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Leaving Berlin: A Novel
by Joseph Kanon

Published: 2015-03-03
Hardcover : 384 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members
The acclaimed author of The Good German “deftly captures the ambience” (The New York Times Book Review) of postwar East Berlin in his “thought-provoking, pulse-pounding” (Wall Street Journal) New York Times bestseller—a sweeping spy thriller about a city caught between political ...
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Introduction

The acclaimed author of The Good German “deftly captures the ambience” (The New York Times Book Review) of postwar East Berlin in his “thought-provoking, pulse-pounding” (Wall Street Journal) New York Times bestseller—a sweeping spy thriller about 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? At betrayal? Survival? Murder? Joseph Kanon’s compelling thriller is a love story that brilliantly brings a shadowy period of history vividly to life.

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Member Reviews

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  "Cast of thousands with complex interactions"by sharring (see profile) 01/16/18

I kept a list of who was who as the book proceeded. I was very glad I did because characters kept appearing, sometimes briefly and sometimes over intermittent time periods.
The reading
... (read more)

 
  "Kanon has written another winner"by ebach (see profile) 08/08/16

Joseph Kanon has written another winner. LEAVING BERLIN is a post-World War II novel that I would call historical fiction/thriller. Here is Berlin four years after the Nazis, now not yet to... (read more)

 
  "This is an exciting post World War II political thriller."by thewanderingjew (see profile) 04/21/15

Joseph Kanon has written a very exciting book about the politics and atmosphere in the world shortly after the end of World War II. With the demise of The Third Reich and the Social Democra... (read more)

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