I was living in Berlin as an American military dependent during the time period that this book examines. I was horrified to learn how close we came, those of us living in West Berlin and going about our daily lives, to being vaporized by the Russians. I must have sensed the anxiety because I remember vividly asking my father on a regular basis "If we went to war with the Russians, who would win?" I remember the question. I do not remember the answer. My father was the commanding officer of AFN Berlin, the American Forces Network radio station at the time. We had no TV. We only had the radio. I remember all the circumstances described in the book. I was largely unaware of the context. Indeed, I was in East Berlin on a "tour" with my sister and a Swedish cousin who was visiting, one week before the wall went up. I was actually in Sweden visiting relatives with my parents the day the wall went up on August 13, 1961. I remember vividly the trek thru the Eastern Germany and the Checkpoint like a Hitchcock movie. We hurried back to West Berlin as my two younger brothers were still in the city in the care of a babysitter. My father is no longer alive to discuss these events with me so I only have the memories of the time and the conversations we had about those events. I found this book to be so insightful albeit terrifying. It is so frightening to learn after the fact how close to the front line we were living (for 5 years!) unaware of the danger we were in. Berlin, its charm and its drama had such an effect on all of the Americans that lived through those days that we have "found" each other and formed a group, a collective it you will. The experience defines us like no other experience has. Mr. Kempe did an outstanding job bringing those days to life again.... in all their triumph and fear. Reading the book I felt in a way that family secrets were being revealed. Enjoyed this book immensely and have recommended it hi
The narrator attempted to do several accents. If I were from Yorkshire, I would have been offended. Just because someone has an accent is no reason to make them sound stupid. The regular narration was so soft, I had to turn the volume way up. Even then, I could hardly hear it. But the "accents" were so loud and horrible that the dialogue seemed as if it were being yelled. Even the poor two year old screamed every single word of her dialogue. All in all, a ridiculous circus that really detracted from the book.
No one spins a tale quite like Bryce Courtenay. Add Humphrey Bower's narration and you have true magic. Bower is masterful doing all the accents for the multiple nationalities of Courtenay's characters. The two are forever linked in my mind. I waited quite awhile for Audible to offer the Persimmon Tree so I could read this two book series in order. It was well worth the wait. As always with Courtenay, in addition to a great story, you get a bit of history from the other side of the world. This wonderful story takes place during WW II in the South Pacific and brings all the human drama of that time to the listener with wonderful detail. Part of the story was a bit reminiscent of "Geisha". Loved listening to this and am looking forward to "Fishing for Stars" next.
I loved this book and the narrator was wonderful, capuring perfectly the voice of its precocious main character. I went on to listen to the second book and like that one equally as wekk. I look forward to more in this series.
First I will admit that I didn't have really high hopes for this novel but was looking for something less serious to read. The premise seemed interesting. I found the novel to be very short on character development. So much so, that I failed to form an attachment to even one of the characters. I felt as though I were listening to the abridged version. No excitement. No surprises. I also expected a more thorough wrap-up. Plus let me say that I was shocked that the reader failed to know how to pronounce Edward R. Murrow's name. Seriously? and Messerschmidtt? How could that be possible?
My children are grown and I have no grandchildren to use as an excuse to listen to books intended for a younger audience so I will just have to make this my guilty pleasure. I loved this book and the narration was wonderful. I usually shy away from authors reading thier own works. This is the ultimate exception. Mr Gaiman's narration was spot on. The characters are all so charming. What a fun read! I hated to see it end. Can't wait to listen to more of his books.
I loved this unusual book and the way in which it made me stop and consider life and all its quirks. I kept trying to imagine what I would have done in similar circumstances. What a great premise for a book. I hope indeed that they make it into a movie. What a fun book to read (hear).
I listened to this but read the book. Very disappointed in the abridgement but the book itself is fantastic! Quite an eye opener. I learned enough to feel as though even I could make better decisions than Rumsfeld. He reminds me (sad to say) of the egomaniac CEO my company recently retired. How fortunate we are that he will be gone very soon. The book puts the whole mess into very clear perspective. As a daughter of a vetran of three wars I am sensitive to unnessesary military involvement. My prayers are with our troops whose welfare Rumsfeld has ignored. I hope that the entire Democratic party (house and senate) reads this book. Members of both parties should take note. I don't normally read political books but trust the author.
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