100 books like A Princess In Berlin

By Arthur R. G. Solmssen,

Here are 100 books that A Princess In Berlin fans have personally recommended if you like A Princess In Berlin. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Moon Brow

Geoffrey Fox Author Of Rabble! A Story of the Paris Commune

From my list on fiction on revolutionary social change.

Why am I passionate about this?

Chicago-born and now living in Spain, I was a community organizer in South America and the US before earning a PhD in sociology and becoming a college professor and author. I’ve written five nonfiction books and articles for publications including The New York Times, The Nation, Counterpunch, etc. Of my collection of short stories, Welcome to My Contri, the NY Times Book Review said that it “leaves us aware that we are in the presence of a formidable new writer.” In Rabble! I’ve called on my organizing experience as well as analysis and fiction to bring to life the actors in the first worker-run, self-governing society in the modern world.

Geoffrey's book list on fiction on revolutionary social change

Geoffrey Fox Why did Geoffrey love this book?

Moon Brow describes the social tensions between ideals of freedom, religion, and authoritarianism that provoked Iran’s 1978 revolution, but only increased under Islamic rule. Amir, a formerly rich, wild playboy, flogged by the morality police after a drunken orgy, joins the army to escape shame and find meaning for his life in the brutal and futile 10-year war against Iraq. Commanding artillery in the borderland, he encounters the mysterious, sprite-like woman he calls “Moon Brow,” who, after an Iraqi shell maims him, becomes a magical force in his PTSD hallucinations. Her true identity will come as a rebuke for his comparatively pointless existence, while his sister’s spurning of her rich, pretentious suitor will be another rebuke, of his machismo. A brilliant evocation of the illusions that sustain violence.

By Shahriar Mandanipour, Sara Khalili (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moon Brow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From “one of Iran's most important living fiction writers” (The Guardian) comes a fantastically imaginative story of love and war narrated by two angel scribes perched on the shoulders of a shell-shocked Iranian soldier who’s searching for the mysterious woman haunting his dreams.

Before he enlisted as a soldier in the Iran–Iraq War and disappeared, Amir Yamini was a carefree playboy whose only concerns were seducing women and riling his religious family. Five years later, his mother and sister Reyhaneh find him in a mental hospital for shell-shocked soldiers, his left arm and most of his memory lost. Amir is…


Book cover of Gate of the Sun

Anne Irfan Author Of Refuge and Resistance: Palestinians and the International Refugee System

From my list on Palestinian refugees.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian at University College London, where I examine Palestinian refugee history in both my writing and my teaching. I first visited a Palestinian refugee camp 15 years ago, and I’ve spent much of my life since then researching the subject’s history and politics. As I see it, this topic is really the key to understanding the political dynamics of Israel-Palestine today. While a huge amount has been written on Israel-Palestine, I have always found that the most striking and informative works focus on refugees’ own experiences – and that’s the common thread running through the books I’ve chosen here.

Anne's book list on Palestinian refugees

Anne Irfan Why did Anne love this book?

Gate of the Sun is one of the most acclaimed novels about the so-called “question of Palestine.”

Although fictional, it hews closely to real life; the author Elias Khoury, a Lebanese writer, was informed by the extensive time he spent talking to Palestinian refugees in various camps. The book is set in Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon and has an epic scope, weaving together different characters’ experiences of displacement and exile and spanning six decades from the 1930s to the 1990s.

Along the way, we engage with some of the most pivotal moments in recent Palestinian history: the original displacement of 1948 (known as the Nakba); the Arab defeat of 1967; the 1982 massacre in Sabra and Shatila camps. Epic in every sense.

By Elias Khoury, Humphrey Davies (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Gate of the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Notable Book of the Year

“An imposingly rich and realistic novel, a genuine masterwork” that vividly captures the Palestinian experience following the creation of the Israeli state (New York Times Book Review)
 
After Palestine is torn apart in 1948, two men remain alone in a deserted makeshift hospital in the Shatila camp on the outskirts of Beirut—entering a vast world of displacement, fear, and tenuous hope.
 
Khalil holds vigil at the bedside of his patient and spiritual father, a storied leader of the Palestinian resistance who has slipped into a coma. As Khalil attempts to revive Yunes,…


Book cover of Libra

Geoffrey Fox Author Of Rabble! A Story of the Paris Commune

From my list on fiction on revolutionary social change.

Why am I passionate about this?

Chicago-born and now living in Spain, I was a community organizer in South America and the US before earning a PhD in sociology and becoming a college professor and author. I’ve written five nonfiction books and articles for publications including The New York Times, The Nation, Counterpunch, etc. Of my collection of short stories, Welcome to My Contri, the NY Times Book Review said that it “leaves us aware that we are in the presence of a formidable new writer.” In Rabble! I’ve called on my organizing experience as well as analysis and fiction to bring to life the actors in the first worker-run, self-governing society in the modern world.

