Weidenfeld & Nicholson has bought a “uniquely personal exploration of the origins of international law” by international lawyer Philippe Sands.
East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity will centre on the Nuremberg Trials.
The book is described as “part historical detective story, part family history, part legal thriller”.
Two interconnected stories unfold in parallel in the book.
The first is the hidden story of two Nuremberg prosecutors who discover, only at the end of the trials, that the man they are prosecuting, once Hitler's personal lawyer, may be responsible for the murder of their entire families in Nazi-occupied Poland, in and around the city of Lviv.
The efforts of the two prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, led to the inclusion of the terms ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide’ in the judgement at Nuremberg.
The second strand sees Sands trace the events that overwhelmed his mother's family in Lviv and Vienna during the Second World War, and led his grandfather to leave his wife and daughter behind as war engulfed Europe.
Editorial director Bea Hemming bought world English language rights, excluding the US and Canada, from Georgia Garrett at Rogers, Coleridge & White.
Sands said: “Over six years I have chased two interweaving, untold stories – a personal one about my family, a professional one about the origins of ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide’. A series of most unexpected discoveries, and even more remarkable coincidences.”
Sands’ previous books include Lawless World (Penguin), on the illegality of the Iraq war, and Torture Team (Penguin), on the embrace of torture by the Bush Administration
Weidenfeld & Nicolson will publish East West Street in hardback and e-book in June 2016 as a prelude to the 70th anniversary of the judgment of the Nuremberg Trial.