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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

What does it mean to be on the wrong side of history?

Svenja’s beautiful, aloof grandmother Inge never spoke about the past. All her family knew was that she had grown up in a city that no longer exists on any map: Königsberg in East Prussia, a footnote in history, a place that almost no one has heard of today. But when Svenja impulsively visits this windswept Baltic city, something unlocks in Inge and finally, she begins to tell her story.

It begins in the secret jazz bars of Hitler’s Berlin. It is a story of passionate first love, betrayal, terror, flight, starvation and violence. As Svenja teases out the threads of her grandmother’s life, retracing her steps all over Europe, she realises that there is suffering here on a scale that she had never dreamt of. And finally, she uncovers a desperately tragic secret that her grandmother has been keeping for 60 years.

Inge's War listens to the voices that are often missing from our historical narrative – those of women caught up on the wrong side of history. It is a book about memory and heritage that interrogates the legacy passed down by those who survive. It also poses the questions: who do we allow to tell their story? What do we mean by family? And what will we do in order to survive?

©2020 Svenja O’Donnell (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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My favourite book of 2020 - simply outstanding

I loved this book because it was a mixture of Svenja telling the story of how she peeled the onion skin of her family history over many years and revealing the incredible story of her family in Germany both during WW2 and afterwards. Simply one of the best reads (for me) for many years.

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Outstanding read

I was gripped from the beginning of this true account of a young woman's search for the truth about her grandmother's life before and during the war in East Prussia, a country that has now disappeared. How tenacious she was in her delving and what fascinating secrets she turned up.

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Remarkable

Stunning account of human resilience Draws you in like a spider's web. Brilliantly read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-08-20

An important story

I loved this book. One of the very best I have listened to for a very long time. Not only a compelling true story, but also - at least for me - giving new insights and understanding of WWII. It is not often you learn about ordinary Germans’ ordeals during the war. It is also beautifully narrated by Kristin Atherton. I highly recommend this book.