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Roads to Berlin [Hardcover]

Cees Nooteboom , Laura Watkinson
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: £20.00
Price: £15.48 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

27 Sep 2012

Roads to Berlin maps the changing landscape of Germany, from the period before the fall of the Wall to the present. Written and updated over the course of several decades, an eyewitness account of the pivotal events of 1989 gives way to a perceptive appreciation of its difficult passage to reunification.

Nooteboom's writings on politics, people, architecture and culture are as digressive as they are eloquent; his innate curiosity takes him through the landscapes of Heine and Goethe, steeped in Romanticism and mythology, and to Germany's baroque cities. With an outsider's objectivity he has crafted an intimate portrait of the country to its present day.


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Roads to Berlin + From Germany to Germany: Diary 1990
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (27 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857050265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857050267
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.4 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 491,446 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'It is a wonderful voyage of self-discovery, and a psychological exploration of a nation in turmoil' Financial Times.

'a luxurious detour in the lands and history of Germany' Metro.

'Nooteboom wears his erudition lightly, and weaves personal anecdote into memorable reportage' Sunday Telegraph.

'writerly, abstract, walled off in his head ... He reminds us how fast the communist world fell apart, with unimaginable reversals of fortune' Literary Review.

'There is a melancholy in his writing and a nostalgia for the past, both of which are very German - or at least used to be' Spectator.

'His Berlin reportage, from a 1963 Khrushchev rally in East Berlin to the tearing down of the Palast der Republik, brilliantly captures the intensity of the capital and its 'associated layers of memory' The Economist.

'demanding, thorough and quite invaluable to those who want the opportunity to inform themselves before contemplating what the future holds for Central and Eastern Europe' Bookbag.

From the Inside Flap

In 1989, Cees Nooteboom was living in Berlin, where he witnessed one of the most significant turning points in twentieth-century history. Roads to Berlin maps the changing landscape of a country he has been writing about ever since, his account of the pivotal events of 1989 giving way to a perceptive appreciation of Germany's difficult passage to reunification. Nooteboom's writings on people, politics, architecture and culture are as eloquent as they are digressive; his innate curiosity takes him through the landscapes of Heine and Goethe, steeped in Romanticism and mythology, and to Germany's baroque cities. The volume is sensitively illustrated by Simone Sassen's photographs, taken over the same period. With an outsider's objectivity Nooteboom has crafted an intimate portrait of the country to its present day.


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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I am fascinated by 20th century history and especially by eyewitness reports covering that period. Berlin is now the capital of a country which for me is just a stone's throw away but still remained quite an elusive big neighbour. While visiting a local bookstore just to pass some time my attention was grabbed by the title of this book and out of curiosity I started to read the first pages to see wether the style of the writing appealed to me. Something I had to do since it had been quite a long time ago since I read anything with a literary / poetic inclination. But within a few pages I was gripped by the narrative and observations. Cees Nooteboom was a guest of this city at a crucial point in time, something he at the beginning of his stay really couldn't have foreseen. He was a witness, but at the same time a distant spectator, of the events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall. He took us on this journey in which he confronts this city, its history and the effect it has had on his, Nooteboom's, personal history.

This book has on the one hand a very light touch in its style of writing (at times you read through pages at a lightning speed), almost poetic but on the other hand there were moments it was quite heavy handed and filled with literary references with which I had no connection or were even totally unknown to me. Luckily those moments were fleeting and they didn't detracted from the pleasure I had in reading his observations. In fact, it has made me even more curious about this virtually unknown neighbour of mine and has also rekindled my urge to visit this fascinating city again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary writer 12 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well known in many countries, but perhaps not well enough in the UK! A superb writer, historian - and philosopher in that grand European tradition. This narrative about Germany pre and post the Wall taught me so much about Europe and where it may or might go. It makes the current concerns in the UK about Europe seem, well really, pathetic! A new vision ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Journey worth taking 10 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A thoughtful, wonderful, penetrating work of art, written with enviable grace and wisdom
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a disappointment. 8 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Disappointing, all rather repetitive in spite of what the reviews said. The organisation of the book seemed to lack structure.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to read 30 Nov 2013
By jmkj
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not able to review the contents as I was unable to open the tightly bound book sufficiently to be able to read what was between the covers. I really mean to return it and get my money back!
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