin and its oligarch friends are trying to silence her.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
I have a favourite angry teenager book, and it's the eternal homage to nihilism: A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov.
Pechorin, the glamorous anti-heroic superfluous soldier, would now be considered beyond the pale for our time.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
Many thanks to John for recommending a fascinating group of books! Please don't forget to check out John's book Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country.
Image Copyrights: Penguin Books Ltd (The Light that Failed), Pushkin Press (Those Who Forget), Orion Publishing Co (The Ratline), HarperCollins Publishers (Putin's People), Alma Books Ltd (A Hero of Our Time).