For eight weeks in 1945, as Berlin fell to the Russian army, a young woman kept a daily record of life in her apartment building and among its residents. "With bald honesty and brutal lyricism" (Elle), the anonymous author depicts her fellow Berliners in all their humanity, as well as their cravenness, corrupted first by hunger and then by the Russians. "Spare and unpredictable, minutely observed and utterly free of self-pity" (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland), A Woman in Berlin tells of the complex relationship between civilians and an occupying army and the shameful indignities to which women in a conquered city are always subject--the mass rape suffered by all, regardless of age or infirmity.
A Woman in Berlin stands as "one of the essential books for understanding war and life" (A. S. Byatt, author of Possession).
‘Evokes her situation with tense immediacy ... [it] is both an important work of social history and a remarkable human document. The diarist's spirit rises from the ashes of degradation as she reasserts her belief in her own physical strength and, ultimately, her wish to survive’ - Mark Bostridge, Independent on Sunday.
‘An extraordinary diary, an astounding piece of writing that we should be incredibly grateful survived . . . it is raw and as a result completely impossible to put down ... It is so rare to be able to read the minutiae of a woman's ·life in such extraordinary circumstances. I couldn't tear my eyes away from the page’ - Viv Groskop, Sunday Express.
‘Reading A Woman in Berlin in one afternoon is an unnerving sensory experience: the walls close in; the air thickens, shrieks from children playing nearby adopt a sinister air. This is an allenveloping book, a lyrical personal journal ... it leaves a deep scar’ - Simon Garfield, Observer.
‘This is a book that does not go away when you've read the final page ... a gift of the utmost value to historians and students of the period. Her journalistic training is evident from her economy of language and eye for the telling detail, but her extraordinary lack of self-pity is all her own’ - Cressida Connolly, Daily Telegraph.