´´From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an ´Iron Curtain´ has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.´´ - Winston Churchill, 1946 ´´Here in Berlin, one cannot help being aware that you are the hub around which turns the wheel of history.... If ever there were a people who should be constantly sensitive to their destiny, the people of Berlin, East and West, should be they.´´ - Martin Luther King, Jr. The European continent was devastated in the wake of World War II, and the conflict left the Soviet Union and the United States as uncontested superpowers. This ushered in over 45 years of the Cold War, and a political alignment of Western democracies against the Communist Soviet bloc that produced conflicts pitting allies on each sides fighting, even as the American and Soviet militaries never engaged each other. Though it never got ´´hot´´, the Cold War was a tense era until the dissolution of the USSR. And nothing symbolized the split more than the Berlin Wall, which literally divided the city. Berlin had been a flashpoint even before World War II ended, and the city was occupied by the different Allies even as the close of the war turned them into adversaries. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Dave Wright. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/035048/bk_acx0_035048_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
By the acclaimed journalist and New York Times best-selling author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, this day-by-day eyewitness account of the momentous events leading up to World War II in Europe is the private, personal, utterly revealing journal of a great foreign correspondent. CBS radio broadcaster William L. Shirer was virtually unknown in 1940 when he decided there might be a book in the diary he had kept in Europe during the 1930s—specifically those sections dealing with the collapse of the European democracies and the rise of Nazi Germany. Shirer was the only Western correspondent in Vienna on March 11, 1938, when the German troops marched in and took over Austria, and he alone reported the surrender by France to Germany on June 22, 1940, even before the Germans reported it. The whole time, Shirer kept a record of events, many of which could not be publicly reported because of censorship by the Germans. In December 1940, Shirer learned that the Germans were building a case against him for espionage, an offense punishable by death. Fortunately, Shirer escaped and was able to take most of his diary with him. Berlin Diary first appeared in 1941, and the timing was perfect. The energy, the passion, and the electricity in it were palpable. The book was an instant success, and it became the frame of reference against which thoughtful Americans judged the rush of events in Europe. It exactly matched journalist to event: the right reporter in the right place at the right time. It stood, and still stands, as so few books have ever done, a pure act of journalistic witness. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Tom Weiner. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/blak/004413/bk_blak_004413_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Nightwood, Djuna Barnes´s strange and sinuous tour de force novel unfolds in the decadent shadows of Europe´s great cities, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna - a world in which the boundaries of class, religion, and sexuality are bold but surprisingly porous. The outsized characters who inhabit this world are some of the most memorable in all of fiction - there is Guido Volkbein, the Wandering Jew and son of a self-proclaimed baron; Robin Vote, the American expatriate who marries him and then engages in a series of affairs, first with Nora Flood and then with Jenny Petherbridge, driving all of her lovers to distraction with her passion for wandering alone in the night; and there is Dr. Matthew-Mighty-Grain-of-Salt-Dante-O´Connor, a transvestite and ostensible gynecologist, whose digressive speeches brim with fury, keen insights, and surprising allusions. Barnes´s depiction of these characters and their relationships has made the novel a landmark of feminist and lesbian literature. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Gemma Dawson. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/tant/007434/bk_tant_007434_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
A unique combination of memoir, history, and travelogue, this is author David Downie´s irreverent quest to uncover why Paris is the world´s most romantic city - and has been for over 150 years. Abounding in secluded, atmospheric parks, artists´ studios, cafes, restaurants, and streets little changed since the 1800s, Paris exudes romance. The art and architecture, the cityscape, riverbanks, and the unparalleled quality of daily life are part of the equation. But the city´s allure derives equally from hidden sources: querulous inhabitants, a bizarre culture of heroic negativity, and a rich historical past supplying enigmas, pleasures, and challenges. Rarely do visitors suspect the glamor and chic and the carefree atmosphere of the City of Light grew from and still feed off the dark fountainheads of riot, rebellion, mayhem, and melancholy - and the subversive literature, art and music of the Romantic Age. Weaving together his own with the lives and loves of Victor Hugo, Georges Sand, Charles Baudelaire, Balzac, Nadar, and other great Romantics, Downie delights in the city´s secular romantic pilgrimage sites asking , Why Paris, not Venice or Rome - the tap root of ´´romance´´ - or Berlin, Vienna, and London - where the earliest Romantics built castles-in-the-air and sang odes to nightingales? Listen to A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light and find out. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Jean Brassard. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/021326/bk_adbl_021326_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Having shot someone in what he believed was self-defense in the chaos of 1963 Berlin, Wilderness finds himself locked up with little chance of escape. But an official pardon through his father-in-law, Burne-Jones, a senior agent at MI6, means he is free to go - although forever in Burne-Jones´ service. His newest operation will take him back to Berlin, which is now the dividing line between the West and the Soviets. A backstory of innocence and intrigue unravels, one in which Wilderness is in and out of Berlin and Vienna like a jack-in-the-box. When the Russians started building the Berlin Wall in 1961, two unfortunate Englishmen were trapped on opposite sides. Geoffrey Masefield in the Lubyanka and Bernard Alleyn (alias KGB captain Leonid Liubimov) in Wormwood Scrubs. In 1965 there is a new plan. To exchange the prisoners, a swap upon Berlin´s bridge of spies. But, as ever, Joe has something on the side, just to make it interesting, just to make it profitable. The Unfortunate Englishman is a thrilling tale of Khrushchev, Kennedy, a spy exchange...and 10,000 bottles of fine Bordeaux. What can possibly go wrong? 1. Language: English. Narrator: Lewis Hancock. