Leaving Berlin

  • by Joseph Kanon
  • Narrated by Corey Brill
  • 11 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of Istanbul Passage - called a "fast-moving thinking man's thriller" by The Wall Street Journal - comes a sweeping, atmospheric novel of postwar East Berlin, a city caught between political idealism and the harsh realities of Soviet occupation.
Berlin, 1948. Almost four years after the war's end, the city is still in ruins, a physical wasteland and a political symbol about to rupture. In the West a defiant, blockaded city is barely surviving on airlifted supplies; in the East the heady early days of political reconstruction are being undermined by the murky compromises of the Cold War. Espionage, like the black market, is a fact of life. Even culture has become a battleground, with German intellectuals being lured back from exile to add credibility to the competing sectors.
Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: He will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment: to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved. Changing sides in Berlin is as easy as crossing a sector border. But where do we draw the lines of our moral boundaries? Betrayal? Survival? Murder?
Filled with intrigue and the moral ambiguity of conflicted loyalties, Joseph Kanon's new novel is a compelling thriller and a love story that brings a shadowy period of history vividly to life.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Espionage In Berlin 1948

My favorite aspect of this novel was the atmosphere captured by the author. Kanon was able to paint each scene with just the right amount of detail so that it all felt real and alive. In addition, the complex dialogue and the glimpses of memories from the main character Alex added depth and texture to this spy thriller.

Fast paced, dark, remote, convoluted and risky. The book teemed with so many different groups at odds, so much hidden threat and who to trust and who not to trust. At times it was hard to keep all the threads straight. Still, I was swept along by it all and thought it was a good story. Worth a listen if you are interested in early Cold War Berlin.
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- Sara "Avid Reader"

Wonderfully complex!

I loved this book! Intriguing, complicated, well-plotted, well-written and well-read. Set in a time period I knew little about, the Berlin airlift, the book demonstrates the warring factions within oneself, as well as the warring factions in the political manuevering that followed WWII in Germany. As the reviewer for The (London) Telegraph put it, " One knows that a war will end some day: but what if peace entails unending misery?" And who chooses known "misery" over the chance of a new and peaceful life? The narrator is grand--an interesting voice, moving easily between hints of the appropriate accents of various characters. Good, good listen--highly recommended!
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- Kathy "Sisters, Oregon"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-03-2015
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio