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Munich

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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  13,608 ratings  ·  1,375 reviews
September 1938. Hitler is determined to start a war. Chamberlain is desperate to preserve the peace.

The issue is to be decided in a city that will forever afterwards be notorious for what takes place there.

Munich.
As Chamberlain’s plane judders over the Channel and the Führer’s train steams relentlessly south from Berlin, two young men travel w
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ebook, Adobe EPUB, 352 pages
Published September 21st 2017 by Cornerstone Digital
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Jeffrey Keeten
”Everyone said---by everyone I mean people like me--we all said, ‘Oh, he’s a terrible fellow, Hitler; but he’s not necessarily all bad. Look at his achievements. Put aside this awful medieval anti-Jew stuff: it will pass.’ But the point is, it won’t pass. You can’t isolate it from the rest. It’s there in the mix. And if the anti-Semitism is evil, it’s all evil. Because if they’re capable of that, they’re capable of anything.”

”Everyone said---by everyone I mean people like me--we all said, ‘Oh, he’s a terrible fellow, Hitler; but he’s not necessarily all bad. Look at his achievements. Put aside this awful medieval anti-Jew stuff: it will pass.’ But the point is, it won’t pass. You can’t isolate it from the rest. It’s there in the mix. And if the anti-Semitism is evil, it’s all evil. Because if they’re capable of that, they’re capable of anything.”

 photo MunichAgreement_zpspkwiv4fs.jpg
Neville Chamberlain, waving the Munich Agreement in the air, proclaimed that it meant “peace for our time.” Unfortunately, he was wrong.

In September of 1938, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Neville Chamberlain, flew to Munich, Germany, to meet with Adolf Hitler to discuss the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia. There were several million people of German extraction living in that region, and Hitler wanted to annex the area to Germany, as he had Austria. Chamberlain hoped to fulfill a Shakespeare quote from Henry IV: ”Out of the nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.” He was for appeasement, and Winston Churchill was against appeasement, believing that Hitler could never be appeased. Hitler would always want more.

What is interesting about this book is Robert Harris gave me a more sympathetic view of Chamberlain. I have always thought of him as a naive, blundering fool, which was really way too harsh of an assessment. He was wrong about being able to make Hitler content with a slice of Czechoslovakia, but he was not naive or blundering. He was simply trying everything he could to keep war from breaking out. Something I didn’t realize, until I did some more research after reading this book, was that Czechoslovakia had built up some major defenses in the Sudetenland, probably because they knew the most likely threat to their country would come from Germany. When Britain, France, Germany, and Italy came to the agreement to hand that area over to Hitler, they seriously diminished Czechoslovakia's ability to defend themselves. Hitler, while touring the installations after acquiring the Sudetenland, determined that taking this piece of land would have had a high cost in German blood.

The really crappy thing about the Munich Agreement conference was that Czechoslovakia was not even allowed at the table. Four European countries decided to give away Czech land in an attempt at appeasement without allowing them a voice at the table. The Czech’s did not refer to this decision as the Munich Agreement. They called it the Munich Diktat (Betrayal), and how can anyone blame them for feeling differently? Especially given how things turn out.

Robert Harris built the story around two young men who were friends at Oxford. Paul Hartmann was a German diplomat, who was also a member of the anti-Hitler resistance. Hugh Legat was one of Chamberlain’s private secretaries. Both were involved with translating documents and conversations between leaders. Paul was desperate to get information to Hugh that might keep Chamberlain from signing the Agreement. Both men were watched very carefully by their own diplomatic corps, so exchanging information was not only nearly impossible, but also very dangerous if either was caught. Chances were slim for success, but very likely for failure. Paul was a nationalist who loved his country, but at the moment he was trying to determine if he could be the ultimate traitor.

”He imagined feeling for it in his inside pocket, quickly withdrawing it, pointing the barrel, a moment of eye contact perhaps before he squeezed the trigger, a final look and then the explosion of blood and tissue. He would have been reviled until the end of of time, and he realised he could never have done it. The insight into his own weakness appalled him.”

That’s always the great time machine question. If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you? Could you? What world would you return to?

 photo Munich20Agreement20signers_zpsaq3ugy2w.jpg
Neville Chamberlain, Édouard Daladier, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Mussolini’s son-in-law, Galeazzo Ciano.

