Berlin Game

There are many reasons to read this book. It is a nice slice of history, returning us to 1983 when Yuri Andropov was in his short period of leadership of the Soviet Union. If you were born after the collapse of the USSR, this will give you some sense of the Cold War.

It is also a great picture of life in the divided city of Berlin. Len Deighton wrote in the intro to this book, “I had a head filled with real-life espionage stories and Berlin was like a second home for me. I had good contacts on both sides of the Wall and my wonderful wife spoke German like a native.”

His main character, Bernard Samson, is also British born, has contacts all over Berlin, and speaks German like a native. Samson, unlike Deighton, spent his youth living in Berlin and attending school with Germon youths while his father served King and Country at the British Embassy.

Samson found employment in the Secret Intelligence Service, commonly known as MI6 (not to be confused with Military Intelligence, Section 5, or MI5). Naturally, he became their leading expert on Berlin and Germany.

If you like books with well fleshed-out characters who interact with one another believably and with enough tension to hold your interest, you will like the book. If you want sex and violence, read Bond.

While this book is nearing its fourth decade, it has a freshness that will keep it in demand for years to come.

Mike Lawrence

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