Forty Autumns: A Family’s Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall by Nina Willner is a non-fiction book chronicling the separation of the author’s mother from her family in East Germany. Ms. Willner is a former American military intelligence officer, the first to lead intelligence operations in East Berlin during the cold war.
- 416 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow; 1St Edition edition (October 4, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062410318
Forty Autumns: A Family’s Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall by Nina Willner documents how the author’s mother escaped the communist rule of East Berlin at the enormous price of being separated from her family for 40 years. Hanna left behind two loving parents, eight brothers and sisters, as well as friends and childhood memories.
The story takes shape after World War II when Berlin was split between the Allied powers. I cannot imagine the determination and bravery it takes for a young person to live everything they know behind and escape into an unknown world.
Many of us have learned about East Berlin in school, from books, TV or espionage movies. This book takes history one step further and tells it from a personal level. The book is difficult to put down, in between the story of Hanna and her family, the author also gives some historical context for the reader.
Most of the book tells to story of the family in East Berlin, how they lived, worked and feared the brutal regime. I was surprised to learn that the family did have some contact, even though sparse and often a long time in between, with their daughter in the West.
This is a captivating book which is difficult to put down. Even though I know my history, I still felt suspense and involved in the family’s life, rooting for a reunion at some point in time.
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Disclaimer: I got this book for free from TLC Book Tours
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