Robert Harris is the master at ratcheting up the tension as Paul and Hugh become more and more entwined in the deadly game of espionage. Who are you willing to betray? Your friends, your country, yourself? Harris has become a grandmaster of the intelligent, exhilarating thriller. It is always an event for me when a new Harris book is published. I know I’m going to be thoroughly entertained. I will be enriched with new historical perspectives. I will have an expanded knowledge of whatever subject he has decided to write about. It is always a pleasure, Mr. Harris.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visithttp://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
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Malia
Robert Harris is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction, and he has another winner on his hands with Munich. It tells the story of two men, one German and one English, who play roles in the final meeting between Chamberlain and Hitler in 1938, when peace was still a possibility. The book is wonderfully written and researched and, as always with this author's books, I came away from it feeling I had learned something new. The characters are intriguing and the plot clever and well-paced. ...more
Tammy
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was looking forward to reading this new book by Robert Harris because he does a such a great job with historical thrillers. Based on the Oster conspiracy and the Munich Conference, two fictional friends from Oxford during the 1920’s end up on opposites sides of the negotiating table in an effort to prevent the war that is inevitable.
I was surprised that the first half of this book was so slow. Everyone runs around to and fro delivering this message and that telegram with the requisite me
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Matt
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Robert Harris offers up another wonderful novel that weaves together the events of history with some background fiction that only serves to accentuate the dramatic effect. It is 1938 and Europe is on the precipice of another war. Adolf Hitler has begun acquiring areas of neighbouring countries, citing their Germanic history, in order to build a stronger homeland. All the while, the world looks on, centred in London, where U.K. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is weighing his options. Surrounde ...more
Diane S ☔
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read
3.5 Found this one to be hard to rate and review. The Munich agreement signed by Chamberlain and Hitler, was another part of history of which I had no knowledge. We hear from two men who had been friends in Oxford,one now serving as a newly minted secretary under Chamberlain, the other part of those with access to Hitler. A p!ot that was planned, but obviously never succeeded, for if it had the world would have been a much better place.

Needless to say in politically placed books such
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Sam Quixote
With the recent movies on Winston Churchill it’s refreshing to see someone focus instead on his overlooked predecessor, Neville Chamberlain, and his significant role in the lead-up to World War 2. In Munich, Robert Harris takes us back to 1938, the year before the war started, and the crisis in Czechoslovakia: Hitler wants to unite the German-speaking peoples in the Czech Sudetenland to the Fatherland, and will use force if he has to. Should he invade, France will be bound, by treaty, into fight ...more
Darwin8u
"Yet still he could not act. And if he couldn't do it, who would? In that moment, in a flash of clarity, he saw that nobody--not him, not the Army, not a lone assassin--that no German would disrupt their common destiny until it was fulfilled."
- Robert Harris, Munich

description

I'm a fan of Robert Harris. He writes smart historical ficiton (sometimes, as was the case with, Fatherland alternative-historical fiction). His areas of interest primarily revolve around Nazi Germany and the Roman Empire. I've read several of his books. His prose is never quite at
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James
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
‘Munich’ is the latest thriller from the accomplished Robert Harris and is familiar territory for him – set in 1938 pre-war London and Munich. Harris’ latest novel tells the story of Anglo-German relations and negotiations culminating in the Munich agreement signed in the September of that year, with the aim of averting approaching hostilities.

Whilst initially somewhat of a slow-burner, Harris soon draws the reader in and cranks up the tension. This fictionalised version of events is
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Toni Osborne
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This novel is set over four days during the September 1938 Munich Conference where an agreement was signed between Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain and Daladier to settle the fate of Czechoslovakia.

“Munich” is a tantalising game of “what if” and a glimpse on how things might have turned out. The story is told through the eyes of two men who were friends at Oxford but are now in opposite camps. The main players are Hugh Legat, private secretary to Chamberlain and Paul Hartmann, a diplomat in the
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Maciek
Robert Harris's new historical novel Munich takes him back to the subject which brought him to fame over 25 years earlier - Nazi Germany, in which he set his bestselling debut Fatherland. However, whereas Fatherland was an entertaining thriller set in an alternative world where the Axis powers won the war, Munich is set before the war even happens - and is far less thrilling and engaging.