Geoffrey's book list on fiction on revolutionary social change

Geoffrey Fox Why did Geoffrey love this book?

Libra is a chillingly realistic novel that re-imagines the assassination of John F. Kennedy. What particularly delighted me was the very realistic-sounding dialogue of the very dissimilar actors in the rambling, uncoordinated but ultimately successful conspiracy, including right-wing Aryan-nation types, non-ideological drifters desperate to leave a mark on history, and (in this version) mobsters and Cuban exile terrorists who blamed Kennedy for the "loss" of Cuba. DeLillo’s renderings of Jack Ruby’s mobster lingo, the uptight tersely coded grunts of the CIA men, the incoherencies of revolutionary wannabe Lee Harvey Oswald and others, are a model of dialogue for any fiction writer.  

By Don DeLillo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Libra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A reconstruction of the events leading up to John Kennedy's assassination. The antihero of the book is, of course, Lee Harvey Oswald, who is as hauntingly real in this novel as he was elusive to us in real life.


Book cover of The Man Who Loved Dogs

Geoffrey Fox Author Of Rabble! A Story of the Paris Commune

From my list on fiction on revolutionary social change.

Why am I passionate about this?

Chicago-born and now living in Spain, I was a community organizer in South America and the US before earning a PhD in sociology and becoming a college professor and author. I’ve written five nonfiction books and articles for publications including The New York Times, The Nation, Counterpunch, etc. Of my collection of short stories, Welcome to My Contri, the NY Times Book Review said that it “leaves us aware that we are in the presence of a formidable new writer.” In Rabble! I’ve called on my organizing experience as well as analysis and fiction to bring to life the actors in the first worker-run, self-governing society in the modern world.

Geoffrey's book list on fiction on revolutionary social change

Geoffrey Fox Why did Geoffrey love this book?

This is a vivid reimagining of the Stalinist plot to assassinate Leon Trotsky, ultimately successful in 1940, and its repercussions in the Communist world. Iván, a frustrated Cuban writer, discovers this story, suppressed in Cuba, when he meets an aged foreigner walking his Russian greyhounds. Sensing a mystery like Raymond Chandler’s The Man Who Liked Dogs, Iván teases information from the man, who turns out to be Ramón Mercader (b. Barcelona, 1913), Trotsky’s assassin.

We also follow Trotsky’s precarious exile in Turkey, Europe, and finally Mexico, his marital and other conflicts and his inability to protect his sons and ultimately himself from murder—and how Mercader, a fervent Communist idealist, is turned by his Stalinist masters into the robot-like agent programed to infiltrate Trotsky’s circle and kill him.

By Leonardo Padura, Anna Kushner (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man Who Loved Dogs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gripping novel about the assassination of Leon Trotsky in Mexico City in 1940

In The Man Who Loved Dogs, Leonardo Padura brings a noir sensibility to one of the most fascinating and complex political narratives of the past hundred years: the assassination of Leon Trotsky by Ramón Mercader.

The story revolves around Iván Cárdenas Maturell, who in his youth was the great hope of modern Cuban literature—until he dared to write a story that was deemed counterrevolutionary. When we meet him years later in Havana, Iván is a loser: a humbled and defeated man with a quiet, unremarkable life…


Book cover of Berlin! Berlin! Dispatches From The Weimar Republic

Peter Wortsman Author Of Ghost Dance in Berlin: A Rhapsody in Gray

From my list on capturing the spirit of Berlin.

Why am I passionate about this?

The American-born son of Jewish refugees, I would have every reason to revile the erstwhile capital of The Third Reich. But ever since my first visit, as a Fulbright Fellow in 1973, Berlin, a city painfully honest about its past, captured my imagination. A bilingual, English-German author of fiction, nonfiction, plays, poetry, travel memoir, and translations from the German, Ghost Dance in Berlin charts my take as a Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in a villa on Wannsee, Berlin’s biggest lake, an experience marked by memorable encounters with derelicts, lawyers, a taxi driver, a hooker, et al, and with cameo appearances by Henry Kissinger and the ghost of Marlene Dietrich.

Peter's book list on capturing the spirit of Berlin

Peter Wortsman Why did Peter love this book?

