East West Street

East West Street

On the Origins of "genocide" and "crimes Against Humanity"

Book - 2016
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East West Street looks at the personal and intellectual evolution of the two men who simultaneously originated the ideas of (3z(Bgenocide(3y (Band (3z(Bcrimes against humanity,(3y (Bboth 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, (3z(Bthe little Paris of Ukraine,(3y (Ba city variously called Lemberg, Lwów, Lvov, or Lviv.
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A Knopf,, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385350716
Characteristics: xii, 425 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm


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WestSlope_MarlyO Jun 11, 2019

Normally, I am not a fan of biographies where the biographer weaves in their own story into the narrative (very bait and switch if you ask me) but not only was Sands family history extremely relevant but it gave so much depth and nuance to the juxtaposed men of which he was writing. Lemkin and Lauterpacht; both determinedly seeking justice for the millions killed in the Holocaust but from diametrically opposed legal angles. This book is a fascinating legal history of the coining of the terms 'genocide' and 'crimes against humanity' and the use of them as legal, a biography of two great legal minds and activists, and family and personal history that makes for a stunning read.

Jan 13, 2018

I can’t speak highly enough of this book, which won the 2016 Baillie Gifford prize (the re-badged Samuel Johnson Prize). It draws together personal story-telling, historical narrative and legal analysis seamlessly, and is quite frankly, one of the best books I’ve read in ages.

See my complete review at:

Feb 28, 2017

This excellent book is part family memoir, part detective story, and mostly a history of the development of the modern concepts of international courts and accountability following WW II. It raises interesting questions about the ascendency of the idea of genocide. Highly recommended.

Marc Dolgin
Nov 25, 2016

A compelling story and an impressive piece of research.

JestyH Aug 23, 2016

An extraordinary book. A tour de force of investigative journalism, history, legal scholarship and personal memoir. Sands impressed me both as a writer and as a human being. A must-read. I gave the book five stars but the library app doesn't reflect that.

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