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Extended Audio Sample Berlin Diaries: 1940–1945 Audiobook, by Marie Vassiltchikov Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (383 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Marie Vassiltchikov Narrator: Alexandra O'Karma Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 1985 ISBN: 9781436146814
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A princess of White Russian descent, Marie Vassiltchikov was twenty-three years old when she was trapped in Berlin by the outbreak of World War II. In these secret diaries, she chronicles the glamorous rise and shattering fall of the Nazi Party, as seen from the vantage point of her desk at the Foreign Ministry. She also describes how she and her friends became involved in a desperate conspiracy to murder Hitler.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A skillful weaving of history, memoir, and autobiography…full of colorful characters”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “One of the most remarkable documents to come out of the war, and nothing will ever quite match its calm and grace in utterly hideous circumstances.”

    John Kenneth Galbraith

  • “A vivid insider's view of Nazi Germany.”

    Vanity Fair

  • “Neither a set of reflections nor a philippic, but a record…The best eyewitness account we possess of the bombing of Berlin.”

    The New York Times Book Review

  • “A rare opportunity to see the Second World War from an unusual perspective: the view from Berlin and Vienna, not Washington or London. [The author] has a sharp eye and a witty tongue.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “This absorbing personal account of Berlin's Gotterdammerung represents a valuable opportunity to understand World War II from the perspective of Germany's courageous civilian population. Though no less brave than Londoners, Berliners suffered far more.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily Klein | 2/10/2014

    " Fascinating recount of life in Berlin and vienna of a White Russian princess from 1940-45. There was much about the bombing of Berlin and the small nazi resistance movement I did not know from traditional wwII accounts. A portrait of resilience as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellen | 2/7/2014

    " The best account of WWII I've ever read--going on 20 years now, too. (I first read this as a freshman in college in a European history course.) To me, this book epitomizes the value of primary sources and how they can serve to enliven and personalize history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ted Brewster | 1/27/2014

    " A beautiful Russian princess from Lithuania survives a privileged life in WWII Germany without much complaint. Interesting, but one wonders how she ever went without lunch. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Boyd | 1/24/2014

    " I hadn't heard anything about this book before I bought it, and I picked it up mostly because I thought it might provide an interesting preamble to another striking diary I'd read some time ago, A WOMAN IN BERLIN, set in the city in the immediate aftermath of the Russian invasion. It did that--I learned that Berlin and its residents were pretty much destroyed long before the Russians got there--but I found it fascinating in its own right because it focuses mainly on a section of society, the European aristocracy, that doesn't often appear in chronicles of World War 2 deprivation. It's surreal to witness these people's slow descent into chaos even as they cling to markers of privilege in the classic fiddling-as-Rome-burned manner. It's easy to laugh at them as they swill champagne in bomb shelters, decide whether or not they feel like going in to work that day, and approve of themselves for wangling special treatment through their connections. But it's also hard not to sympathize with them in their bewilderment over what has happened to their rarified lives, or with the many true hardships they had to endure. After all, they'd lost everything, or nearly everything, just like everyone else. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shelley | 1/17/2014

    " This is a fascinating glimpse into WWII from the point of view of a 'White' (Royalists or anti-Communists) Russian. I don't read too much non-fiction, so this really stands out in my memory as an intriguing book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lesley | 1/2/2014

    " I read this in two days, simply couldn't put it down.I found this book fascinating, The diary of a Russian exiled young woman who lived in Berlin during WWII. Extraordinary and mesmerizing. Witness History through the eyes of a young girl who survives the horrors of war. excellant book a must read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donatus Raus | 12/31/2013

    " One of the best books I ever read. Page turner par excellance - interesting, moving, inside full and finally a book by someone who was actually there during that awful time in Germany. I can seriously recommend this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 11/8/2013

    " Marie writes with some dispassion, which makes for a stark picture of the day-to-day in World War II Berlin. It's fascinating to look inside the Reich as it begins to collapse under the battering from without and the doubts from within. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sara | 10/26/2013

