On the Natural History of Destruction
by W.G. Sebald
A hardback edition of W.G. Sebald’s classic essay encompassing this great author’s horror at the Allied destruction of German cities towards the end of the Second World War and his bafflement at German collective amnesia.
‘Is literary greatness still possible? … One of the few answers available to English-language readers is the work of W. G. Sebald.’ - Susan Sontag, TLS
‘The fire, now rising 2000 metres into the sky, snatched oxygen to itself so violently that the air currents reached hurricane force, resonating like mighty organs with all their stops pulled out at once.’
In the last years of the Second World War, a million tonnes of bombs were dropped by the Allies on 131 German towns and cities. 600,000 civilians died, seven and a half million Germans were left homeless. W.G. Sebald’s crisp but harrowing essays explore the consequences for the German people of the mass destruction of their cities.
‘Sebald makes exquisite art out of vile history.’ - Boyd Tonkin, Independent
‘In the past few decades we have become suspicious, rightly, of claims for literary greatness, but in Sebald's case the claim was triumphantly justified. He was, he is, the real thing.’ – John Banville
‘On the Natural History of Destruction is such a timely and startling book because Sebald is not proud to be telling the truth about Germany after the war, he is just dismayed that it might always need to be told’ – Adam Phillips
Read 'Why You Should Read W.G. Sebald' from the New Yorker.
Listen to BBC Radio 3's The Essay on W.G. Sebald.
Michael Silverblatt speaks to W.G. Sebald on Bookworm. This interview was recorded eight days before his death in a car accident in 2001. Credit: KCRW.
Watch Adam Phillips discuss Sebald in an excerpt from Grant Gee's film, Patience (After Sebald).
Buy more books by W. G. Sebald.