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Posted June 20, 2014
Historical Novels at Their Best!
David Downing has written unforgettable characters into his John Russell series against the backdrop of WWII. Because his lead character, journalist John Russell, although British, lives in Berlin throughout the war, the reader is given a historical perspective that is fresh and compelling. Masaryk Station is the conclusion to this fine series and, once again, Downing takes the reader back in time to post war Berlin. His historical research and attention to detail make this book a truly gratifying read. If you are not familiar with David Downing, do yourself a favor and begin with the first book in this series (Zoo Station) and read all the way through to this conclusion - you'll be glad that you did! Buy all six novels!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2013
Highly Recommended - Early postwar Berlin comes to life
I am a big fan of the John Russell series. We follow the fate of John Russell, a journalist and reluctant spy in Nazi Germany from the mid thirties to postwar Berlin. He is trapped by his loyalties to family, friends and idealism. This particular book deals with postwar Berlin, before the wall was built. During this time, Stalin's USSR showed its true commitment to the self-determination of the peoples of Eastern Europe. Any government was fine as long as it toed the Comintern Party line. Berlin is divided into sections governed by the victors, an uneasy cohabitation - not unlike living with a bear. As far as I can tell, the history is dead right. We behold the magic of the Berlin airlift, and John Russell's final disenchantment with the western allies, when they start hiring Nazis to help fend off the Russians.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I really would start with the books in order. Downing is a writer on par with Alan Furst. If you like historical thrillers, you will not be disappointed with this complex view of Germany, before, during, and after the Second World War
Posted November 24, 2013
With this, the sixth novel in the John Russell series, David Dow
With this, the sixth novel in the John Russell series, David Downing brings to a finale the chronicle covering the years between the World Wars, those following the collapse of Nazi Germany. It has been quite a journey, with Russell having served as a double agent for both the Soviets and Americans, certainly as dangerous as an existence can be. Each of the novels reflected the times and the clashes of the ideological differences between the two countries.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
In the final book, the story of a divided Germany and Berlin is recounted, ending with the seeds that were sown in the fall of the Soviet Empire. At the same time, the personal conflicts that beset Russell and others who at first embraced and then questioned socialism are explored and analyzed.
Each entry in the series was well-crafted to not only tell a gripping story of our times, but to call to mind the era as portrayed by real-life characters. It has been an excellently told saga. (It is unfortunate that the latest volume suffers from poor production, editing and proofreading, riddled with typographical and grammatical errors.) Next spring, we are promised a new series by the author moving back in time to World War I.
My parenthetical criticism notwithstanding, the novel is recommended.
Posted September 15, 2013
Posted August 30, 2013
Masaryk Station by David Downing is the last novel in the John
Masaryk Station by David Downing is the last novel in the John Russell series. The story takes place in the chaotic time in 1948 Berlin, when the city was divided in the post-war era.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
John Russell is an American journalist living in Berlin for a long time. Even though he was linked to the Communist Party he is involved in spying for the Americans and the Russians trying to keep his family secure and safe. John is married to a German actress named Effie, they have a son and an adopted daughter.
John is planning one final job which will cement the financial security and well being of his family before he retires. However that final reward will take guts, cunning and an enormous risk which he might not be willing to take.
Masaryk Station by David Downing ties up the John Russell series nicely, will giving the reader much to think about even thought the story takes place 7 decades ago. In this book Mr. Russell struggles to the do the right thing but doesn’t really know what the right thing is, or even what is the right course of action he should take.
Mr. Downing does an excellent job writing characters. All of the characters in the book, bad or good, felt as if they could have been real people. However, the plot is still dark and brutal against the backdrop of Prague and Berlin.
The interesting part of the book was the currency reform of Berlin, when both American and Russian interests wanted to control the currency and hence the economy. Both countries try to reassert their power and legitimacy over Berlin, neither willing (nor politically able) to back out. The author also recognizes the famed Berlin Blockade in which Russia blocked all passages by air, road, rail and water between the East and West zones. The blockade was designed to force the USA, England and France to leaver Berlin or at least accept Russian currency in their areas.
It didn’t work!
This is the final book to an excellent series in which the author appraises post World War II Europe in a cynical, tired, yet clear manner. The book is a wonderful introduction to the Berlin Blockade, told through an exciting story with likeable characters.
Disclaimer: I got this book for free
Posted August 17, 2013
The end of this terrific series and I'll definitely miss John Ru
The end of this terrific series and I'll definitely miss John Russell. All the loose ends are taken care of and this is like a going away party for all the characters we've come to know through David Downing's wonderful characterizations.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Hopefully Mr. Downing will keep writing and start another series as gripping as this one has been.
Posted August 1, 2014
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Posted July 23, 2013
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