First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday – Berlin: Imagine a City by Rory MacLean


Earlier this year I visited Berlin. I’ve been to Germany a number of times but it was my first trip to Berlin. Within three days, it was love. In fact, Berlin has bumped New York from the number one spot on the list of my favourite cities. I’m already thinking about my next trip.

So I pounced on Rory MacLean’s Berlin: Imagine a City. The book is described as a “…biography of one of the world’s most volatile and creative cities”, charting its highs and lows through a “…dazzlingly eclectic cast of Berliners…”, from Marlene Dietrich and Goebbels to medieval balladeers and the time when David Bowie recorded ‘Heroes’. It begins –

“Dawn casts the shadow of a vanished palace upon the mist. A king’s flute solo drifts on the air. Saplings take root on the forgotten railway siding where Lenin paused before sparking his revolution. Victory flashes gold through the thick Tiergarten trees. Ashes from Sachsenhausen’s ovens are caught in dusty whirlwinds above the Holocaust Memorial. Children’s laughter echoes along narrow, naked parks where the Wall once stood. In a banal car park, tourists stand, transfixed, atop Hitler’s hidden bunker.”

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction but I can’t wait to get stuck into this book.

Join in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday over at Bibliophile by the Sea.


12 responses

  1. That is an amazing beginning. You feel like he’s got all of history in a sentence there. And in many ways that’s perfect for Berlin because there’s so much history right there. I’ve only been a few times despite being German but I really like it! I hope you enjoy the rest of this one 🙂 Thank for sharing!
    My Intro
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  2. I’m so glad to hear Berlin is so lovable. I’ve read two books that are set in Berlin that you might enjoy:
    1. My Berlin Kitchen: A love story with recipes by Luisa Weiss
    2. City of Women by David R. Gillham (set during WW2)

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