Publication Date: 07/04/2022 ISBN: 9780750997393 Category:

My Grandfather’s Knife

Dr Joseph Pearson

Publisher: The History Press Ltd
Publication Date: 07/04/2022 ISBN: 9780750997393 Category:




A knife adorned with a swastika and an eagle’s head … As a young boy, Joseph Pearson was terrified of the weapon hanging from a hook in his grandfather’s basement, a trophy seized from the enemy in battle.

When he later inherited the knife, he unlocked a story far more unsettling than he could ever have imagined. By then a writer and cultural historian living in Berlin, Joseph found himself drawn to other objects from the Nazi era: a pocket diary, a recipe book, a double bass and a cotton pouch. Although the past remains a painful subject in Germany, he embarked on a journey to illuminate their stories before they disappeared from living memory.

A historical detective story and an enthralling account of one historian’s search for answers, My Grandfather’s Knife is at once a poignant meditation on memory and a unique addition to our understanding of Nazi Germany.

Publisher Review

Extraordinary ... History at its most sensitive and evocative. Pearson's astonishing detective work has uncovered stories so poignant and original that they cannot fail to leave an indelible mark. A remarkable book that takes us to the very core of human experience -- Julia Boyd, author of Travellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism Through the Eyes of Everyday People Joseph Pearson has found an exceptional approach to narrate a time that has become increasingly difficult to write about. By looking at objects that shaped the Second World War, My Grandfather's Knife uses an original, unideological angle to approach historical truth. Literary non-fiction at its best -- Norman Ohler, author of Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany My Grandfather's Knife is that important and genuinely insightful work that comes along all too infrequently. Through his deft employment of artefacts as touchstones of history, Pearson links the past with the present in a most emotive and tactile fashion, which sweeps the reader down a harrowing yet sentimental path of war, history and fickleness of human memory -- David O'Keefe, author of One Day in August: Ian Fleming, Enigma and the Deadly Raid on Dieppe I hugely enjoyed My Grandfather's Knife, which is both sophisticated and accessible, an engrossing and moving story of global entanglements which still resonate today. Pearson strips back each layer of the past with the forensic skill of the detective. He also writes extremely well -- Brendan Simms, author of Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy Joseph Pearson invites us to ponder what rich hidden stories can be gleaned from seemingly ordinary inanimate objects and how this can help us better understand the complexities of history, particularly that of the Second World War ... My Grandfather's Knife makes a powerful case for those who wish to study the Second World War to become 'material historians', too, and use objects as hooks to uncover hidden strands of this vast and overwhelmingly complex part of 20th-century history ... Its original approach makes My Grandfather's Knife an intriguing addition to the vast field of literature on the Second World War -- Katja Hoyer, Engelsberg Ideas

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