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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pictures of Berlin during a turbulent century., 8 April 2001
By 
"talanf" (Overland Park, Kansas United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Berlin Then and Now (Hardcover)
As a trained historian, I have always felt that I probably should not relish the pictures in the books I purchase as much as I do. But, there it is. In my opinion, ANY history or biography can be improved by a good selection of photographs or drawings. As a student of German and military histroy, few places have interested me as much as Berlin. For years I wondered what the city looked like. This was particularly so when reading about the last days of World War II and the postwar period. No book has ever filled a "need" better than "Berlin Then and Now."
The author, Tony Le Tissier, is a retired British Army officer who served (in a civilian capacity) as the last British Governor of Spandau Allied Prision. After his tour of duty ended with the death of Rudof Hess, Le Tissier stayed in Berlin as a writer and historian. He has created a great tribute to the city he obviously loves.
The "Berlin Then and Now" is particularly valuable (and made far more interesting) because of the many maps that are included (again, now and then) as well as building layouts, such as the German Army Office on Bendlerstrasse (the center of the July 20, 1944 plot against Hitler).
Le Tissier takes the reader on a tour of Berlin and shows him/her how the city has evolved over the years. For example, despite Allied bombing and comunist destruction, many parts of the city remain similar to their appearance over a century ago. From the Unter den Linden, the Kronprinz Palais, Neue Wache, Cathedral and the Zeghaus look remarkably the same. Even the clock tower of the Berlin City Hall is visible. Unfortunatley the tower no longer peaks out over the Schloss but rather over the East German People's Palace. The Lichterfeld Barracks are shown as they looked in 1920 as well as druing the Nazi period and later as American Army Headquarters. No matter how much one reads about the damage caused by the Allied bombing and Russian shelling of Berlin, it is hard to belive the destruction portrayed by the picutres. Paradoxically, it is amazing how many buildings--the Schloss, Reich Chancellery, Air Ministry and the Olympic Complex, to name a few--were damaged to varrying degrees but survived. Some were later torn down for political reasons (the Scholss and Chancellery) while others found new lives (the Air Ministry and the Olympic Complex). The Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue survived Kristallnacht and British bombing to be restored as a Jewish culture museum.
Only parts of some structures were retained post-war. The communists completed the demolition of the Kaiser Wilhelm I Memorial except for its base and steps. They were incorporated into the entrance to the GDR Foreign Ministry. Parts of the 1912 German Opera House were used in its reconstruction but the building is basically unrecognizable from its original form.
But as good as the pictures and drawings are (and they are wonderful), Le Tissier's meticulous text and captions mark "Berlin Then and Now" as a noteworthy history book and not just a collection of pictures. The text and the pictures melded particularly well in the author's vivid description of the Battle of Berlin. Le Tissier does justice to the heroism and sacrifice of the Red Army. Similarly, the post-war division and reunification of the city are covered in great detail.
When the German Republic voted to move its capital from Bonn back to Berlin, many people of goodwill both in and out of Germany objected strenuously. After reading "Berlin Then and Now," the reader will understand that Berlin's unique standing in the history of Germany, Europe and the world made the move both natural and inevitable.
I cannot rate this book too highly. This is a "MUST BUY" for your library.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pricy but fascinating book for all interested in WW2 history, 27 Aug. 2007
By 
This review is from: Berlin Then and Now (Hardcover)
Looking at modern Berlin today after looking at these wartime pictures it's hard to believe it's the same city. One looks down Oranienburger Strasse today and sees lots of smiling happy tourists and locals eating, drinking and enjoying themselves. Then one looks at a black and white picture of the same place in May 1945, one or two buildings clearly recognizable as the original structures, the street strewn with the bodies of several soldiers and a burnt-out armoured car, men from the Waffen SS Division Nordland who were apparently mowed down as they attempted to escape from the vehicle. Over 60 years ago, long-forgotten life and death struggles were taking place right here in the midst of what is now a tourist paradise. The contrast is just incredible. And walking along Vosstrasse looking at the apartment blocks now built over the former Führerbunker and Reich Chancellory, who can help wondering what the residents think of living over what was once the centre of the Third Reich, and how many of them aren't even aware of the fact.

Tony Le Tissier did a good job in locating some of these places in the modern Berlin, as so much was subsequently bombed after many of the pictures were taken, and many buildings having been rebuilt or having undergone major renovations. Here and there the pockmarks of bullet-holes or shrapnel on the sides of buildings are still evident, and in some outlying suburbs there are still deserted buildings which still show signs of the heavy fighting, but much has been renewed in the new Berlin since the fall of the Wall, the Socialist authorities not having done much since the war in the way of renovation. My first flat, in the old East Berlin, still had on old half-burnt down building behind it, not in use and overgrown with plants as no-one had the funds for renovation. These are now being cleaned up, but history is disappearing, despite the efforts of German archaeologists to preserve some evidence of Berlin's recent history. I noticed that when the major railway station and sidings at Yorckstrasse were rebuilt a few years ago, the heavily pockmarked lower part of the concrete wall facing the main street was deliberately left as is instead of being replaced too. Interesting even if you never visit Berlin, if you do you'll find the book makes a walk around the city a lot more interesting.
Update May 2010 - it was pricy when I bought it some years ago, but now it's sold at a reduced price it's quite good value for money, a sturdy, well-bound leather book printed on high-quality glossy paper.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars berlin, 10 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Berlin Then and Now (Hardcover)
the book was all i expected good reading and first class photos of berlin,it was everything the seller had described.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb book on 20th Century Berlin, 27 Mar. 2014
By 
Doug Struthers "DougS" (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Berlin Then and Now (Hardcover)
This book contains countless archive and new photographs of Berlin taken in the same lcoations. Excellent focus on World War 2 and the Cold War era. Well written brief histories accompany the photos. A highly recommended book for those interested in World, German, and Berlin history of the Twentieth Century.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent illustrations. A really good read especially for those ..., 2 July 2014
This review is from: Berlin Then and Now (Hardcover)
Well written, excellent illustrations. A really good read especially for those of you interested in history. Bought this for my husband who served in the forces in Berlin in 1949 and he is delighted with it. Highly recommended.
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Berlin Then and Now
Berlin Then and Now by Tony Le Tissier (Hardcover - 15 Nov. 1992)
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