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The Kindly Ones

The Kindly Ones Cover

The Kindly Ones

By Jonathan Littell

Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061353468, 983pp.

Publication Date: February 2, 2010


Named one of the "100 Best Books of the Decade" by The Times of London

"Oh my human brothers, let me tell you how it happened."

A former Nazi officer, Dr. Maximilien Aue has reinvented himself, many years after the war, as a middle-class family man and factory owner in France. An intellectual steeped in philosophy, literature, and classical music, he is also a cold-blooded assassin and the consummate bureaucrat. Through the eyes of this cultivated yet monstrous man we experience in disturbingly precise detail the horrors of the Second World War and the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Eichmann, Himmler, Goring, Speer, Heydrich, Hoss even Hitler himself play a role in Max's story. An intense and hallucinatory historical epic, The Kindly Ones is also a morally challenging read. It holds a mirror up to humanity and the reader cannot look away.

Praise For The Kindly Ones

“The force and clarity with which Littell renders the physical realities of war and mass murder are simply astounding. . . . The Kindly Ones is unmistakably the work of a profoundly gifted writer.”
-Time magazine

“An alternately fascinating and impressively researched novel. . . . Its feverish voice is weirdly mesmerizing, the scope awesome.”
-Newark Star Ledger

“A world-class masterpiece of astonishing brutality, originality, and force.”
-The Daily Beast

“A great work of literary fiction, to which readers and scholars will turn for decades to come.”
-Antony Beevor, The Times (London)

“The meticulously realistic main plot of The Kindly Ones is brilliantly organized and written…”

“Unquestionably brilliant…Littell is a gifted writer and what he achieves…is unparalleled…The novel [is] scrupulous in its period details and…generous in its scope”
-The Nation

“An extraordinarily powerful novel…. Above all, it is a sophisticated exploration of issues of morality, evil and luck… The novel as a whole brilliantly shows how ‘ordinary men’ become killers.”
-The Observer (London)