Munich by Robert Harris


Robert Harris

Robert Harris gives us actual events of historical importance--here are Hitler, Chamberlain, Mussolini, Daladier--at the heart of an electrifying, unputdownable novel.

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From the internationally best-selling author of Fatherland and the Cicero Trilogy--a new spy thriller about treason and conscience, loyalty and betrayal, set against the backdrop of the fateful Munich Conference of September 1938.

Hugh Legat is a rising star of the British diplomatic service, serving at 10 Downing Street as a private secretary to the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. Paul von Hartmann is on the staff of the German Foreign Office--and secretly a member of the anti-Hitler resistance. The two men were friends at Oxford in the 1920s, but have not been in contact since. Now, when Hugh flies with Chamberlain from London to Munich, and Hartmann travels on Hitler's train overnight from Berlin, their paths are set on a disastrous collision course. And once again, Robert Harris gives us actual events of historical importance--here are Hitler, Chamberlain, Mussolini, Daladier--at the heart of an electrifying, unputdownable novel.

Advance Galley Reviews

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review. To be honest, this book was not what I expected it to be. The plot was slow moving, the characters were irritatingly boring, and it just couldn’t hold my attention for long periods of time. I thought that I’d love it because it’s a historical novel and I always loved history class. I also am completely fascinated (in a repulsed, disgusted way) with the psychology of how someone could ever become so completely evil in their quest for glory that they could do the things Hitler did and I (with maybe my own personal level of evil) was looking forward to his ultimate demise when I chose this book. What I did like is Harris’s obvious extensive research and time and effort put into this work. Unfortunately, the overwhelming “gray day” feeling of the setting just took over and destroyed my hopes. Because of Harris’s obvious time and effort, I do feel the need to give it 3 stars.

A interesting book with some boring moments. I liked it a bit more than I expected I would. It was definitely an interesting read.

Loved the development in this story. It kept building on itself. Characters were well written and authentic. Loved the history included. I learned a lot reading this book. I really enjoy fiction that teaches you something real. This book did that. Great. I would recommend it.

Munich A novel by Robert Harris On 27 September 1938, the world held its breath. The previous day Adolf Hitler had demanded that Czechoslovakia cede the "Sudetenland" to Germany, and had made it plain that he was prepared to take it by force. If the Czechs were attacked, France was pledged to support them, and Great Britain would move to aid the French. Another war, despite the fact that no one, not even the British, or the French, denied that Hitler’s Reich had a justifiable claim to the area, inhabited by ethnic Germans as it was. Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Great Britain, was well aware that British military forces were not ready for war. Frantic to preserve the peace, he arranged a conference between Hitler, the French President, Daladier, Mussolini and himself, in a last-ditch effort to stop another world war before it started. “Munich” is the story of that momentous event. This bit of history is all but forgotten today; how Chamberlain and a sane few tried to turn Adolf Hitler away from war. Told from alternating points view; that of Hugh Legat, a private secretary on Chamberlain’s staff, and Paul von Hartmann, a Legationsekretar working as a translator in Ribbentrop’s Foreign Ministry. It spiced with intrigue, shrouded in suspense and carved into existence with author Harris’s smooth, spare and insightful prose. For history buffs, like myself, “Munich" is a treat. I highly recommend it to readers of Historical Fiction. I received a digital copy of this novel from Penguin Random House and in exchange for this review.

This book was interesting, it was good, just not what I was expecting. My bad for not reading the description more fully. I thought it was going to be more fictional then it was and dive more into the human side of what happened. The pacing lagged while the historical details were outlined which made some of it dull when I wasn't in the mood for a history lesson. The fictional characters were flat while the "real" characters had more substance which was unfortunate. Overall though, if you are a WW2 buff this was an interesting read.

This is a fascinating book detailing the few days prior to the signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938. It follows two men; Hugh Legat, an English civil servant with a promising career as Chamberlain's private secretary and Paul Hartmann, A German party member who serves as a translator. These two men were friends during their days together at Oxford and we view the proceedings from their point of view in alternate chapters. As you would expect from Harris, the historical detail is great and he has managed to capture the mood of both the German and English people really well. There are occasions where I thought the pacing lagged a little and some of the characters are a little bit one-dimensional, but overall I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in WW2. I received a free copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Exciting back story of the Munich Agreement. Enjoy WW2 historical fiction. Was not able to do a lot of research while reading, so don’t know where liberties were taken. All in all, an excellent read.

Robert Harris’ novel Munich is a fascinating thriller that reshapes the negotiations of the Munich Agreement of 1938. Neville Chamberlain, Britain’s Prime Minister, undertakes one last attempt to prevent Hitler from invading Czechoslavakia. However, unknown to Chamberlain, a plan is implemented by Hugh Legat, one of the Prime Minister’s secretaries, and Paul Hartmann, a German diplomat and Hugh’s old friend from Oxford; to not only prevent the signing of the agreement, but to forewarn the British and French governments of Hitler’s true intentions for Europe. Besides being well –researched and detailed, the novel is well-written. The tension, desperation, and despair are discernible. Once again Harris has written an engrossing and satisfying novel.