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/026698/bk_adbl_026698_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Kafka was an attractive, slender, and elegant man - something of a dandy - who captivated his friends and knew how to charm women. He seemed to have had four important love affairs: Felice, Julie, Milena, and Dora. All of them lived far away, in Berlin or Vienna, and perhaps that´s one of the reasons that he loved them: he chose long-distance relationships so he could have the pleasure of writing to them, without the burden of having to live with them. He was engaged to all four women, and four times he avoided marriage. At the end of each love affair, he threw himself into his writing and produced some of his most famous novels: Amerika, The Trial, and The Castle. In this charming book, author Jacqueline Raoul-Duval follows the paper trail of Kafka´s ardor. She uses his voice in her own writing, and a third of the book is pulled from Kafka´s journals. It is the perfect introduction to this giant of world literature, and captures his life and romances in a style worthy of his own. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Chris Kayser. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/011039/bk_adbl_011039_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Susan Cernyak-Spatz was born in Vienna in 1922. In the following 23 years, she experienced many of the terrors of her fellow European Jews: early Nazi oppression in Berlin; post-Anschluss Vienna; Nazi occupied Prague; and deportation to Theresienstadt in 1942. But the true horrors of the Nazi ´´Final Solution´´ awaited her in Birkenau, the woman´s concentration camp where she survived her internment, beginning in January, 1943, for two years. These months of hell were followed by a ´´Death March´´ and incarceration in Ravensbrück from which she and a group of fellow inmates walked away to freedom. As Professor Emerita in German literature at UNC-Charlotte, Dr. Cernyak-Spatz continues to teach and to lecture about the Holocaust. This audiobook is a rare firsthand testament of a Holocaust survivor. Narrated by the author, Susan Cernyak-Spatz. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Susan Cernyak-Spatz. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/023742/bk_acx0_023742_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
For 40 years John Hadden and his father of the same name fought at the dinner table over politics, art, and various issues concerning America. One was haunted by what he had witnessed during his long CIA career, from Berlin to Tel Aviv; the other retreated to the Vermont woods to direct Shakespeare until finally he confronted his father at the table one last time with a tape recorder. Conversations with a Masked Man is a series of conversations Hadden had with his father about the older man´s 30-year career as a CIA officer and how American policy affected the family and the world. Father and son talk about John senior´s early life as a kid in Manhattan, his training at West Point, the stench of bodies in Dresden after the war, Berlin and Vienna in the late forties and fifties at the height of the Cold War, the follies of the Cuban missile crisis, how he disobeyed orders to bomb Cairo while he was station chief in Israel during the Six-Day War, and treacherous office politics in Washington. The story unfolds in dialogue alternating with the writer´s own memories and reflections. What emerges is hilarious, unexpectedly candid, and deeply personal. Combining the candid descriptions of the world of the CIA with intimate conversations between a father and son, this book is written for the political junkie, the psychologist, the art lover, or anybody who wonders who the hell their father really is. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Peter Ganim. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/025264/bk_adbl_025264_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
From the dark days of World War II through the Cold War, Sergey A. Kondrashev was a major player in Russia’s notorious KGB espionage apparatus. Rising through its ranks through hard work and keen understanding of how the spy and political games are played, he ´´handled” American and British defectors, recruited Western operatives as double agents, served as a ranking officer at the East Berlin and Vienna KGB bureaus, and tackled special assignments from the Kremlin. During a 1994 television program about former spymasters, Kondrashev met and began a close friendship with a former foe, ex–CIA officer Tennent H. ´´Pete” Bagley, whom the Russian asked to help write his memoirs. Because Bagley knew so about much of Kondrashev’s career (they had been on opposite sides in several operations), his penetrating questions and insights reveal slices of never-revealed espionage history that rival anything found in the pages of Ian Fleming, Len Deighton, or John le Carr. This includes chilling tales of surviving Stalin’s purges while superiors and colleagues did not, of plotting to reveal the Berlin Tunnel, of quelling the Hungarian Revolution and ´´Prague Spring” independence movements, and of assisting in arranging the final disposition of the corpses of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. Kondrashev also details equally fascinating KGB propaganda and disinformation efforts that shaped Western attitudes throughout the Cold War. Because publication of these memoirs was banned by Putin’s regime, Bagley promised Kondrashev to have them published in the West. They are now available to all who are fascinated by vivid tales of international intrigue. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Bronson Pinchot. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/013521/bk_adbl_013521_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The history of decadent culture runs from ancient Rome to 19th-century Paris, Victorian London, fin de siecle Vienna, Weimar Berlin, and beyond. The decline of Rome provides the pattern for both aesthetic and social decadence, a pattern that artists and writers in the 19th century imitated, emulated, parodied, and otherwise manipulated for aesthetic gain. What begins as the moral condemnation of modernity in mid-19th century France on the part of decadent authors such as Charles Baudelaire ends up as the perverse celebration of the pessimism that accompanies imperial decline. This delight in decline informs the rich canon of decadence that runs from Joris-Karl Huysmans´s À Rebours to Oscar Wilde´s The Picture of Dorian Gray. In Decadence, David Weir explores the conflicting attitudes towards modernity present in decadent culture by examining the difference between aesthetic decadence - the excess of artifice - and social decadence, which involves excess in a variety of forms, whether perversely pleasurable or gratuitously cruel. Such contrariness between aesthetic and social decadence led some of its practitioners to substitute art for life and to stress the importance of taste over morality, a maneuver with far-reaching consequences. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Graham Halstead. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/tant/012361/bk_tant_012361_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.