In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch advises his daughter that you can never properly understand a person “until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”.

Daringly, in what is only his second novel, Alexander Starritt climbs into the skin of one of the most appalling archetypes of the 20th century: a Nazi soldier as he marauds across Eastern Europe during World War 2. Though no readers (short of psychopaths) are likely to admire the soldier’s wartime actions, they will at least be confronted in We Germans by his experiences as both killer and victim.

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