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By David Downing
Soho Press, Inc. — April, 2011 ($25.00)
ISBN-13: ISBN: 978-1-56947-917-9
Reviewed by Larry Jung
POTSDAM STATION is set during the weeks before the fall of Berlin to the Soviet Army during World War II. The story is about three people caught up in the last days of World War II and the fall of Berlin. John Russell has escaped Nazi Germany leaving behind his girl friend Effi in Berlin to fend for herself. His son Paul is fighting with the German Army to delay the Soviet tidal wave racing to engulf Berlin. John flies to Moscow to find a way to get back to Berlin ahead of the Soviet Army to find Effi. Effi, hiding and living in disguise, continues to put herself in danger in order to help Jews and others escape Nazi Germany even when Germany's defeat is so near. As a soldier, Paul must struggle to stay alive while still doing his duty as a soldier despite his contempt for Hitler's fascist Germany.
David Downing has written a thriller based on the drama of common people fighting to physically, emotionally, and spiritually survive hell on earth. Effi and Paul like millions of Germans have lost control of even the simplest routines of life. Electricity, gasoline for cars, food — all severely rationed after more than four years of war. The Allied day-and-night bombing has made Berlin rubble. The populace is living in bomb shelters. Conditions for civilians and soldiers have dropped to one of bare survival, which brings out the worst and best in people.
POTSDAM STATION is the culmination of the previous "Station" books. The books form a continuous story. Though you can read each book in the series as separate, it is best to read them in order. The author is well versed in the time period, and the book is filled with vivid descriptions of people, places, and things. POSTSDAM STATION captures the mood of the irony of hopeful fatalism during the last days of World War II.
The previous books in the series:
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