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Download Forty Autumns: A Family's Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Forty Autumns: A Familys Story of Courage and Survival on Both Sides of the Berlin Wall, by Nina Willner Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Nina Willner Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In this illuminating and deeply moving memoir, a former American military intelligence officer goes beyond traditional Cold War espionage tales to tell the true story of her family—of five women separated by the Iron Curtain for more than forty years, and their miraculous reunion after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Forty Autumns makes visceral the pain and longing of one family forced to live apart in a world divided by two. At twenty, Hanna escaped from East to West Germany. But the price of freedom—leaving behind her parents, eight siblings, and family home—was heartbreaking. Uprooted, Hanna eventually moved to America, where she settled down with her husband and had children of her own.

Growing up near Washington, D.C., Hanna’s daughter, Nina Willner became the first female Army Intelligence Officer to lead sensitive intelligence operations in East Berlin at the height of the Cold War. Though only a few miles separated American Nina and her German relatives—grandmother Oma, Aunt Heidi, and cousin, Cordula, a member of the East German Olympic training team—a bitter political war kept them apart.

In Forty Autumns, Nina recounts her family’s story—five ordinary lives buffeted by circumstances beyond their control. She takes us deep into the tumultuous and terrifying world of East Germany under Communist rule, revealing both the cruel reality her relatives endured and her own experiences as an intelligence officer, running secret operations behind the Berlin Wall that put her life at risk.

A personal look at a tenuous era that divided a city and a nation, and continues to haunt us, Forty Autumns is an intimate and beautifully written story of courage, resilience, and love—of five women whose spirits could not be broken, and who fought to preserve what matters most: family.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An excellent and intriguing account of the impact of the Cold War on families and their lives on either side of the Berlin Wall.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Thoughtful and informative…A poignant and engrossing, occasionally harrowing, family memoir.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Willner’s epic memoir traverses three generations of mothers, recounting the tragedy, estrangement, and overwhelming courage of a family torn apart…[and] explores the painful intersection of national duty and familial responsibilities…A thrilling and relevant read.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Cassandra Campbell’s narration depicts the period of the Cold War well and conveys a deep longing that mirrors Hanna’s pain and loss…Campbell’s portrayal of Hanna’s emotional arc reflects a deep understanding of self-preservation and love of family.”

    AudioFile

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