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The Collaborators

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The Collaborators by Ian Buruma
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Mar 07, 2023 | ISBN 9780593671146 | 642 Minutes

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  • Mar 07, 2023 | ISBN 9780593296646

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Praise

“Ian Buruma’s new book is a gripping dissection of wartime lies. But it is also something more. Rather than indict his subjects, Buruma, a historian of novelistic temperament and imagination, seeks to navigate the grey zone they inhabited, and to explore what their behavior (and self-rationalizations) might tell us about ordinary men and women living, as we increasingly do, in a world of alternative facts. Imagine Better Call Saul set in a country occupied by the Axis powers, and you will have an idea how this fascinating book reads.” —Adam Shatz, US editor, London Review of Books

The Collaborators is at once fascinating and frightening, an apposite tract for our increasingly mendacious, treacherous times. The accounts Ian Buruma gives of the lives and dark doings of three egregious collaborators starkly illustrate our depthless capacity for betrayal and subsequent self-justification; they are also fascinating life studies. It would be shocking to be entertained by such a book, but I was.” —John Banville, author of The Singularities

“With impressive skill and meticulous research, Buruma has woven three very different wartime characters into a fascinating tale of alternative realities, riven by mythomania, perfidy and collusion.” —Caroline Moorehead, author of Mussolini’s Daughter: The Most Dangerous Woman in Europe

“At a time when manifold forms of authoritarianism are on the rise, this book could not be more welcome and necessary. By masterfully exploring the complicity, guilt and ambivalence pervading three parallel lives in imperial Japan, Nazi Germany and occupied Holland, Buruma conjures up and richly evokes a thick web of history, allowing contemporary readers to understand how easy it is to condone systematic violence and untold suffering in the name of misguided ideals.” —Ariel Dorfman

“In The Collaborators, Ian Buruma brings his rare combination of attributes—intelligence, discipline, a commitment to truth (but wariness of certitude), modesty, wisdom, and wit—to revisit the celebrated and clouded sagas of three notorious World War II scoundrels. Their range taps into yet another of Buruma’s gifts: his fluency in the cultures and histories of two continents. Telling their tales, disassembling their dissembling, he catalogues the very different set of traits that helped the three survive and even, thanks both to their own lies and the connivance of chroniclers lacking everything Buruma exemplifies, find a measure of rehabilitation they did not deserve.” —David Margolick

“Compulsively readable as always, Buruma has taken a riveting subject—collaboration—and delved deep into it, probing concepts of national identity, self-reinvention, loyalty and treason. The Collaborators offers a radical reconsideration of episodes from recent history, while often being unexpectedly entertaining.” —Simon Callow

“Buruma sifts through his subjects’ complex, multinational backgrounds in fluid prose and brings a welcome measure of sympathy to their lives without minimizing the repercussions of their actions. It’s a captivating portrait of what happens when survival turns into self-deception.”Publishers Weekly

“Meticulously, relentlessly, Buruma dissects these collaborators’ contradictory and self-serving accounts and cross-references with other sources to get closer to the truth. A powerful exploration of complicity, ambivalence, and the human capacity for deception and self-rationalization.”Library Journal

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