Sir Barney White-Spunner kicks off BridLit Wednesday 4 November at the Electric Palace at 11am with a talk about his latest book, Berlin: The Story of a City.
Seen by many as the most fascinating and exciting city in Europe, Berlin is on the edge – geographically, culturally, politically and morally.
It’s a city which has given rise to movements that changed Europe – the Reformation, Marxism and Fascism.
Berlin is a story of tension and contradiction, of ground breaking cultural experiment and artistic and social liberation. It is the compelling story of a unique, absorbing and multi-faceted city.
White-Spunner wrote the international bestseller Partition: The Story of Indian Independence and the Creation of Pakistan in 1947. He lives locally and is always a big hit at BridLit with audiences fascinated by his compelling accounts of history underpinned by meticulous research.
His book, Of Living Valour: the Story of the Soldiers of Waterloo was a brilliant account of a famous battle voiced by those who were there.
Berlin tells the story of this extraordinary city’s people and its rulers, from its medieval origins up to the present day.
Despite being the long-time capital of Prussia and of the Hohenzollern dynasty it has never been a Prussian city. Instead it has always been a city of immigrants, a city that accepts everyone and turns them into Berliners. A typical Berliner, it is said, is someone who has just arrived at the railway station.
With its unique dialect, exceptional museums, experimental cultural scene, its liberated social life and its open and honest approach to its history, with monuments to the Holocaust as prominent as its rebuilt royal palace, it is as challenging a city as it is absorbing.
And it has always been like that, since its medieval foundation as twin fishing villages. Too often Berlin is seen through the prism of Nazism and its role on the front line in the Cold War. Important, frightening and interesting as those periods are, its history starts much further ago than that.
As approachable for the casual visitor to Berlin as it is informative for those who enjoy reading history, Berlin: The Story of a City is as fascinating as its subject.