The Order of the Day
Winner of the 2017 Prix Goncourt
Éric Vuillard’s gripping novel The Order of the Day tells the story of the pivotal meetings which took place between the European powers in the run-up to World War Two. What emerges is a fascinating and incredibly moving account of failed diplomacy, broken relationships, and the catastrophic momentum which led to conflict.
The titans of German industry – set to prosper under the Nazi government – gather to lend their support to Adolf Hitler. The Austrian Chancellor realizes too late that he has wandered into a trap, as Hitler delivers the ultimatum that will lay the groundwork for Germany’s annexation of Austria. Winston Churchill joins Neville Chamberlain for a farewell luncheon held in honour of Joachim von Ribbentrop: German Ambassador to England, soon to be Foreign Minister in the Nazi government, and future defendant at the Nuremberg trials.
Suffused with dramatic tension, this unforgettable novel tells the tragic story of how the actions of a few powerful men brought the world to the brink of war.
In the media
A thoroughly gripping and mesmerising work of black comedy and political disaster. It seems designed single-mindedly to remind us that, as it says, “Great catastrophes often creep up on us in tiny steps.
Remarkable . . . It captures the bizarre blend of wishful thinking, clownish self-importance, and cold calculation that characterized many of the Nazis’ powerful enablers.
Gripping . . . The method of [The Order of the Day] is to peel away the veils of dissimulation, disguise and self-justification that conspire to make historical disasters appear as just the way things happen.
Wall Street Journal
A chilling, gripping novel – it takes a number of key moments in the run-up to the Second World War and uses tremendous skill and verve to dramatize hours and minutes in which often quite ordinary men took decisions that would destroy whole nations.
Simon Winder, author of Germania