In a recent interview the author describes his fascination with the subject of the book, the infamous Munich Agreement of 1938, where the representati
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Faith
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, publisher
This book is a fictionalized account of the four-day period in 1938 during which Germany, England, Italy and France negotiated the Munich Agreement in an attempt to prevent World War II by allocating some territories in Czechoslovakia to Germany. It also involved the Oster Conspiracy comprised of a collection of German military leaders and diplomats who planned to remove Hitler from power. The signing of the Munich Agreement thwarted the plans of the conspirators. Since this is based on history, ...more
Roger Brunyate
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
 
Rehabilitation

On the third page of Robert Harris' novel, a woman tells her husband she has been having the children fitted for gas masks. The year was 1938, Germany was poised to invade Czechoslovakia, and it looked as though Britain would be at war at any moment. I remember those masks, made to look like Donald Duck to be less frightening. War broke out only a year later, and I grew up in it. And came to absorb the common notion that Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister at the time, was weak in appeasing Hi 
On
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Clif Hostetler
Feb 02, 2018 rated it liked it
This historical novel develops the behind-the-scenes drama leading to the 1938 Munich Agreement signed by Germany, France, United Kingdom and Italy which permitted Nazi Germany's annexation of portions of Czechoslovakia (a.k.a. Sudetenland). Many people today consider the famous reference to "peace for our time" by British prime minister Neville Chamberlain following the agreement as a shameful mistake with historic consequences.

This book provides some very understandable insight into Chamberlain's moti
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Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
3.5 stars

“If I were convinced that any nation had made up its mind to dominate the world by fear of its force, I should feel that it must be resisted. Under such a domination, life for people who believe in liberty would not be worth living. But war is a fearful thing, and we must be very clear, before we embark on it, that it is really the great issues that are at stake, and that the call to risk everything in their defense, when all the consequences are weighed, is irresistible.”
― Robert Harris

Se/>“If
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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Munich is a book that I read quickly, probably because the book was not that thick, but I have to admit that I was also totally captivated by the story set during four days in September 1938. Robert Harris is a writer who has the ability to write books, whether it's historical or more modern, that captivate and Munich is definitely no exception. Something I thought while reading the book was how little I really knew about the Munich agreement or, probably more accurately, I remembered, and I was ...more
Bill Lynas
The ability to seamlessly blend fact & fiction is a skill that Robert Harris has shown in many of his previous novels, & I'm pleased to say that Munich is no exception.
The events of the 1938 Munich meeting between Hitler & Chamberlain are given added tension (because we already know the outcome) by inserting fictional characters into a real historical situation. This may not be a classic novel like Fatherland or Imperium, but Harris still springs enough surprises to keep the re
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Susan
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This thriller is set around the Munich Conference of 1938. Although events are, themselves, fascinating, Harris introduces two fictional characters into his novel. There is Hugh Legat, one of Chamberlain’s private secretaries and Paul von Hartmann, a German diplomat and a member of an anti-Hitler resistance movement. The two men knew each other at Oxford, but haven’t been in touch for six years. However, when Chamberlain is due to arrive in Munich to meet Hitler, Hartmann decides to utilise his ...more
Susu
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Such a long wait for a book that I read in 24 hours! Such is the life of a reader :)
This isn’t my favorite book by Harris, but it is well worth the read, especially after viewing the recent movie, The Darkest Hour. Both take place over the span of a few days. Both bring to life the political and personal struggles that take place behind the scenes of England’s leadership prior to and at the precipice of war.

In Munich, Chamberlain becomes a hero even among the German people for
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Joanne Preisser
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Historical "thriller"? Yeah, not so much. This book was hella boring. I love WWII era historical fiction but this book didn't do it for me. Lots of names of government officials, lots of meetings, lots of drafting letters, etc etc but really not much action or intrigue. It it told from the point of view of two characters, one English and one German, who are lower-level officials who are on the outskirts and thus are outside the room most of the time when something significant is being done or sa ...more
Leah
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peace for our time...

It's September, 1938. Hitler has delivered an ultimatum – the Czechs must withdraw from the disputed Sudetenland and cede it to Germany, or Germany will forcibly annexe it. Britain is torn – if Germany carries out its threat, there will inevitably be Europe-wide war, a war for which the British armed forces are woefully under-prepared. The British PM, Neville Chamberlain, must find a way to maintain the fragile peace, even at the expense of appeasing a regime that is alrea
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Steven Z.
Jan 30, 2018 rated it liked it
For those who are familiar with the works of Robert Harris they are aware of how the author develops fictional characters that are integrated into important historical events. He has the knack of developing individuals like Xavier March in FATHERLAND, George Piquart in AN OFFICER AND A SPY, Tom Jericho in ENIGMA, and Fluke Kelso in ARCHANGEL in presenting accurate scenarios that make one feel that these characters are real. Harris is a master of historical fiction, but his new characters Hugh Le ...more
Nigeyb
Sep 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Munich (2017) focusses on the discussions between France, Britain, Germany and Italy about the Sudetenland Crisis of 1938. Sudetenland being the historical German name for the northern, southern, and western areas of former Czechoslovakia which were inhabited primarily by Sudeten Germans and which Hitler wanted to reclaim, by force if necessary.

