Recommended as private guide in
Rick Steves' 'snapshot Berlin':
" enthusiastic historian who grew up behind the Wall..."

before and after


Berlin books


You can spend a lifetime reading books about Berlin. Although I would guess that you have other things to do, the moment you plan to travel to Berlin, you will want to make time to read about the city you’re going to visit. And once you’re home again, youll seeyou will want to read these same books again. I have listed a few books thathave given me the best insights and information about Berlin apart from my living here. In case you need books about this unique city, or just a decent book to read, there is an excellent bookshop in midtown. 

Its called The English Bookshop, and is located inside the Dussman Culture Shopping House: Friedrichstraße 90 10117 Berlin.




Kleiner Friedrich1  Brian Ladd: The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape

What Ladd does is in fact tour the city. I recommend that you take this book with you in the summer when it’s warm...
and walk through the city, taking a route as indicated by the chapters and the places described in them. What will happen is that you will find yourself standing in front of the Karl Marx statue, and you will read what Ladd says about it and take another look at Marx. Then you’ll see this figure with fresh eyes, from a completely different perspective. Ladd ties together everything that you can see in Berlin in concrete form with the intellectual history of the Germany. His book is a genuine experience!



Kleiner Friedrich1  Anna Funder: Stasiland. Stories from behind the Berlin Wall

Anna Funder, a journalist from Australia, came to Berlin in the early 1990s to do an internship at a Berlin newspaper. After hearing people...
make a lot of side comments about the time period before the reunification, she started investigating. She talked to victims as well as perpetrators of the former STASI, the East German security service that terrorized parts of the population, to gather material for this book. The author has a sharp eye for what the East was like, which she captures in vivid and telling details. I grew up in East Germany, and while reading her book I could literally smell the old carpets again. Funder recalls the atmosphere of the ’80s with all its restraints in a way that made me believe she had lived through this period. Written like a thriller and awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, this is a must-read!




Kleiner Friedrich1  Erik Larsson: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin

In 1933, the new U.S. ambassador, William E. Dodd, came to Berlin with his family. His daughter......
Martha Dodd, was at first thrilled, almost enthusiastic, about the apparent strength and pride of the Nazi movement. She soon learned, however, about the atrocities and the aggressive undertone of the new regime and their followers, and the terror they waged. The process she went through to come to a different understanding is vividly captured in Larsson’s book. In fact, it reads like a thriller. It is based on the diaries of Martha Dodd, and will give you new insight into the early years of the Nazi regime.



Kleiner Friedrich1 Tony LeTissier: The Battle of Berlin

There are quite a few good books about the final battle for Berlin 1945. Some are very well written historically, and others...
are largely based on personal accounts. Le Tissier offers neither approach. Instead, he provides the most detailed account ever written of the events surrounding the closing days of the war in Berlin. Full of facts, footnotes, numbers, and the names of units, this book provides the most comprehensive account of April 1945 in Berlin ever written.



Kleiner Friedrich1  Alexandra Richie: Faust's Metropolis: A History of Berlin

The book is the most comprehensive account of the history of the city that I have ever read. Richie starts with...
the city’s founding in the early 13th century, and she ends with Berlin as the new capital of Germany in 1990. The factual errors can be overlooked, I think. What amazed me was her broad approach and the richness of her sources. At the same time, this book is a page-turner and worth the time to read!



Kleiner Friedrich1  Mary Elise Sarotte: The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall

The story told in the book - how the Wall came down - is a thriller. I remember the events and I have done ...
extensive reading about the events of that crucial day, November the 9th, 1989. In other words: the story, as told as in the book, is correct up to the last detail. What makes this book worth to buy and read is the way the narration goes: it is written as exciting, as amazing, as out of the ordinary that day was. This book is highly readable! If you want to hear my personal story of that day - come with me on a tour of the Berlin Wall.




Kleiner Friedrich1  Timur Vermes: Look who's back

Timur Vermes, a journalist and author begins his story by describing how Hitler wakes up in his dusty uniform, its the year 2012 in Berlin - at the place where his bunker used to be 72 years ago...
He is in good shape and starts to walk around Berlin. Many people make comments, they say that he's the best Hitler imitator they have ever seen. Hitler discovers the modern world and  is easy to use facebook and youtube - finally he makes a career in TV. The book is subtitle 'a merciless satire' and it should be understood as a satire. Still there are some elements in the book, critics called inappropriate, others just loved it. 1,4 million copies were sold in 2013, its is extremly popular amongst young people in particular. Can Hitler be a person one laughs about, even laughs with??? Find out:



  Friedrichgold4 © Bernhard