In my Grandfather's Shadow by Angela Findlay


In 1987, Angela Findlay walked into a prison and instantly felt at home. For years she had wrestled with an inexplicable sense of her own 'badness'. Working with prisoners was just the beginning of a search for answers that eventually led her back to her German roots. There, she discovered three generations knotted together by events that took place in Nazi Germany: a grandfather who was a decorated general on the Eastern Front, her German-born mother and Angela herself.

In a rare confluence of memoir, psychological inquiry and historical detective story, Findlay's account of her unflinching quest for the truth about her grandfather breaks through the silence surrounding not only many of the Second World War's perpetrators but also its victims. In My Grandfather's Shadow explores the heritability of unresolved experiences. It questions deeply held perceptions of good and bad and uncovers the lesser-known history of the war's losers, their postwar culture of apology and atonement and the lingering legacy of shame - lessons that continue to be of huge relevance to humanity in the twenty-first century.

Using her own family story to explore an episode in history that continues to appal and fascinate, Findlay demonstrates the importance of understanding the past in order to liberate not only the present by also future generations.