I got the impression that Robert Harris believes Neville Chamberlain has been unfairly remembered by history and here he gets a largely positive portrayal. Britain's unprepared
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Kate
Truly brilliant. A contender for book of the year.

Mal Warwick
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: trade-fiction
Mention Neville Chamberlain and Munich in the same breath today, and you're likely to elicit a grimace. The agreement in 1938 between the British Prime Minister and Adolf Hitler to dismember Czechoslovakia is regarded as one of the most shameful and tragic events of the 20th century. But is it fair to condemn Chamberlain without understanding his motivation or the context of the times? The British thriller author Robert Harris has been exploring that question for thirty years. The result is his ...more
Gram
Sep 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a nutshell, this is a revisionist history of the 1938 Munich Agreement masquerading as a World War II thriller.

The action covers four days at the end of September 1938, when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew to Germany to meet Adolf Hitler and the Prime Ministers of France and Italy - Édouard Daladier and Benito Mussolini. Their aim was to settle the question of Nazi Germany's annexation of portions of Czechoslovakia along its' borders which were mainly inhabited by German spea
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Jeanette
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read. 4.5 stars. Harris grasps the dichotomies to edges of loyalties here perfectly. His writing style to approach the underpinnings of crux events in historical fiction is presently the top tier. His people are known, real humans in conversations within word craft never blocking insights to those convictions, moods or "eyes" notice. This encompasses Neville Chamberlain, his worldview perceptions, better than some studied non-fiction I've read which includes much opinionated guessing. ...more
Andy
Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite Robert Harris: the concept is very interesting but the story isn't thrilling. Nevertheless 4* because it's quite readable and the topic is so timely and important. I like the idea of revisiting Munich with some historical context. Chamberlain and Daladier are not the bad guys in the WWII story. HITLER IS THE BAD GUY. NAZIS ARE BAD!!! (I stress the obvious because this is a point of confusion in some quarters.)

Munich routinely gets trotted out with the moral that we (the U.S.) ne
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Elizabeth (Alaska)
I appreciated the time spent with this, but I think it pales in comparison to his An Officer and a Spy. It may be only that that story was fresh to me and I had insufficient prior knowledge to be certain of the outcome. In Munich, we know what happens and so any tension was non-existent.

Of course this is not a work of nonfiction, but I think Robert Harris writes his fiction as close to the historical truth as an author can manage. He doesn't have to imagine that Hitler despised Chamberlain, for instance.
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Jean
I have always enjoyed books by Robert Harris. I particularly enjoyed reading his Imperium Trilogy about Cicero. Harris is a master of historical novels.

Munich is the German City where British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with Adolf Hitler in September 1938 in a desperate attempt to preserve peace in Europe. This meeting is the focal point of this book. The meeting was to discuss Hitler’s demands that the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia be handed over to Germany. Harris
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Jill Meyer
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
I've been a Robert Harris fan since "Fatherland" and "Enigma", though I was very disappointed in his latest book, "Conclave". I gave it two stars, I think, writing that it was almost cartoon-like in its paper-thin characters and non-sensical plot. I was hoping the just published book, "Munich" would be better. Unfortunately, it isn't.

There are two ways of writing history; non-fiction straight history and historical fiction. With historical fiction, the author takes a real event or pe
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ROBERT HARRIS is the author of nine best-selling novels: Fatherland, Enigma, Archangel, Pompeii, Imperium, The Ghost Writer, Conspirata, The Fear Index, and An Officer and a Spy. Several of his books have been adapted to film, most recently The Ghost Writer, directed by Roman Polanski. His work has been translated into thirty-seven languages. He lives in the village of Kintbury, England, with his ...more
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“And people would believe it, thought Hartmann, because people believed what they wanted to believe – that was Goebbels’s great insight. They no longer had any need to bother themselves with inconvenient truths. He had given them an excuse not to think.” 7 likes
“This is what I have learned these past six years, as opposed to what is taught in Oxford: the power of unreason. Everyone said—by everyone I mean people like me—we all said, ‘Oh, he’s a terrible fellow, Hitler, but he’s not necessarily all bad. Look at his achievements. Put aside this awful medieval anti-Jew stuff: it will pass.’ But the point is, it won’t pass. You can’t isolate it from the rest. It’s there in the mix. And if the anti-Semitism is evil, it’s all evil. Because if they’re capable of that, they’re capable of anything.” 6 likes
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