    " This is an amazing book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 V | 9/1/2013

    " An incredible view of WW2 and the Holocaust as it was happening. Vassiltchikov was able to act as observer and later in collaboration with freedom fighters as they sought to put an end to Hitler's regime. Marvelous perspective. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andey Hix | 8/19/2013

    " Exceptional. As I read this book, I realized I was reading slower and slower because I did not want the book to end. Small details of civilian daily life in Berlin--that you don't usually have an opportunity to read about--filled this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 6/15/2013

    " Amazing firsthand account from a brave and interesting woman. Needs editing, though. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lindsay | 5/20/2013

    " I did not enjoy this book at all! I normally really enjoy memoirs from WWII but this novel felt like a lot of name dropping and really didn't get into any heartfelt thoughts or emotions. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Virginia Winters | 1/26/2013

    " I read this as research for a book that I am writing. It is a memoir, some of it the words of Marie herself, some added by her sister. It is a fascinating account of the life of the privileged in Germany during the war. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 8/31/2012

    " Riveting account of the 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler - the author was friends with many of the people involved in the plot. Also a very thorough and horrifying description of the bombing of Berlin by the Allies over the course of the war. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky | 2/16/2012

    " This isn't just a historical book. Its a diary written by a white russian princess during World War II. A true story it follows her travels throughout the war as she lived and worked in Berlin but continued to live a life amidst bombs, lack of services and war. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Denise | 11/7/2011

    " A fascinating document combining a detailed eyewitness account of life in Berlin during World War II and the 20th July plot and its aftermath with additional background information. All in all a highly interesting book that paints a vivid picture of the period. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 9/29/2011

    " An amazing book, by someone who was on the edge of the plot to kill Hitler. Her voice rings true. And you can feel the Fear. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 6/22/2011

    " A true story about living in Berlin during WWII and right after. It was a truly awful life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisa | 10/6/2010

    " Very interesting diary so far [about 1/4 done]. She is obviously not a Nazi--and is working a dept of the Nazi govt with lots of anti-Nazis. Very interesting so far.

    Just got this.....I usually enjoy diaries so I hope this one is interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 5/2/2010

    " An amazing book, by someone who was on the edge of the plot to kill Hitler. Her voice rings true. And you can feel the Fear. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Denise | 3/19/2010

    " Excellent first-hand account of Berlin during WW2 written by a young 'White Russian.' "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shelley | 5/3/2008

    " This is a fascinating glimpse into WWII from the point of view of a 'White' (Royalists or anti-Communists) Russian. I don't read too much non-fiction, so this really stands out in my memory as an intriguing book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alec | 3/12/2008

    " I love this book. Such an interesting glimpse into life in Berlin during WWII, told from the perspective of a foreign aristocrat. The author notes not only the trivia of daily life but also talks about the times and how they affect her and her life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eileen | 2/21/2008

    " This is a tremendous first-person account of wartime (WWII) Germany, written by a White Russian princess.

    Her transition from spoiled post-deb to capable adult is remarkable.

    An excellent book, and worth owning. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andey | 1/2/2008

    " Exceptional. As I read this book, I realized I was reading slower and slower because I did not want the book to end. Small details of civilian daily life in Berlin--that you don't usually have an opportunity to read about--filled this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Becky | 12/16/2007

    " This isn't just a historical book. Its a diary written by a white russian princess during World War II. A true story it follows her travels throughout the war as she lived and worked in Berlin but continued to live a life amidst bombs, lack of services and war. "

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About the Narrator

Alexandra O’Karma has appeared on regional stages, television, film, Broadway, and off-Broadway. You may have seen her with Tommy Lee Jones in the film Yuri Nosenko, KGB or on episodes of One Life to Live. She was the Reader in the four-time Emmy winner, Festival of Lessons & Carols and appeared on Broadway in Getting Married. In the national tour of Death Trap, she performed with Elliot Gould, and she played opposite George Segal in Toronto in the contemporary play, Double Act.