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Europe Central by William T. Vollmann
Europe Central is a novel told as a series of stories, all of them surrounding Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The stories are told chronologically from pre-war maneuvers to Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union to Cold War Berlin. Some of the characters are fictional, some historic, and a few recur in several stories including the Russian composer, Dmitri Shostakovich. William T. Vollmann examines men and women facing the tyranny of totalitarianism, the compromises they're forced to make, and the unfinished or unfulfilled lives left behind. Europe Central is an exploration of history on the human scale, often with those caught between the struggle between good and evil forced to make unpalatable choices. Europe Central has received positive reviews with the Washington Post saying, "I've reviewed nearly all of Vollmann's books over the years and am running out of superlatives; suffice it to say, if you've been following his extraordinary career, Europe Central may be his best novel yet."
Winner of the 2005 National Book Award for Fiction