The Ghost of Munich, By Georges-Marc Benamou

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The Independent Culture

"In Munich I had obtained a temporary reprieve, but the execution would still take place." This documentary novel, from a former adviser to Mitterrand with an insider's grasp of behind-the-scenes intrigue, revisits the Munich summit of 1938 through the eyes of French president Daladier, as much Hitler's fall-guy as Neville Chamberlain.

As he looks back in anguish, with Sir Neville in the role of joint patsy to serve the Führer's ambitions, Daladier unveils the self-deceptions that allowed the Nazi tanks to roll.

That we know the dreadful outcome never diminishes the fateful ironies of Benamou's elegy for a dying world. Shaun Whiteside's translation captures all the polished cluelessness of Europe's doomed elites.