The Book Thieves
Anders Rydell (b. 1982) is an established journalist, editor and author of nonfiction. As the Head of Culture at a major Swedish media group, Rydell directs the coverage of arts and culture in 14 national newspapers. In his authorial career he has published several books, thereamong the acclaimed nonfiction works The Looters and The Book Thieves. The novels constitute two thirds of a planned trilogy on the theme of cultural plunder during World War II, but can also be read as stand-alone works.
Anders Rydell’s The Book Thieves has been shortlisted for the 2017 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction. The work earned a Starred Review by the American magazine, signifying that it is a “Book of Exceptional Merit.” In their review, Kirkus praises The Book Thieves as “An engrossing, haunting journey for bibliophiles and World War II historians.”
Anders Rydell’s The Book Thieves is the gripping examination of how the Nazis plundered thousands of private libraries on their march across Europe, effectively erasing the emotional and cultural heritage of an entire people. It is also the chilling story of how these books were turned on their former owners, and used by the Nazis to justify the planned genocide of Europe’s Jewish population.
The night of 10 May 1933, the squares and streets of Germany are illuminated by the flames of innumerable bonfires. At Berlin’s Opernplatz 40,000 people have gathered to listen to the Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels. In front of his audience he declares the end of the Weimar Republic’s decadent cultural lifestyle. Books by Marx, Mann, Brecht and Hemingway all fall victim to the flames.
In the shadows of the book burnings lies another, less known story – the story of how the Nazis plundered thousands of libraries on their march across Europe. The Book Thieves is Anders Rydell’s gripping examination of this methodical looting and its tragic consequence: the erasure of an entire people’s emotional and cultural heritage.