Walking in Berlin
Franz Hessel, Amanda DeMarco
A timeless guide to one of the world’s greatest cities. Franz Hessel was an observer par excellence of the increasingly hectic metropolis that was Berlin in the late 1920s. In Walking in Berlin, originally published in Germany in 1929, he captures the rhythm of Weimar-era Berlin, recording evidence of the seismic shifts shaking German culture at the time. Nearly all of the pieces take the form of a walk or outing, focusing either on a theme or part of the city, and many end at a theatre, cinema, or club. Hessel effortlessly weaves historical information into his observations, displaying his extensive knowledge of the city. Today, many years after the Nazi era and the postwar reconstruction that followed, the areas he visited are all still prominent and interesting. From the Alexanderplatz to Kreuzberg, his record of them has become priceless. Superbly written, and as fresh today as when it first appeared, this is a book to be savoured.
'Like a private invitation back to the city's most beguiling era ... Irreverent and yet always enthusiastic, [Hessel's] 88-year-old love letter to this city is a true map of the traces of a bygone world.' -- Vanessa Thorpe The Observer Magazine 'Captures a portrait of a city on the brink of irrevocable change ... Hessel was both detailed chronicler of the present, and a man keenly aware of the city's history ... Apt then that Walking in Berlin now joins this historical hall of fame.' -- Lucy Scholes The Independent '[Walking in Berlin] is not only an important record of old Berlin; it is a testimony to its enduring spirit.' -- Harry Strawson TLS '...an absolutely epic book, a walking remembrance.' -- Walter Benjamin 'Hessel's conversational style and subtle insights evoke Weimar Berlin and reveal a great deal about the Germany of his days.' -- Eileen Battersby The Irish Times 'Walking in Berlin is a magical mystery tour of a city on the brink of upheaval. Hessel may have wandered haphazardly but he wrote with purpose, never once losing his way.' -- Malcolm Forbes Sunday Herald 'Hessel's warm enthusiasm for his home town informs every page, and provides the reader with a geographical guide that still holds value, despite the enormous changes in the city. More than that, though, it evokes a time that, although just about within living memory, seems almost as remote as the nineteenth-century Berlin of Schinkel.' Shiny New Books 'Hessel is a modest master of spontaneous observation.' -- Sabine Vogel Berliner Zeitung '...a newly rediscovered treasure.' Die Welt 'To this day, there is no better Berlin travel guide.' -- Peter von Becker Tagesspiegel 'Beautiful ... a classic observation of the German city in the late 1920s that illuminates many of the historic shadows and provides a wonderful map for modern-day wanderings.' Sydney Morning Herald 'When you think of Berlin in the 1920s, you cannot avoid thinking of the storyteller, critic and translator Franz Hessel.' -- Manfred Papst recommends Spazieren in Berlin in the Neue Zuricher Zeitung (NZZ) 'Walking in Berlin can be read lightly as a postcard from the past; it should be read seriously as an inexhaustible record of all that Berlin was and might have been, as an enthralling guide to a wealth of references, sidetracks, lost paths ... This is a first encounter with the myth and the reality of that intangible fantastic beast of a city.' -- Mika Provata-Carlone Bookanista 'Hessel is a feisty, clever, and witty guide to Berlin; his prose is animated and sumptuous and his perceptions glamorously lyrical. For anyone who knows the geography of Berlin, this book is an especial treat.' -- Gail Jones Saturday Age '[A] sprawling panorama of cultural memory and miscellany, a vibrant catalog of metropolitan life, and a seismograph of a city on the verge of disaster.' Los Angeles Review of Books 'A timely ode to a good meander and [Hessel's] home city [Berlin].' Wanderlust 'Hessel's wonderings in the Weimar-era German capital mix social commentary with artistic and architectural analysis ... his musings offer a fresh set of eyes.' GQ
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