Book Review: Flight From Berlin
Publisher: Harper, July 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction, Suspense
My Rating: B
Summary from the publisher:
August 1936: The eyes of the world are on Berlin, where Adolf Hitler is using the Olympic Games to showcase his powerful new regime. Cynical British journalist Richard Denham knows that the carefully staged spectacle masks the Nazis’ ruthless brutality, and he’s determined to report the truth.
Sparks fly when the seasoned newspaperman meets the beautiful and rebellious American socialite Eleanor Emerson. A superb athlete whose brash behavior got her expelled from the U.S. Olympic swim team, Eleanor is now covering the games as a celebrity columnist for newspapers in the States. While Berlin welcomes the world, the Nazi capital becomes a terrifying place for Richard and Eleanor. Their chance encounter at a reception thrown by propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels leads them into the center of a treacherous game involving the Gestapo and the British Secret Intelligence Service. At stake: a mysterious dossier that threatens to destroy the leadership of the Third Reich.
I like stories set in and around the events leading up to World War II. I’m not one of those who think the period has been overdone in books. I thought Flight From Berlin was a good way to look at the “background” of what was happening in Germany 1936. I’m familiar with the events of the Berlin Olympics, but this story made me feel as if I were an insider sampling the various aspects of the Third Reich. I liked that.
It was obvious the author did a ton of research prior to writing the book. He blends real people and events in with his fictional people and events. He did a good job with characters as well. I loved Eleanor Emerson. and wouldn’t mind spending more time with her. She was spunky and independent during an era when that sort of behavior was frowned upon.
The British reporter, Richard Denham was a good character too. I just wasn’t as crazy about him. But the story needed a little romance to carry it through (for me, anyway) and he was good for that. He also helped drive the plot along. This was not a light-weight story. There was intrigue, some violence, and lots of suspense.
I recommend Flight From Berlin. It would make a good read during August while watching the Olympics. Keep the book in your lap and the remote handy. Just put the sound on mute during the commercials, and start reaing this book. There are sure to be historic references to past Olympic games. There always are. 1936 is sure to come up. It always does. I’ll pay more attention to that this time around.