Burkhard Bilger

Friday, June 23, 2023
7:00 pm

Every family has its ghosts, every country some dark history that haunts it. For Burkhard Bilger, that history was just closer to home. “To be German, it seemed, was always to be one part Nazi,” he writes. “In my case, that part was my grandfather.” FATHERLAND shares the story Bilger’s nearly ten-year quest to uncover the truth about his family’s past. It’s a book of gripping suspense and moral inquiry—a tale of chance encounters and serendipitous discoveries in archives and villages across Germany and France.

“Bilger’s atmospheric account probes the complex ethical ambiguities of wartime Alsace and his mother’s harrowing childhood experience of the defeat and devastation of Germany, conveying both narrative strands with a fine moral irony couched in prose that’s both psychologically shrewd and matter-of-fact.” - Publisher’s Weekly

“[A] powerful investigation of morality...a vivid portrait of [Bilger’s] grandfather and his times [and] a fascinating, deeply researched work of Holocaust-era history....A moving, humane biography.” - Kirkus

Burkhard Bilger has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2001. His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The New York Times, among other publications, and has been anthologized ten times in the Best American series. Bilger has received fellowships from Yale University, MacDowell, and the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library. His first book, Noodling for Flatheads, was a finalist for the PEN/Martha Albrand Award. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Jennifer Nelson.