by Bo Lidegaard
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“This is not a novel,” says Poul Hannover, witness to this amazing story of the Holocaust. “No fancy trimmings.”
None are needed in Bo Lidegaard’s Countrymen. Lidegaard, the editor in chief of Danish newspaper Politiken, has pain-stakingly reconstructed an extraordinary story. And he tells it with the assurance of a journalist who knows he’s making literature.
Denmark had scarcely resisted the German invasion in April 1940, accepting Nazi occupation “under protest.” (The Germans preferred the term “under protection.”) For the next three years, the Danes were haunted by such questions as Why didn’t we put up a proper fight? and Was it right for politicians to have cooperated with the occupying power? As Lidegaard puts it, “There were no easy answers. . . . The war had amply demonstrated that even much larger
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