Carole Angier

The Language of Destruction

The End: Hamburg 1943

By

University of Chicago Press 112pp £14 order from our bookshop

In 1997 W G Sebald gave a series of lectures in which he deplored the inadequate response of German literature to German sufferings in the Second World War. He concentrated on the bombing of cities by the RAF, in which over half a million Germans died, and seven and a half million were left homeless. This was not the only untold story, but it was the most apocalyptic: an inferno of firestorms that left hundreds of thousands of shrivelled, charcoaled corpses, and whole cities turned into moonscapes overnight. To imagine this we must multiply 9/11 from one morning to five years, from two towers to 131 towns and cities, and from 3,000 to 600,000 dead.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,