Saturday, July 11, 2009


I have to say that it seemed bizarre to have bought The Kings Depart, a book that tells the story of Germany between the Armistice in November 1918 and the signing of the Versailles Treaty in June 1919, from a bookshop in a typical idyllic "Miss Marple" English village.
There is an article by Nathaniel Rich here that tells how Scandinavians "the most peaceful people in the world" write great crime fiction, so maybe it was the peaceful atmosphere and the beauty of Alfriston Clergy House that made me buy this tale of terrible failure.
We have seen in recent years that wars don't end smoothly or when the victor declares "mission accomplished" and this was true of the Great War.

Within weeks of the departure of the Freikorps, Munich swarmed with spies and informers. The Bavarian Army was then in the process of reconstitution into brigades of the German Reichswehr. Bavaria became District VII of the Provisional Reichswehr.
Its commander was General Franz Ritter von Epp.
[The Kings Depart: Richard M.Watt]

On his staff were two officers named Rudolph Hess and Ernst Rohm.

At least now every time I dip into this book I will have an image of beauty of Alfriston in my mind to counteract the bleak story.


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