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The worst book on Berlin's history I have encountered so far.....
on 1 December 2014
Don't bother to read this book. I am still wading through it in the possibly naïve and fruitless hope that it will redeem itself in its last few pages. I really cannot understand what all the fuss is about this author's work when reading the reviews on the book's pack page. In short it is history for the lazy. If you want to read some proper history - instead of through silly narratives - then try Alexandra Richie's book 'Faust's Metropolis', even though I spotted an error in her work relating to Conrad Schumann (the East German soldier photographed jumping the barbed wire in Ruttiger Strasse). Richie's work is thorough referenced, magisterial and engaging. By contrast MacLean's is sloppy, lazy and much of it - by virtue of necessity - conjecture and extrapolation.
Frederick the Great gets some interesting treatment (try Giles MacDonagh's biog instead), if I remember correctly (I may have been dozing whilst 'reading' this chapter!) he gets Frederick's juvenile love interest's name slightly wrong. Unimpressed.
Berlin's history is incredibly engaging, but this book does it poor justice.