Kurt Tucholsky’s books were among the first to be banned and burned by the Nazis. And with good reason. A Jewish journalist of a left-leaning bent with a tart tongue and an acid wit, Tucholsky, who "wanted to stop a catastrophe with his typewriter," as per his contemporary, Erich Kästner, represented everything the Nazis sought to eradicate. Tucholsky tapped the anarchic spirit of 1920s Berlin just as painter Georg Grosz captured its bloated, pock-marked face. Berlin! Berlin! Dispatches from the Weimar Republic contain a representative sampling of Tucholsky’s pithiest texts. A forerunner of flash fiction, his concise writing style, and tongue-in-cheek tone are harbingers of new journalism and among the many influences on my own writing. 

By Kurt Tucholsky, Cindy Opitz (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Berlin! Berlin! Dispatches From The Weimar Republic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Berlin! Berlin! is a satirical selection from the man with the acid pen and the perfect pitch for hypocrisy, who was as much the voice of 1920s Berlin as Georg Grosz was its face. It shines a light on the Weimar Republic and the post-World WarI struggle, which fore¬shadowed the Third Reich. Kurt Tucholsky was a brilliant satirist, poet, storyteller, lyricist, pacifist, and Democrat; a fighter, lady's man, reporter, and early warner against the Nazis who hated and loathed him and drove him out of his country. He was a "small, fat Berliner," who "wanted to stop a catastrophe with…


Book cover of No Place to Lay One's Head

Clare Harvey Author Of The Escape

From my list on WW2 memoirs by brave and remarkable women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m endlessly fascinated by the stories of young women from the WW2 era, who came of age at the moment the world was torn apart. As an author of wartime historical fiction with strong female characters, it’s vital for me to understand the experience of ordinary women who grew up in such extraordinary times, so I’m always on the hunt for real voices from the era. I’d love to think that in similar circumstances I’d face my challenges with the same humour, resourcefulness, bravery, and humanity as my favourite five female memoirists selected for you here.

Clare's book list on WW2 memoirs by brave and remarkable women

Clare Harvey Why did Clare love this book?

This incredible memoir reads like a thriller. Polish-born Francoise ran a Berlin bookshop until she was forced to flee from Nazi persecution, first to Paris, then to Southern France. The term ‘unputdownable’ is a terrible cliché, but was literally the case for me with this breathtaking story of escape and survival. Clear your diary before you open the covers of this compelling book.

By Francoise Frenkel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Place to Lay One's Head as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1921, Francoise Frenkel - a Jewish woman from Poland - opens her first bookshop in Berlin. It is a dream come true. The dream lasts nearly two decades. Then suddenly, it ends.

It ends after police confiscations and the Night of Broken Glass, as Jewish shops and businesses are smashed to pieces. It ends when no one protests. So Francoise flees to France, just weeks before war breaks out.

In Paris, on the wireless and in the newspapers, horror has made itself at home. When the city is bombed, Francoise seeks refuge in Avignon, then Nice. She fears she…


Book cover of Stolen Legacy: Nazi Theft and the Quest for Justice at Krausenstrasse 17/18, Berlin

John R. Cammidge Author Of Abandoned in Berlin: A True Story

From my list on describing restitution experiences after WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

World War 2 has always interested me and my curiosity was strengthened a few years ago when my mother told me I was born illegitimate and my father had been the civil engineer building a nearby bomber airfield and a lodger with her parents. She was ashamed of what happened and lost contact with my father before I was born. Consequently, I wrote my first novel Unplanned. I then met the daughter of the Berlin mother in Abandoned in Berlin, and found it natural to pursue this story, given what I had discovered about my own upbringing. The effort has taught me to seek to forgive but never to forget.

John's book list on describing restitution experiences after WW2

John R. Cammidge Why did John love this book?

A true account of how the Nazis confiscated a Berlin business property belonging to a Jewish family and the actions taken to secure restitution. The story has a twist in that the claim for restitution could not be made until after 1989 because the building is located in the Soviet sector of the city.

The property was the business headquarters for a fur company and parts of it were leased. In 1937, the Victoria Insurance Company forecloses on the mortgage and transferred ownership of the building to Hitler’s railway system. The granddaughter investigates her ancestry and the way the building was lost, and then takes up the fight to obtain restitution. After several disappointments, she is successful.

I enjoyed the storyline because it is remarkably similar to what happens in my book. It provides another perspective of how the Nazis confiscated Jewish property, and only by reading books like this…

By Dina Gold,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Stolen Legacy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This former BBC journalist's passionate search for justice is a suspenseful confrontation with World War II history. A fascinating journey." Anne-Marie O'Connor, national bestselling author of The Lady in Gold Dina Gold grew up hearing her grandmother's tales of the glamorous life in Berlin she once led before the Nazis came to power and her dreams of recovering a huge building she claimed belonged to the family - though she had no papers to prove ownership. When the Wall fell in 1989, Dina decided to battle for restitution. When the Third Reich was defeated in 1945 the building lay in…


Book cover of Grosz

Mark William Roche Author Of Beautiful Ugliness: Christianity, Modernity, and the Arts

From my list on Books that examine beauty and ugliness.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fields at the University of Notre Dame, where I teach and do research, are philosophy and literature, and I have often been attracted to broader questions. I found ugliness to be a topic of considerable fascination, also for students, and yet it has almost never been addressed. I wrote the book to discover for myself what ugliness is and what it has to do with beauty.

