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In Search Of Berlin (Hardback)John Kampfner (author)
From medieval bones to wartime carnage, the author of former Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month Why the Germans Do it Better delves deep into the myriad identities of one of Europe's most iconic cities.
No other city has had so many lives, survived so many disasters and has reinvented itself so many times. No other city is like Berlin.
Ever since John Kampfner was a young journalist in Communist East Berlin, he hasn't been able to get the city out of his mind. It is a place tortured by its past, obsessed with memories, a place where traumas are unleashed and the traumatised have gathered.
Over the past four years Kampfner has walked the length and breadth of Berlin, delving into the archives, and talking to historians and writers, architects and archaeologists. He clambers onto a fallen statue of Lenin; he rummages in boxes of early Medieval bones; he learns about the cabaret star so outrageous she was thrown out of the city.
Berlin has been a military barracks, industrial powerhouse, centre of learning, hotbed of decadence - and the laboratory for the worst experiment in horror known to man. Now a city of refuge, it is home to 180 nationalities, and more than a quarter of the population has a migrant background. Berlin never stands still. It is never satisfied. It never believes it has the answer. But it is now the irresistible capital to which the world is gravitating.
In Search of Berlin is an 800-year story, a dialogue between past and present; it is a new way of looking at this turbulent and beguiling city on its never-ending journey of reinvention.
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Number of pages: 416
Weight: 638 g
Dimensions: 234 x 153 x 29 mm
'A masterful portrait of one of the world's greatest cities. John Kampfner captures the many histories of Berlin - the joys and the beauties, the horrors and the suffering, the divisions and the dreams. A must-read.' - Peter Frankopan
'Berlin may well be Europe's most enigmatic city and John Kampfner - curious, sceptical and with an eye for the arresting detail - is the ideal guide.' - Jonathan Freedland
'John Kampfner is an ideal guide to Berlin, its history and people, in this tour de force' - Orlando Figes
'No-one is better qualified than John Kampfner to write about Berlin - that living palimpsest of German, and thus European, history. His knowledge is both deep - historical, analytical - and wide, drawn from a large diaspora of knowledgeable contacts. One of Europe's foremost intellectuals, Kampfner is also incapable of writing a dull sentence, which allows this book to succeed as history, travel book, autobiography, treatise, and love-letter.' - Andrew Roberts
'Modern Germany is one of the political wonders of the world and John Kampfner one of its finest interpreters. It is a delight to have the two come together in this fascinating book' - Daniel Finkelstein
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