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Potsdam Station (John Russell World War II Spy Thriller #4) Hardcover – Apr 5 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Apr 5 2011
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press (April 5 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569479178
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569479179
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.9 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #748,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Praise for Potsdam Station:

“John Russell has always been in the thick of things in David Downing’s powerful historical novels set largely in Berlin . . . Downing provides no platform for debate in this unsentimental novel, leaving his hero to ponder the ethics of his pragmatic choices while surveying the ground level horrors to be seen in Berlin.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Reminiscent of Woody Allen’s Zelig, Russell, the hero of Downing’s espionage series, can’t seem to resist inserting himself into climactic moments of the 20th century ... Downing has been classed in the elite company of literary spy masters Alan Furst and Philip Kerr ... that flattering comparison is generally justified. If Downing is light on character study, he’s brilliant at evoking even the smallest details of wartime Berlin on its last legs.... Given the limited cast of characters, Downing must draw on almost Dickensian reserves of coincidences and close calls to sustain the suspense of his basic hide-and-seek story line. That he does ingeniously. It helps to read Downing’s novels in order, but if Potsdam Station is your first foray into Russell’s escapades, be forewarned that you may soon feel compelled to undertake a literary reconnaissance mission to retrieve and read the earlier books.”
Washington Post

“The echo of the Allied bombings and the crash of the boots of the invading Russians permeate the pages in which David Downing vividly does justice to the drama... The book is a reminder of what happened and those who allowed it to happen...The book lives up to the others in the Russell series, serving as yet one more reminder of a world too many have entirely forgotten.”
Washington Times

“Downing is brilliant at weaving history and fiction, and this plot, with its twists and turns—all under the terrible bombardment of Berlin and the Third Reich’s death throes—is as suspenseful as they come. The end, with another twist, is equally clever and unexpected.”
Toronto Globe and Mail

“Excellent period work.”
Tulsa World

“The main attraction is the tragic mis-en-scène of a once-beautiful city undergoing the ravages of modern warfare, a wide-angle synthesis of scenes and snapshots from the history books. A wide canvas painted with broad strokes.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Gripping ... Downing convincingly portrays the final days of the Nazis in power, and his characters are rich enough to warrant a continuation of their stories, even after the war.”
Publishers Weekly

Praise for the John Russell Series:
"Epic in scope, Mr. Downing's "Station" cycle creates a fictional universe rich with a historian's expertise but rendered with literary style and heart."
—The Wall Street Journal

“Will have readers clamoring for a sequel.”
“An extraordinary evocation of Nazi Germany on the eve of war, the smell of cruelty seeping through the clean modern surface.”
—C. J. Sansom, author of Revelation
“Wonderful…. Downing’s mingling of history and thrills makes this a must read.”
Rocky Mountain News
“A beautifully crafted and compelling thriller with a heart-stopping ending as John Russell learns the personal faces of good and evil. An unforgettable read.”
—Charles Todd, author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge Series
“An atmospheric tale.”
St. Petersburg Times

About the Author

David Downing grew up in suburban London. He is the author of numerous books for adults and children, including four novels featuring Anglo-American journalist John Russell. He lives with his wife, an American acupuncturist, in Guildford, England.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books in the John Russell series, it covers a brief period in late April 1945 when the Nazi Empire is crumbling and the people of Berlin are suffering from Hitlers' refusal to give up. The story of Russell's efforts to use the Soviet army's imminent capture of Berlin to help him find his son and girlfriend in the madness of Berlin is riveting. The description of the crumbling Berlin with it's ill-equipped child soldiers trying to defend against a battle hardened Soviet Army, and the crazy efforts of the SS trying to keep those soldiers from giving up, even though the cause is lost, is a sad statement on the total obedience of some of the Nazis even to the end. The stories of the three main characters in this madness are woven together with great skill and the narrative never slows down. I highly recommend this book as an introduction to the Russell series or for anyone looking for a good read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Reading this book it seems impossible that anybody could have lived through the couple of weeks when the Russians were fighting their way into Berlin. In my book "we Don't Talk About That" I am telling the story of the Russian invasion in Pomerania where we experienced the atrocities and thought we had it bad. But after the initial two or three weeks things had settled down - but reading about the last days in Berlin puts a different face on the finale of WWIi.
Anybody interested in history or especially WW history should read this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Downing brings to life through the characters, the compelling history of events, perceptions, of ideas,and of the crumbling of a state, . Despite the hind sight knowledge of the history, the characters acting within it become compelling.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was the 4th of Downing’s ‘Station’ WW II crime/thriller/spy novels that I have read. It involves the time period from April 6th to May 2nd, 1945. The locations are Berlin and Moscow. The journalist John Russell, who had to flee Berlin in 1941, has been to England and the U.S. lately he is marooned in neutral Sweden. He is increasingly worried about his girlfriend Effi and his son Paul who are back in Germany and he has lost touch with. He devises a scheme to get into Germany with the help of the Soviets. He convinces them that he can be of help to the invading Soviet army which is fast approaching Berlin. He succeeds in selling his services but becomes apprehensive that once his services have been rendered he will be liquidated.

I did not think this book was as suspenseful as the previous three. It deals mostly with the plight of Berliners as their normalcy is shattered by daily bombings and Soviet missiles. The narrative contains hundreds of street and place name references which mean very little to most readers. Downing’s research is impeccable so I am sure most every reference is correct but including so much detail can be annoying for readers; I kept asking myself whether I should be remembering this or that street or location but in the end I mostly ignored all place references, except the ones for the stations. The narrative in each chapter switches from John’s, Effi’s and Paul’s scenarios and situations. Normally there is no problem with that modus operandi except that the pages offer no indicator, like a symbol or graphic divider, to indicate that the scene is changing. In quite a few places the narrative changes from one character to another as the page is being turned.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well researched and interesting for the lover of historical novels.
However, long monotonous descriptions make the reader stop and put the book doen for awhile.

Proofreading of the the texts would be advisable: too many mistakes, grammatical and other.
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