A stunning cultural history of post-war occupied Germany from the critically acclaimed author of The Love-charm of Bombs
Dr Lara Feigel is a Senior Lecturer in English at King's College London, where her research is centred on the 1930s and the Second World War. She is the author of Literature, Cinema and Politics, 1930-1945 and the editor (with Alexandra Harris) of Modernism on Sea: Art and Culture at the British Seaside and (with John Sutherland) of the New Selected Journals of Stephen Spender. She has also written journalistic pieces for various publications, including the Guardian, Prospect and History Today. Her most recent book, The Love-charm of Bombs, was published to critical acclaim in 2013. Lara lives in West Hampstead, London.
The Bitter Taste of Victory is more than a group biography. Threaded throughout is the role of culture in a nation's psyche ... Urgent, absorbing, and quietly devastating, The Bitter Taste of Victory is a superb achievement. Few books catch so well the strange energy of the war's immediate aftermath, the half-crazed adrenalin and slow-burning despair -- Frances Wilson * Daily Telegraph * Feigel entwines politics and passion, the wide screen of history and the close-up of desire among the ruins ... Always illuminating and richly textured -- Boyd Tonkin * Independent * In this panoramic book, which manages to blend a grand historical sweep with fascinating personal detail, Lara Feigel succeeds brilliantly in capturing life in post-war Germany, as filtered through the eyes of British and American intellectuals ... Feigel does a brilliant job of shining a spotlight on this complicated moral universe. Without pause or stumble she takes us from champagne receptions to bombed-out factories. Along the way we meet a fascinating cast of characters, all attempting to make sense of a unique historical moment, one where the distinction between good and evil is no longer clear for all to see -- Kathryn Hughes * Mail on Sunday * Stealing up from the mound of corpses and fallen masonry come glamour, famous names and an account of the collapse of the most famous literary relationships of the mid-twentieth century, the marriage between Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn ... She [Lara Feigel] is excellent on the constant attempts to domesticate the evil that welled up on all sides ... the long-term cultural consequences of 1939-1945 are still being worked out, but this is a fascinating account of the early field work that kicked them into gear -- D. J. Taylor * The Times * Well researched and beautifully written -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times * An ambitious book, ranging across a sea of events and characters and filled with enjoyable details -- Caroline Moorehead * Literary Review * Feigel has an affinity with rubble... a scholarly and engrossing book -- Robert McCrum * Observer * A brilliant depiction of the Allies' encounter with the broken soul of Germany -- Juliet Gardiner Lara Feigel's absorbing book relives the era in all its uncertainty, and delves into the irreconcilable differences and contradictions that would come to thwart the project ... She makes a sympathetic narrator, and has certainly unearthed some fascinating material -- Anthony Quinn * Guardian * Innovative, entertaining and worthwhile * Daily Express * Inimitable ... In part, it is a story of personal reconstruction, particularly of the Mann family members, but in another sense it is a story of failure, of missed opportunity ... A masterful job ... This is uniquely nuanced history * Booklist * Compelling * RTE * A fascinating story, brilliantly told -- Simon Shaw * Mail on Sunday *