Munich is a novel covering a tense five-day period in 1938. Hitler is wanting to forcefully annex the Sudetenland, a Czechoslovakian province populated by Germans. The story is told from the perspective of two government officials, one on each side. Hugh Legat is a rising star in the British Foreign Ministry and works directly for the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain. Paul von Hartmann is a German official who works in German Foreign Office. Both attended Oxford together six years earlier and now watch the officials they work for struggle to come to an acceptable agreement over the transfer of the land while avoiding war. However, Hartmann knows that war is unavoidable thanks to his work in the German resistance. He pulls strings to ensure both he and his old friend are assigned to the Munich Conference so that he can pass along important information. What will happen to these two? Harris maintained a great deal of suspense throughout Munich. This must have been hard to achieve since the outcome is known to history. However, otherwise the story is more novelized history than having a true plot. Yes, two characters were introduced to show the actions of the major players and they have a shared background and these characters and their subplot were really the only reason this was a fictional account. That said, Harris worked Legat and Hartmann into the overall story quite realistically and that is what led to the aforementioned suspense. As a whole, readers will learn a great deal about the Munich Conference and the Appeasement thanks to the amount of information included and supported by a vast list of primary and secondary sources. Compared to Harris’ other works, this is better than Enigma (which I had high hopes for) and Pompeii (which was mediocre). It is nearly, but now quite as good as, An Officer and a Spy (about the Alfred Dreyfus trial).

I thoroughly enjoyed Robert Harris's novel "Munich". I enjoyed the intrigue and the historical references. I enjoyed meeting and reading about the actions of real life persons and invented characters and how their actions worked against Hitler and towards preventing a world war and all its atrocities. I wonder, however, how much literary liberty was taken with some of the characters and events and how much was historically accurate. Nevertheless, "Munich" was a fast paced, engaging thriller that kept me turning the pages, even though I already knew how it would end.

Robert Harris writes historical fiction with both fictional and nonfictional characters like few others. With this book, Harris returns to the WWII era that made him internationally known due to the fantastic Fatherland, but this time, we are only on the brink of war, and our two protagonists are British and German, respectively, and former friends from college, now finding themselves on opposite sides of the peace negotiations in Munich to prevent the war. The story shows a lot of promise along the way and builds up to something truly awesome, but somewhere in the last half of the book, it loses steam and ends up just being good. I guess that is the downside of having to fit one's story into historical realities rather than alternative historical developments. Summing up, I was really entertained by this book, which is a fast read, but I had expected more and ended up a little shorthanded at the end.

This novel was very interesting. I enjoy learning about the events surrounding WWII even if it blends fiction with the historical facts. Well written and totally immersive. I had a really hard time putting it down. Very good read and will recommend it to any reader with a fascination of historical events.

The Munich Agreement was supposed to have prevented WWII, but as we all know Hitler did what he wanted to do in the end anyway. Harris brings the preceding days before Munich all the way up until Chamberlain's return to London alive through this fictionalized account of what happened during those few harrowing days. We are shown all of this mainly through the eyes of Hugh Legat, a secretary at 10 Downing St. and a German/English translator, who is a Nazis though doesn't want to be, Hartmann. I love history particularly anything in regards to WWII, but I found this book to just be okay. I enjoyed it and I was entertained, but it didn't ring any bells of greatness for me at least.

The time is September 1938. Neville Chamberlain is British Prime Minister. Adolf Hitler is threatening to invade Czechoslovakia. The horrendous events of World War I are still vivid memories to the people in Great Britain. Chamberlain has assumed a strategy of appeasement in relations with Hitler hoping to avoid being drawn into another world war. Robert Harris takes the reader to Munich as the British delegation meet with the Germans. The tension is palpable as two former Oxford classmates, one English and one German, defy their leaders in an attempt to put a halt to Hitler's plan to take over Europe. "It's beyond reason, it's not rational." What I found most interesting was that from today's perspective, Chamberlain was an idealist and totally unrealistic in his dealings with Hitler. But this novel takes us back in time to when the masses celebrated the Munich Agreement and what they believed was going to be a lasting peace in Europe. Similar in style and atmosphere to the war novels of Alan Furst, Harris has an amazing ability to draw the reader into the past.

Excellent book. I am addicted to historical fiction related to World War II. This book fed my addiction.

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, we know from the start that nothing kept Hitler from starting the war, but the author still managed to build tension and maintain suspense. The book was also very entertaining and piqued my interest in this pre-war period, about which I was ignorant. The historical events are seen from the points of view of two fictional characters, young diplomats (and former schoolmates). Hugh Legat was a low level English diplomat and interpreter who worked at Number 10 Downing Street. He watched as Chamberlain desperately tried to come up with a way to prevent a war for which England was unprepared. The trip to Munich was a last ditch effort to keep Hitler from attacking Czechoslovakia. Paul von Hartmann was a German diplomat who handled correspondence for German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop. He was also one of the conspirators. I've read other books by this author and I almost always like them. This one was one of my favorites. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

I really enjoyed this book. I find World War II history fascinating, and it was really interesting to learn about this conference. I'm not as familiar with the precursors to the war, so I really liked that this book was based on the real events of the Munich Conference. The fictional elements of the story were very believable and I felt that they blended seamlessly with the real history. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys WWII history or just a good thriller.

Really enjoyed the book. It was nice to read about Chamberlain for me since before this I have only read things dealing with later things. The writing was excellent and the story was top notch.

Excellent story. Couldn't put it down. I loved it.


More to Explore

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  • An Officer and a Spy
  • Pompeii
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