BOOKS COVID RECOMMENDATIONS EMAIL No. 40

Prepare for the day by decorating your house in red, white and blue

Saludos Amigos,

A very rare single rec e-mail for you today. I don’t like to make a habit of it but sometimes that's how it goes.

It’s a worthy one though. Today I watched Hotel Terminus by Marcel Ophuls which is an absoutely astonishing 4 & a half hour long documentary about Klaus Barbie, member of the SS & Gestapo and the “butcher of Lyon”. It’s almost entirely made up of interviews and it’s length allows it go give this overview of other historical aspects - it’s about Barbie as an individual but also what he represented and the world he operated in. Like at the beginning it’s all about his war against the French resistance, so you get all these interviews with members of the resistance about their internal struggles and operations, then it follows his recruitment after the war by US intelligence, so you get interviews with various CIC agents and understand how that was operating at the time, funneling Nazi’s through the ‘ratlines’ to South America. Once he’s in Bolivia you get interviews with his bodyguard and other Nazi’s and start to see the relationship between them and the military dictatorship, drug smuggling & the arms trade. Eventually he’s extradited to France to stand trial 40 years after the fact for crimes against humanity, & you get these mad interviews with his lawyer and Regis Debray and really it’s not about Barbie at all, he appears occasionally in a photograph or a snippet of a tv interview. Anyway what’s to say. It sounds intense and it is intense but also Ophuls is a righteous and indignant little shit at times, doorstepping nazi’s and providing light relief, and the whole thing is fascinating. So I recommend.

Normal rec’s tomorrow I promise.

P x