Suggested Reading List
Before the Deluge, A Portrait of Berlin in the 1920's
Author: Otto Friedrich
Description: A fascinating portrait of Berlin in the 1920s, this book features illuminating essays and an extraordinary collection of contemporary images of the city before the devastation of WWII.
Author: Berndtson & Berndtson
Description: A laminated, folded map of the city center of Berlin.
Author: Philip Kerr
Description: A trio of novels (March Violets, The Pale Criminal, A German Requiem) that follow the fate of detective Bernie Gunther as he tries to make a living in Nazi Germany.
Culture Smart! Germany
Author: Barry Tomalin
Description: A concise, no-nonsense guide to local customs, etiquette and culture with a short overview of the land and people along with practical travel advice.
Danubia, A Personal History of Habsburg Europe
Author: Simon Winder
Description: Winder, author of Germania (GER270), considers the legacy of the Habsburg Europe in this charmingly digressive history and travelogue.
Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945
Author: Frederick Taylor
Description: A re-evaluation of the Allied firebombing of Dresden, one of the most destructive, and still controversial, air campaigns of WWII.
Eyewitness Guide Germany
Author: Eyewitness Guides
Description: Featuring color photography, excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions.
Germania, In Wayward Pursuit of the Germans and Their History
Author: Simon Winder
Description: Winder's witty, entertaining and opinionated portrait of German culture is both an illuminating history and a wonderfully digressive exploration of the powerful and often confounding nation.
Johann Sebastian Bach, The Learned Musician
Author: Christoph Wolff
Description: A detailed and entertaining journey into the life and music of the composer.
Listen to This
Author: Alex Ross
Description: Ross's engaging essays include Schubert, Verdi, Brahms and other European greats.
Lonely Planet German Phrasebook
Author: Lonely Planet
Description: A palm-sized handy guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
The Berlin Diaries
Author: Marie Vassiltchikov
Description: The compulsively readable wartime account of an emigre Russian princess who was secretary to Adam Von Trott, mastermind of the failed 20th of July plot to assassinate Hitler. Idealistic, vivacious and observant, "Missie" conveys the flavor of Berlin during the 1940s.
The German Way
Author: Hyde Flippo
Description: This clever A-to-Z guide to quirks, attitudes, behavior and customs is a terrific resource for travelers seeking insight into why the Germans, Austrians and Swiss do what they do.
Author: Gordon A. Craig
Description: A gifted historian, Craig explores the complex paradoxes of German identity in this masterly portrait of German life, past and present, with chapters on religion, money, Jews, women, literature and society, Berlin and language.
The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape
Author: Brian Ladd
Description: An analysis of the history -- and future -- of Berlin in relation to its architecture and monuments. It's an absorbing narrative history of Berlin, focusing on how its changing identity is reflected in architecture.
The Lives of the Great Composers
Author: Harold C. Schonberg
Description: Schonberg discusses the lives and works of the foremost figures in classical music, among them Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, the Schumanns, Copland and Stravinsky, weaving a fabric rich in detail and anecdote.
The Magic Lantern, The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague
Author: Timothy Garton Ash
Description: With a chapter each on Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin and Prague, this eyewitness account by an astute journalist and historian shows these vibrant cities during a time of great change.
The Tin Drum
Author: Gunter Grass
Description: Probably the best German novel written since the end of World War II, this is the surreal story of a mute dwarf named Oskar who lives through Nazi Germany and finds himself in a mental institution.
The Triumph of Music, The Rise of Composers, Musicians and Their Art
Author: Tim Blanning
Description: Blanning charts the meteoric rise of music from its origins as a lowly art form to its contemporary triumph among the arts. He includes terrific sections on composers Haydn, Bach, Mozart and Wagner as well as contemporary icons.