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Potsdam Station Hardcover – 5 Apr 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 190 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press (5 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569479178
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569479179
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.9 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 772,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for "Potsdam Station"
"John Russell has always been in the thick of things in David Downing's powerful historical novels set largely in Berlin . . . Downing provides no platform for debate in this unsentimental novel, leaving his hero to ponder the ethics of his pragmatic choices while surveying the ground level horrors to be seen in Berlin."
--"The New York Times Book Review
"
"Reminiscent of Woody Allen's Zelig, Russell, the hero of Downing's espionage series, can't seem to resist inserting himself into climactic moments of the 20th century ... Downing has been classed in the elite company of literary spy masters Alan Furst and Philip Kerr ... that flattering comparison is generally justified. If Downing is light on character study, he's brilliant at evoking even the smallest details of wartime Berlin on its last legs.... Given the limited cast of characters, Downing must draw on almost Dickensian reserves of coincidences and close calls to sustain the suspense of his basic hide-and-seek story line. That he does ingeniously. It helps to read Downing's novels in order, but if "Potsdam Station" is your first foray into Russell's escapades, be forewarned that you may soon feel compelled to undertake a literary reconnaissance mission to retrieve and read the earlier books."
--"Washington Post"
"The echo of the Allied bombings and the crash of the boots of the invading Russians permeate the pages in which David Downing vividly does justice to the drama... The book is a reminder of what happened and those who allowed it to happen...The book lives up to the others in the Russell series, serving as yet one more reminder of a world too many have entirely forgotten."
--"Washington Times
"
"Downing is brilliant at weaving history and fiction, and this plot, with its twists and turns--all under the terrible bombardment of Berlin and the Third Reich's death throes--is as suspenseful as they come. The end, with another twist, is equall

Praise for "Potsdam Station"
A "New York Times" Notable Book
John Russell has always been in the thick of things in David Downing s powerful historical novels set largely in Berlin . . . Downing provides no platform for debate in this unsentimental novel, leaving his hero to ponder the ethics of his pragmatic choices while surveying the ground level horrors to be seen in Berlin.
"The New York Times Book Review
"
Reminiscent of Woody Allen sZelig, Russell, the hero of Downing s espionage series, can t seem to resist inserting himself into climactic moments of the 20th century ... Downing has been classed in the elite company of literary spy mastersAlan Furstand Philip Kerr ... that flattering comparison is generally justified. If Downing is light on character study, he s brilliant at evoking even the smallest details of wartime Berlin on its last legs.... Given the limited cast of characters, Downing must draw on almost Dickensian reserves of coincidences and close calls to sustain the suspense of his basic hide-and-seek story line. That he does ingeniously. It helps to read Downing s novels in order, but if "Potsdam Station" is your first foray into Russell s escapades, be forewarned that you may soon feel compelled to undertake a literary reconnaissance mission to retrieve and read the earlier books.
"Washington Post"
The echo of the Allied bombings and the crash of the boots of the invading Russians permeate the pages in which David Downing vividly does justice to the drama... The book is a reminder of what happened and those who allowed it to happen...The book lives up to the others in the Russell series, serving as yet one more reminder of a world too many have entirely forgotten.
"Washington Times
"
Downing is brilliant at weaving history and fiction, and this plot, with its twists and turns all under the terrible bombardment of Berlin and the Third Reich s death throes is as suspenseful as they come. The end, with another twist, is equally clever and unexpected.
"Toronto Globe and Mail
"
Excellent period work.
"Tulsa World
"
The main attraction is the tragic mis-en-scene of a once-beautiful city undergoing the ravages of modern warfare, a wide-angle synthesis of scenes and snapshots from the history books. A wide canvas painted with broad strokes.
"Kirkus Reviews
"
Gripping ... Downing convincingly portrays the final days of the Nazis in power, and his characters are rich enough to warrant a continuation of their stories, even after the war.
"Publishers Weekly
"
Praise for the John Russell Series:
"Epic in scope, Mr. Downing's "Station" cycle creates a fictional universe rich with a historian's expertise but rendered with literary style and heart."
" The Wall Street Journal"
Will have readers clamoring for a sequel.
"BookPage"
""
An extraordinary evocation of Nazi Germany on the eve of war, the smell of cruelty seeping through the clean modern surface.
C. J. Sansom, author of "Revelation"
""
Wonderful . Downing s mingling of history and thrills makes this a must read.
"Rocky Mountain News"
""
A beautifully crafted and compelling thriller with a heart-stopping ending as John Russell learns the personal faces of good and evil. An unforgettable read.
Charles Todd, author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge Series
An atmospheric tale.
"St. Petersburg Times"

"From the Hardcover edition."" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Downing grew up in suburban London. He is the author of numerous books for adults and children, including four novels featuring Anglo-American journalist John Russell. He lives with his wife, an American acupuncturist, in Guildford, England.

