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Walking in Berlin: a flaneur in the capital

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258 pages4 hours

Summary

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.

PRAISE FOR FRANZ HESSEL

‘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.’ The Saturday Age

‘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.’ The Independent

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