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Their Cemetery Sown With Corn (Hardback)

Englishman Stands Against the Nazi Storm

WWII Historical Fiction Hitler & the Third Reich

By Frank Binder, Michael Rines
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 308
ISBN: 9781781590836
Published: 5th November 2012

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In this 'factional' novel, lost for more than 70 years, hero John Arnold is a post graduate student at Bonn University in the early 1930s. He is caught up in the insidious rise of the Nazis in the village where he lodges. His position is complicated by his love of Germany itself, as well as by his increasing fondness for two women; Tilde, the maid of the house where he lodges, and Rachel, a beautiful and powerful Jewish woman. Being semi-autobiographical, Their Cemetery Sown With Corn has intense authenticity. Binder captures the atmosphere of the time and place, and his narrative explains how the Nazis achieved their grip over a fraught and divided population.

He brings to life a rich cast of characters, and we witness how they develop in the face of Hitler's oppression. This is a poignant human story of loyalty, love and courage in the face of extortion, treachery, blackmail and murder. There is humour, too, as Arnold learns that his best weapons are ridicule and cunning. Readers of this intriguing book will find themselves in a ringside seat witnessing one of the most extraordinary and sinister social and political phenomena of the 20th Century.

A profound book , extremely well written, which helps one to get a glimmer of inderstanding how a hatred against a race / religeon can be insidiously inculcated into a population i.e. The German, ordinary peopele against the Jews starting in in the nineteen thirtees. There is a strong storyline which also makes it compelling reading. It is assumed to be partly based on the English author's own experiemce whilst living and working in Germany

Amazon Reviewer

This conveys in vivid terms the story of the growth and impact of national socialism in the context of individual experience and observation. It is quite different from any other book have read on the subject and I wonder what other hidden treasures lie in the unpublished writings of Frank Binder.

Amazon Reviewer

A lightly fictionalized recollection of the Rhenish province on the cusp of the abyss by a young English academic with a Leica eye and an ear to the ground, Binder's novel is as close as we're likely to get to to the Germany he experienced in 1932-33.

His story, filled with believable characters in a believable landscape, is a salutary reminder that the road to hell is paved with self-deceptions.

David Schoenbaum

This extraordinary tale in not quite history but a semi-fiction-alised account by Frank Binder, a Germanophile who spent the Great War in Dartmoor Prison as a reward for conscientious objection and lectured at Bonn University between 1921 and 1933.

The discovery and publication of this manuscript is the work of one of his former pupils, Michael Rines, who is to be congratulated on bringing to us this moving, colorful and evocative account of the rise of Nazism in the Rhineland.

Robert Gildea, History Today

This is the story written by Frank Binder during WW2 in 1940 and brought to light by his former student Michael Rines. The manuscript was looked after by Binder's daughter until recently.

Frank Binder left Nazi Germany before the Second World War began, 1937 to be precise, he left in a hurry. He refused to say the mandatory 'Heil Hitler!.'He left before any action could be taken against him. He is also thought to have been a British secret agent. Neither denied or confirmed by MI6 (this is their policy) and denied by Binder himself, it may answer several questions as to his actions around that time.

Their Cemetery Sown With Corn is superbly written and whilst fictional it has a real sense of authenticity about it, mainly due to the fact that it is most likely semi-autobiographical. Life in a German village during the Nazi rise to power and all the problems it brought with it are contained in a story of a young man and his struggle with Nazi beliefs, and loyalty to those he has come to love.

Beautifully written and wonderfully edited, Sown With Corn will be enjoyed by all World War II enthusiasts as well as those with an interest in German history.

WW2 Connection

About Frank Binder

Frank Binder, who based this book on his experiences as a lecturer in English studies at Bonn University from 1922 to 1933, could have been a British spy, being exceptionally well qualified for the task. Sixty years on, the Secret Service still refuses to name its agents. However Binder was forced to flee his beloved Germany, leaving behind his priceless collection of books and all his possessions, for refusing to say the mandatory ‘Heil Hitler!’ His adherence to his principles as a conscientious objector had similarly led to his imprisonment on Dartmoor during The Great War.

A graduate of Liverpool University, he had two books published in his lifetime – A Journey in England (1931) and Dialectic (1932). He left Germany in 1937 and became a teacher at Scarborough Boys High School.

He died in 1962 at the age of 68. His daughter, Elsie Binder, who looked after the manuscript, lives in London.


About Michael Rines

Michael Rines has had a distinguished career in industry, journalism and public relations. He was Editor of Marketing magazine from 1970 to 1980. He has lectured on Frank Binder at Bonn University, where Their Cemetery Sown With Corn is seen as of great historical importance.
He restored Arthur Ransome’s yacht, Nancy Blackett, and is a vice-President of the Trust that now owns her. He lives in Woodbridge, Suffolk

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