ORIGINAL TITLE: November
NUMBER OF PAGES: 600
AUTHOR: Peter Englund
ORIGINAL PUBLISHER: Natur & Kultur
GENRE: Current Books, Non-fiction
November (working title) should be seen as a companion piece to Englund’s international bestseller The Beauty and the Sorrow. Whereas The Beauty and the Sorrow sought to capture the entire First World War from beginning to end, November describes what happened during a single month, namely November 1942.
At the beginning of November 1942, it looked as if the Axis powers still could win; at the end of that month, everyone realized that it was just a matter of time before they would lose. In between was El Alamein, Guadalcanal, the French North Africa landings, the Japanese retreat from the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea, and of course the Soviet encirclement of the German Army at Stalingrad. Only one month, but perhaps the most important one in the entire twentieth century, when everything still hung in the balance.
Once again, Englund’s primary interest isn’t in giving us another top-down military history of the war, but in understanding it as a profoundly human experience.
The characters are of the most diverse types, and not only soldiers. In addition to, e.g., a Soviet infantryman at Stalingrad, an American pilot on Guadalcanal, an Italian truck driver in the North African desert, a partisan in the Belarusian forests, and a machine gunner in a British Lancaster bomber, there is also a 12-year-old girl in Shanghai, a freshman university student in Paris, a housewife on Long Island, a shipwrecked Chinese sailor, a prisoner in Treblinka, and a Korean sex slave at a Japanese “comfort station” in Mandalay.
November is entirely based on diaries, letters, and memoirs from people who were there. An incredible material that comes to life in a deeply touching and wonderfully enlightening way by Peter Englund’s pen.
Danish Rights sold to Gyldendal
Dutch Rights sold to Het Spectrum
Finnish Rights sold to WSOY
German Rights sold to Rowohlt
Norwegian Rights sold to Cappelen Damm
Spanish Rights sold to Penguin Random House
UK Rights sold to The Bodley Head
US Rights sold to Knopf