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Recommended reading

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Recommended reading

To get a better feel for a place, I like to read a book concerning the location....preferably historical fiction, but nonfiction will do if not too dry. For Venice I read City of Falling Angels (NF and fantastic!), and for Florence and Rome I read several, including Pompeii and The Agony and the Ecstasy. It gives me a story to picture the city within, and believe it or not I can still imagine the cities I've read about in great detail.

Any ideas of books for Germany....or specifically Berlin? I have the Monuments Men on the list just for some basic history (I find the story absolutely intriguing), but I'm not sure how much there will be about German locations in particular.

I'm putting in the same request in the Paris forums because we will be traveling there as well.



New York
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11. Re: Recommended reading

There's lots to Berlin besides 1933-45 but Garden of the Beast (recommended several times already) together with Wm Schire's (spelling?) Berlin Diary provide two views of the same period, indeed of the same cocktail parties! Great to read together.

12. Re: Recommended reading

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Sheffield, United...
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13. Re: Recommended reading

My book recommendations would be as follows

Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada

Berlin Tales by various (a collection of short stories from different periods)

Stasiland by Anna Funder

Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood

and for non fiction i'd recommend Berlin: The Downfall 1945 by Anthony Beevor

just my thoughts anway!

London, United...
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14. Re: Recommended reading

Yes, I'd recommend all those too. In fact I'm reading Antony Beever right now, having just finished Ian Kershaw's The End, a fascinating analysis of how it was that the war was allowed to go on for so long after Germany had clearly lost it - which I'd also recommend.

I've just realised that this is an old thread. But I'd add:

The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape, by Brian Ladd

Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin, by Susan Neiman

The German Trauma: Experiences and Reflections 1938-2001 by Gitta Sereny

Chester, United...
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15. Re: Recommended reading

Thanks for bumping this one. I am reading Berlin Days 1946-47 by George Clare (bought off Amazono for 1p - ex Library book) which is autobiographical, he worked as a translator in the Control Commission in the British Sector immediately afte WW2, fascinating stufff. Better written and more readable and enjoyable than I expected.

My mother worked there as a shorthand typist at the same time, I am trying to research the time.

Adelaide, Australia
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16. Re: Recommended reading

Great post and contributions.

Bautzen, Germany
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17. Re: Recommended reading

One of the most popular contemporary authors from Berlin is Wladimir Kaminer, a immigrant from the FSU who mostly writes humorous short stories about his life in East Berlin and Berlins Russian subculture (there are ~300.000 people from the FSU in Berlin!). I think at least "Russian Disco" was translated into English.

Sydney, Australia
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18. Re: Recommended reading

Great suggestions, thanks, I've made a long list to follow up on the ones I haven't read.

Also: Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada, and books by Philip Kerr such as Berlin Noir, all very good.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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19. Re: Recommended reading

This is a very useful thread. Can the Berlin DE's make this a sticky to appear at the top of the first page of the forum threads? (For example, there is one for books on the Istanbul forum.)

Thanks for considering my suggestion.

New York City, New...
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20. Re: Recommended reading

A little late, but I'd like to add Philip Kerr's crime novels all set in the 30s; the prose is outstanding, the research is strong and his main character, Bernie Gunther is just great. Combined with "Garden of the Beasts", it's a nice, fast-paced grouping.

Note that there is a sub-genre referred to as, "Berlin Noir" which comprises novels set in this time. I found this blog reviewing part of the "canon", such as it is: http://berlin-noir.blogspot.ca .

I also do like Ian Kershaw's works on Hitler, but they are dense, not unlike some of the multi-grain, German breads.