The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Anna Funder's All That I Am, a powerful love story that tells the heroic and tragic true story of the German resistance. read by Judy Bennett and Saul Reichlin. One September morning, elderly Ruth Wesemann wakes to the sound of a parcel being delivered to her door. Inside she finds a tattered little notebook. Opening its delicate pages she meets with a flood of memories...
It's 1933 and she is back in her light-filled flat in Berlin. Hans is making caipirinhas, snow falls outside the kitchen window, and Hitler is making his first speech as Chancellor of Germany. Her life and those of her tight-knit group of friends are about to change beyond all recognition. Having dedicated themselves to resisting the Nazi's rise, they have become hunted outlaws overnight. Fleeing the country, Ruth and Hans find refuge in a basement flat in Bloomsbury, but inspired by Ruth's fearless cousin Dora, they defy the conditions of their visas and risk being sent back to Germany in order continue their dangerous resistance work. But with each breathtaking act of courage and every person that they trust, they cannot help but risk betrayal and deceit. And then, one day, they face the chilling realisation that Hitler's reach extends much further than they had thought, even to London itself. Inspiring, tragic and based on real events, All That I Am is a masterful and devastating novel of bravery and betrayal, of the risks and sacrifices that people endure to protect their beliefs and of discovering remarkable heroism hidden in the most unexpected of places.
©2011 Anna Funder (P)2011 Penguin Books Limited
This is a great book and I wholeheartedly recommend it. It unfolds a fascinating and always gripping story and is very thought provoking in the issues it raises through its subject matter - refugees, resistance and collaboration as Hitler came to power. The author also had insights into old age which I though were interesting and perceptive. It was beautifully read by both readers - I just had to adjust to the fact that Saul Reichlin was not reading The Girl With Dragon Tattoo. It made me think of The Glass Room by Simon Mawer - also set before and during World War 2 and another 5 star listen.
If you have an interest in human courage and the lesser known facts about Nazi Germany before the outbreak of WWII, this is one for you. Anna Funder writes beautifully and her characters are explicit and complete. This book draws you into the lives of Ruth, Toller, Dora and Hans as they attempt to fight the Nazi regime and enlighten Europe to the very real threat that is about to devour the world. An excellent book that I highly recommend.
Will read anything within reason.
Alas this is a book I could not finish. It was marred by a confusing storyline and over-intellectual ramblings that did nothing to add to the plot. I would dearly love to know more about these brave men and women - but not through this book.
Unfortunately, I think that like me there many people from the "allied" nations are quite ignorant of the stories about ordinary Germans who resisted the Nazi regime - especially like those in this book who tried to warn France, Britain and America etc about Hitler before they were willing to listen. This is a beautifully written tale of moral courage, love, desire and betrayal.
All That I Am has all the necessary thrills and spills of your average pre-war espionage novel. But it so much more than that. Based on a true story, it sketches out the years leading up to the second world war and the attempts of a band of German resistance fighters to stop the Nazis rise to power. What makes it such a special book is that Anna Funder never sensationalises her subject, she just tells it like it is (or was). And it's all the more heartbreaking and devastating because of it.
This novel follows the lives of a group of friends through the years of their opposition to Hitler's growing power in Germany and their exile in pre-war London as refugees. At its core it is political but it's not 'about politics'. It's strength is the brilliant characterisation which makes you fear for these people as if they were your own friends. Resonates with current world politics but it's the main characters who will stay with you for a very long time.
No - I never read a book twice.
Some parts quite hard going. It would be too slow and sad for most of my friends.
I don't think I would have persevered with reading the book whereas it made fairly easy listening.
A sympathy feeling for the characters and anger at Hans.
The story is moving and very beautifully written with profound insights.
I would have preferred just one narrator throughout ( Saul Reichlin) The female voice whilst plausibly old, lacked the ability to convey a wide range of characters and since much of the story is a reliving of early experiences the cracked and bleating quality of Judy Bennett's voice was not always appropriate. She sounded very English, not German and reminded me of the character she plays in the Archers, which is a programme I loathe.
Saul Reichlin is much more convincing ,even when creating a female voice because he is a much more accomplished narrator with a greater range of timbre and accent.
The book is so good that most of the time I was still able to be immersed in the tale. Nevertheless, think I would have preferred to read this book.
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