Email this review


A searching pointed and often poetic personal history of a trip- and the clash of controversies -- ideal, political and human -- that the author found and struggled to reckon with in the heart of contemporary Berlin. Renewing old acquaintances --with , who lived in a Hessian village, later with Hans and Ernst of West Berlin, and with Kathe and Leisl of the eastern sector brought its welter of human emotions, the efforts to understand and to be understood in a turbulent desert of ideologies. Everything seemed basic yet, at the same time divided into a myriad of enigmas. Why do the Communists think as they do? Why do the Germans think as they do? And where can one draw the line --down the middle of a city or the middle of one isolated human mind? These are a few of the questions the author had to wrestle with in the conversations with those she came to know and know better- not drawing conclusions but going through an often soul-wrenching process as, one after another, she saw how truths became twisted from both sides. In East Berlin she saw a Communist peace festival- witnessing the false expansion of an ideal -- and the horrifying logic with which it was viewed by so many. In the west there remained the wounded who disliked America for its failure to But from experience came the faith that the human seeks to understand, whatever his ideologies- and that on this, the private friendship, much of our future international friendship must be built. A penetrating study.

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 1953
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin