Just as Bernhard Schlink's bestselling novels, The Reader and Homecoming, tackle the burden of German guilt about events during the Second World War, so too the six essays that make up this compelling book view the long shadow of past guilt that is not just a German experience, but also a global one. Schlink explores the phenomenon of collective guilt and how it attaches to a whole society, not just to individual perpetrators. He considers: how to use the lesson of history to motivate individual moral behaviour; how to reconcile a guilt-laden past; the role of law in this process; and how the theme of guilt influences his own fiction. Based on the Weidenfeld lectures he delivered at Oxford University in 2008, Guilt is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand how events of the past can affect a nation's future. Written in Bernhard Schlink's eloquent but accessible style, it taps in to worldwide interest in the aftermath of war and how to forgive and reconcile the various legacies of the past.