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Eric Vuillard: The Order of the Day

French author Eric Vuillard will discuss his 2017 Prix Goncourt-winning book, The Order of the Day (Penguin Random House; trans. Mark Polizzotti), a behind-the-scenes account of the Anschluss, or annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in March 1938.

In this short, dazzling narrative, Vuillard exposes the mechanics of hubris, manipulation, and bluff that led to the meeting of 24 German captains of industry with Nazi officials to extract funds for the National Socialist Party in 1933; then to the annexation of Austria in 1938.

This striking patchwork of anecdotes, fine words, and fevered dialogues illustrates how the most grotesque days are the ones that make history, and reminds us that the worst isn’t always unescapable.