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Focussing on nine cities (only six of which are in the Germany of today), he takes us on a zigzag ride back through time via the fall of the Berlin Wall through the horrors of two world wars and the patchwork states of the Middle Ages to the splendour of Charlemagne and the fall of Rome, with side swipes at everything on the way, from Henry VIII to the Spanish Empire.
Included are mini portraits of aspects of German culture, from sex and money to food and drink. Not just a book about Germany but about Europe as a whole and how we got where we are today - and where we might be tomorrow.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Shaun on 05-17-18
One of the best books I have listened to on here
This is a great book; to quickly sum it up it's a look at Germany through the major cities in (or what was) the German speaking world: Berlin, Vienna, Hamburg, Dresden, Munich, Konigsberg (formerly in East Prussia, now Kalingrad in Russia) and Strasbourg (now in France). The author weaves his insanely interesting personal experiences living, working (as a Reuters journalist), and visiting these places to tell their histories. Some great ones included living in East Berlin in the 1980's and being under surveillance by the Stasi, accidently starting a pro-Democracy protest in Dresden (then in the DDR), and having a friendship with the late Otto von Hapsburg. But this isn't just a travel book; the history is seamlessly weaved in. Ignore the crazed review below and take the plunge on this book if you are interested in Germany.
By rbergen on 02-27-18
Left of reality
Author is a self described hippie who refers to the National Socialists (Nazi's) as "right wing" and communist East Germans as "conservative". Apparently nobody on the left is capable of horrors such as Dresden etc. Of course the Soviets proved differently as they raped and killed all the way through Berlin.
Much excuse making from this Berlin native. Hand wringing over WW2 Allied bombing is tiresome and ridiculous. Germany got the total war it sought to inflict on the world.
I'm sending this book back.
1 of 9 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Neil on 04-18-18
The book that I’ve been looking for
An excellent and easily absorbed History of the Germans interspersed with fascinating anecdotes that both inform and entertain. It also forms a partial travelogue for the cities and areas that it features. An excellent starting point for anyone with an interest in European History who wants to form a broad picture of the History of the German speaking area.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Mike Baker on 02-17-18
Balanced, Light and Informative
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes, as an introduction to the long sweep of German history, also its current attitudes and mores, it's very good.
What did you like best about this story?
The conversational style, filled with tangents that could be confusing in less capable hands, but always drew back carefully and concisely to the original point.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
The chapter on Vienna gives the kind of potted, concise history of the Habsburg dynasty that many more sprawling efforts get lost in and consumed by.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
The utter contrast between actual German attitudes to the country's place in Europe and the jaded, jingoistic perception by many in the UK. A sad gulf that doesn't look like being filled any time shortly.
Any additional comments?
Highly recommended and very enjoyable read.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful