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What’s to become of the boy?

Translated by Leila Vennewitz
with an introduction by Anne Applebaum

What’s to Become of the Boy? is a spirited, insightful, and wonderfully sympathetic memoir about life during wartime written with characteristic brilliance by one of the 20th-century’s most celebrated authors. It is both an essential autobiography of the Nobel Prize-winning author and a compelling memoir of being young and idealistic during an age of hardship and war.

HEINRICH BÖLLwas born in Cologne in 1917. Despite his background as a Catholic pacifist, Böll was conscripted and saw combat during the second World War. He was wounded four times before surrendering to American Soldiers. He published his first novel, The Train Was on Time, in 1949. His best-known novels include The Clown, Billiards at Half-Past Nine, and Group Portrait with Lady. Böll served as president of PEN and was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1972.

“[Boll’s] brief, wrenching account of growing up in Nazi Germany, in a family that hated Hitler, will leave you thinking of nothing else.” —Readers Digest, “The Best Short Books You’ll Ever Read”

What’s to Become of the Boy? makes an ideal short introduction to Böll. At the same time, it offers an unusual perspective on Hitler’s rise to power: The rise of totalitarianism and the stultification of cicil society, as seen through the eyes of a teenage boy.” —Anne Applebaum

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