Mark's book list on Books that examine beauty and ugliness

Mark William Roche Why did Mark love this book?

George Grosz was the first great artist I encountered whose works were both strikingly powerful and deeply ugly. Grosz portrayed the ugliness of the Germans during the period before Hitler’s ascent.

His works are intentionally disordered. Yet the combination of ugly content and dissonant form work together, such that on a higher level, form and content are in harmony.

Grosz painted intemperance, gluttony, lust, and unbridled power as the driving forces of society. He was a master at showing us the ugliness of the ugly. The book offers an excellent combination of images and text, with an appropriate focus on the Weimar years.

By Ivo Kranzfelder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grosz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German


Book cover of Blood Brothers

Catherine Hokin Author Of The Secretary

From my list on stories set in Berlin.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with the history-soaked city of Berlin where my novels are set since a school exchange trip as a teenager. It was the border that did it. Machine guns, dog runs, barbed wire, watchtowers. They were daunting. More striking still was our guide’s story about her sister who lived on the other side in the East. They were barely a mile apart but hadn’t seen each other in the twenty years since the Wall went up. I’ve been back many times since and have had a passion for German history from that day, particularly for the experiences of its people who have lived through such turbulent times.

Catherine's book list on stories set in Berlin

Catherine Hokin Why did Catherine love this book?

I stumbled on this novel when I was looking for something else (a common writers’ problem). It was written in 1932 and banned the next year by the Nazis and is set amongst the gangs of young men struggling to survive in a harsh and desperately impoverished Berlin. The descriptions of the hard side of the city are brilliantly drawn and the characters are so real you long for their lives to improve even when you know there is almost no hope of it. Haffner was a social worker who clearly knew Berlin’s streets well. To add to the poignancy of his writing, nothing is known about his fate beyond a summons before a Nazi tribunal in the late 1930s. After that, he disappears. I really hope his book doesn’t.

By Ernst Haffner, Michael Hofmann (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blood Brothers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Blood Brothers is the only known novel by German social worker and journalist Ernst Haffner, of whom nearly all traces were lost during the course of the Second World War. Told in stark, unsparing detail, Haffner's story delves into the illicit underworld of Berlin on the eve of Hitler's rise to power, describing how these blood brothers move from one petty crime to the next, spending their nights in underground bars and makeshift hostels, struggling together to survive the harsh realities of gang life, and finding in one another the legitimacy denied them by society.


Book cover of The Second World War

Adam Nevill Author Of Lost Girl

From my list on Armageddon and our fascination with it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm continually asked why I write horror. But I wonder why every writer isn't writing horror. Not a day passes without me being aghast at the world and my own species, the present, past and future. Though nor do I stop searching for a sense of awe and wonder in the world either. My Dad read ghost stories to me as a kid and my inner tallow candle was lit. The flame still burns. Horror has always been the fiction I have felt compelled to write in order to process the world, experience, observation, my imaginative life. I've been blessed with a good readership and have entered my third decade as a writer of horrors. In that time two of my novels have been adapted into films and the British Fantasy Society has kindly recognised my work with five awards, one for Best Collection and four for Best Novel. I'm in this for the long haul and aim to be creating horror on both page and screen for some time to come.

Adam's book list on Armageddon and our fascination with it

Adam Nevill Why did Adam love this book?

It's too easy to dismiss the Second World War. To relegate that epochal conflict into realms of ancient history, action films, kitset models, unread Father's day gifts, and black & white footage. But we all live through the consequences of this epic global struggle. This was the last time western civilisation brought itself close to destruction and it was a close call. 60 million lives were lost and no one died easily. The war was also raging just shy of 80 years ago. In the scheme of human history, that's recent.

Beevor's history of the global conflict - and it was global - is a page-turning affair. Vivid, engaging, heartbreaking, shocking. Really fine storytelling and a first class history, encompassing the great conflicts of east and west (China's experience of the war is much overlooked in the west but not in these pages). I found myself engrossed by this monumental…

By Antony Beevor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Second World War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A magisterial, single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by our foremost military historian.

The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific and from…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Berlin, Jewish history, and presidential biography?

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