Over the next few weeks, we're going to be featuring one interview per day with the authors of the books nominated for this year's Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award for the year's best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs. The award is sponsored by the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto in cooperation with Foreign Policy. The interviews are conducted by Rob Steiner, former Wall Street Journal correspondent and director of fellowships in international journalism at the Munk School.
Today's authors are Sonke Neitzel and Harald Welzer. Here's the jury's citation for Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing and Dying:
Soldaten, in translation from the German by Sonke Neitzel and Harald Welzer, provides a compelling window into the views and psychology primarily of German prisoners of war held in American and British camps during the Second World War. Taken from secretly recorded transcripts of conversations among POWs, the book offers verbatim evidence of the horrors of combat and genocide, casually described soldier to soldier in yet more evidence for the banality of evil. The transcripts also provide insight into the culture of war itself, and the relationship of German soldiers to the Nazi leadership and regime. A memorable, disturbing chronicle.