Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Berlin Diaires: 1940-1945 by Marie Vassiltchikov

I'm only a quarter into reading this book, but already it's captured my attention. Marie Vassiltchikov was a White Russian princess living in Germany during World War II. Most notably, she worked in the German Foreign Office from 1940 to 1944.

Her diary entries are informal, yet able to capture a moment in time that the war destroyed forever. From the endless rounds of parties to bombing raids and late nights at work, Marie or "Missie" as she was more well known, shares a little-known part of German history. We come to know her family, her friends, and her co-workers. A keen observer, Missie documented much of what went on around her in the context of what was happening in the war. This gives us a perceptive and startling glimpse into the everyday lives of those living in Berlin. As the war stretches through the years, so, too, do Missie's diary entries become lengthier, as if trying to fully understand the devastation of Hitler's mad ambition.

Highly readable and entertaining, Berlin Diaires: 1940-1945 will be a welcome addition to any World War II collection.

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