"Leaving Berlin" by Joseph Kanon: a book review by Endre Barath, Jr.
The Berlin Airlift is under way…..you open the book and the next thing you know is you cannot put it down. Someone who has read John LeCare’, Frederick Forsyth, and Olin Steinhauer to name a few spy novel gurus, now I am a fan of Joseph Kanon. This book is such a page turner, there is a Santa Monica & Los Angeles connection with the expatriate German authors, Communism, Red Scare, Nazis and of course the CIA.
As you read this book you are not really reading, you are in the midst of all these events, you are living it. Someone who has been to West and East Berlin and combined Berlin you make the connection of walking or driving around Berlin. Joseph Kanon places you in the middle, best case scenario you are an invisible passenger.
This book also gives you a feel of the conditions after the destruction of World War Two. The rubble of buildings, the shortage of food, in other words, the human condition after the Big War. It delves into the politics of communism in East Berlin and how it is not as rosy as it looks from a liberal perspective sitting in Santa Monica, CA. The book portrays the fear of the citizens who just went through period of Nazi abuse, now they are experiencing the Russian and Communist mistrust.
Even though Joseph Kanon covers a lot of heavy subjects it is a fast paced, spy novel that I could not put down. If you love Spy Novels and have a couple days off this book is for you!
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