the next good book

Forty Autumns

By Nina Willner


355 pages

What’s it about? This is the story of one family that is separated by the Berlin Wall and endures forty autumns before the wall comes down and they are reunited.   Hanna makes a daring escape to West Germany and leaves behind her parents and her eight siblings.  Hanna goes on to marry an American Army officer and move to the United States.  Years later her daughter, Nina Willner, becomes a military intelligence officer in West Germany.  This is the story of one  family and what life was like on both sides of the wall. What did it make me think about? This book spans the time from right after World War II to the reunification of Germany.  It was fascinating to read about the transformation of one Germany into two separate countries.  Families and friends were torn apart with little chance of any real communication.  The transformation of Russian controlled Germany into East Germany was a process I had not read much about.  I am always surprised at the similarities of accounts from different communist countries. Should I read it? I thought this was an interesting book about the Cold War. Quote- “Word spread quickly that Stalin openly encouraged rape and pillage as the spoils of war, a reward for Red Army soldiers for their sacrifices and the struggles they had endured against the German Army, the Wehrmacht.”

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