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Get Tan With Nazis, Emperors, Monks: Classic Beach Books

Travel back in time for dinner at Krakow’s castle with Hans Frank, the mass-murdering, Chopin-adoring governor general of most of Poland. Think the thoughts of the emperor and poet Hadrian (“Animula vagula blandula”). Visit Montparnasse, Berlin, London, the Republic of Gilead. These classic novels take you there:

“Kaputt” by Curzio Malaparte: An Italian war correspondent with access to the highest echelons of the Nazi and Fascist elite. It’s a novel, but clearly based on events, people and atrocities so horrific, no one could make them up. Frau Frank gives him a memorable tour of the castle after dark. (New York Review Books, $16.95)