Leaving Berlin (Large Print / Paperback)
March 2015 Indie Next List
“In 1949, WWII has been over for four years but the world continues to fume as suspicion wages a new kind of conflict in Joe McCarthy's America and the German people starve behind a barrier that has made them victims of the Cold War. When Alex Meier returns to Berlin to attempt to 'earn' his way back to the U.S. by spying for the fledgling CIA, life quickly begins to unravel and Meier is thrown into a turmoil that he could not have imagined. Can he betray the love of his youth by remaining loyal to his pledge to help his new country? Readers will be on the edge of their seats in expectation.”
— Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA
New York Times Notable Book * NPR Best Books 2015 * Wall Street Journal Best Books of 2015
The acclaimed author of The Good German deftly captures the ambience (The New York Times Book Review) of postwar East Berlin in his thought-provoking, pulse-pounding (Wall Street Journal) New York Times bestseller a sweeping spy thriller about a city caught between political idealism and the harsh realities of Soviet occupation.
Berlin, 1948. Almost four years after the war's end, the city is still in ruins, a physical wasteland and a political symbol about to rupture. In the West, a defiant, blockaded city is barely surviving on airlifted supplies; in the East, the heady early days of political reconstruction are being undermined by the murky compromises of the Cold War. Espionage, like the black market, is a fact of life. Even culture has become a battleground, with German intellectuals being lured back from exile to add credibility to the competing sectors.
Alex Meier, a young Jewish writer, fled the Nazis for America before the war. But the politics of his youth have now put him in the crosshairs of the McCarthy witch-hunts. Faced with deportation and the loss of his family, he makes a desperate bargain with the fledgling CIA: he will earn his way back to America by acting as their agent in his native Berlin. But almost from the start things go fatally wrong. A kidnapping misfires, an East German agent is killed, and Alex finds himself a wanted man. Worse, he discovers his real assignment to spy on the woman he left behind, the only woman he has ever loved. Changing sides in Berlin is as easy as crossing a sector border. But where do we draw the lines of our moral boundaries? At betrayal? Survival? Murder? Joseph Kanon's compelling thriller is a love story that brilliantly brings a shadowy period of history vividly to life.