I don't know who suggested it or how it was chosen. In all honesty I stay out of those discussions, except for trying to keep page numbers down. Yes, I'm the lazy member of the club and not very knowledgeable about the "better" books. I read lots of police detective mysteries like the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly or the Daniel Silva books. And I'll read corny books, too.
"East West Street" is a different kind of mystery or detective story. Sands researched the real participants in the Nuremberg Trials and the development of the case against the Nazis.
East West Street looks at the personal and intellectual evolution of the two men who simultaneously originated the ideas of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity,” both of whom, not knowing the other, studied at the same university with the same professors, in a city little known today that was a major cultural center of Europe, “the little Paris of Ukraine,” a city variously called Lemberg, Lwów, Lvov, or Lviv. It is also a spellbinding family memoir, as the author traces the mysterious story of his grandfather, as he maneuvered through Europe in the face of Nazi atrocities.Those of us raised post-World War Two grew up with the concept of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity” as major crimes, but apparently the terms are relatively new and were very controversial and questionable in the 1940s.
"East West Street" is a very complex spiderweb of research and narratives. I'm neither a historian, nor all that knowledgeable about the Holocaust. For me, getting through the book was a challenge. It's not my kind of book. I'm glad that I didn't give up in the middle or even earlier. Believe me; I was tempted. Sands succeeded in building some amazing characters, and it's really exciting to realize that they were people, not fiction. A lawyer friend who read it only paid attention to the legalistic legal-philosophical aspect of the book. We talked about the book, and it was as if we had read two completely different books. He loved the book, while I thought I should get a prize just for finishing it.
It's hard to recommend it, but many people love it. It's just not my cup of tea, as the saying goes. One of the reasons I like being in the Book Club is that it pushes me to get out of my comfort zone.