"From the Hardcover edition." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I greatly enjoyed the three previous *Station* novels and ordered this early. I was a little disconcerted to read that the action has skipped across some three years, and that this installment brings together all the key protagonists as the Reich contracts to its core, Berlin.

This must have been a challenge to write. Downing has to orchestrate his characters, bringing Russell back from the US and his son back from Russia. The latter is simple--he retreats; the former is more complex and while plausible, it ratchets up the plot to a higher level of physical action than the series has seen before.

I thought I had seen and read enough about Berlin in 1945 to get a sense of time and place, but this account takes the challenge of survival to a whole new level. The noise, smells and sights are piled on, almost to breaking point--as indeed they were for the German population, waiting either to vanquish their enemies at the last moment, or instead to die.

By the last third of the book, I was virtually unable to read ahead or put the book down--the tension was almost too much. It seemed impossible that the characters could survive the SS, the Red Army or the USAF bombs (and of course in reality many did not]. As the Thousand Year Reich shrank to a city, then a few districts, the characters are aligned, find each other, lose each other and .....well, you need to read it yourself!

I can't say this was a fun summer read. It stepped well beyond the minimal action of Alan Furst and Phillip Kerr and offered up a true inferno of intense experience. It would be a shame if David Downing now abandoned these people after investing so much in them; just as Bernard Gunther has become more interesting after 1945, I hope we get to see what happens to this cast in the post-war world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The third in David Downing's "Station" series featuring John Russell is as every bit as engrossing as its predecessors. It will help readers to read them in the correct sequence, but each is an excellent book in its own right.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS!!
It is now late 1941 and America is on the verge of entering the War. John Russell, American passport holder, journalist and sometime spy-of-sorts, clings onto life in Berlin because of his actress girlfriend and his son. It is an increasingly desperate Berlin which Downing evokes. It is dark, it smells, it is subjected to not-very-effective night time bombing raids from the RAF. We know, of course, that things will get much worse for the German capital, and the fate of those Russell leaves behind when he escapes at the end of the book is something we cannot predict. Perhaps there is more to come in the series, although as an American citizen Russell would be an enemy of Germany's from here on in and it will tax even the imagination of this excellent writer to find a way of returning his chief protagonist to Hitler's Germany.

Once again Downing rights with his usual flashes of wry and often bitter humour as he describes life in Nazi Germany, on the verge of its long and awful slide to annihilation. It is splendidly detailed - the description of human waste emanating from a train carrying Russian prisoners is one example - and it leaves with a clear idea of what everyday life was like in the hellhole of 1941 Berlin.

Russell's dawning realization of what the Nazis have in mind for Europe's Jews horrifies us even though it is nothing we don't already know.
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By J. E. Parry VINE VOICE on 4 July 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the third in the Joihn Russell series from Downing. Like te previous 2 (Zoo & Silesian Stations) this is set in Berlin, here in the run up to Pearl Harbour.

Russell is an English journalist, with an American passport, working in Nazi Berlin in order stay with his actress girlfriend and close to his half German son. He is an ex-communist who hates the Nazi party for what they have done to the Berlin that he loves.

This book os set in the few weeks leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and follows Russell as he tries to find out what is happening to the city's disappearing Jewish population. This leads him and his girlfriend into danger.

At the same time he is being used as a pawn by the US intelligence services and the Abwehr and SD. He has to stay one step ahead of everyone while trying to find a way to protect his loved ones from the Nazis and a way to stay close to them if America comes into the war.

This is full of atmosphere. You can feel wartime Berlin asyou read every page. The conflict between Nazi propaganda and the experience of everyday Germans. There is the way that the news is massaged to hide what is starting to happen in Russia as the army surrounds Moscow. You feel that victory is a short step away, even though you already know the result.

The story flows quickly and there is danger at almost every turn. Russell is hunted after a mission to Prague for the Abwehr is found to be a ruse by the SD to find a conspiracy in the Abwehr's ranks.

The end is a little contrived and makes you wonder how the series can continue, maybe it'll move onto the war's end and Germany's demise next but you never feel let down or cheated.
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