Arthur R.G. Solmssen

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A Princess in Berlin

In 1922 and 1923, the German capital was trying to recover from defeat, the fall of the Kaiser, and a Communist revolution. brutally put down by private armies--the Freikorps. Forced to sign the Versailles Treaty, the Germans experienced the worst inflation in history, and the destruction of the middle class. However, the very rich preserved their exquisite lives: boating parties, summer palaces. chamber music in great townhouses on Sunday afternoons…and the city pulsed with new concepts of art, theatre, literature --and politics.

Into this feverish society comes Peter Ellis, a young man from a Philadelphia Quaker family. Peter drove an ambulance on the Western Front, was felled by shellshock, has gradually recovered and is trying to become a painter in Paris. There he runs into Christoph Keith a former German officer whose life Peter saved at Verdun. Christoph now works for Waldstein & Co. Berlin bankers whose Jewish ancestors converted to the Protestant church, rode in the Prussian cavalry against Napoleon, produced a famous 19th century poet, financed the industrial revolution in Germany, and received titles of nobility.

Christoph Keith and Bobby von Waldstein bring Peter to Berlin, and introduce him to their different worlds.

The Keiths are Prussian officers, members of a class that used to rule Germany, now poor, and seething about Germany's defeat. Christoph has a good job at Waldstein's,-- and is in love with a real princess --but his brother Kaspar, unemployed Freikorps veteran, joins with other right-wing extremists to destroy the Weimar Republic--and to murder its Jewish Foreign Minister, Walther Rathenau.

Peter Ellis continues to paint, taking lessons from Fritz Falke, cynical Communist whose savage cartoon-like pictures show Berliners at their worst, whose voluptuous wife and sister-in-law pose for Peter--and sleep with him. But Peter is in love with young Lili von Waldstein…

A Princess in Berlin is a superb novel of cumulative power--a vivid panorama of the heedless German-Jewish aristocracy blind to the coming disaster, --and two bittersweet love stories.

THE FULL TEXT OF THIS BOOK,WITH ANNOTATIONS, IS AVAIBLE ON THE INTERNET:
http://acamedia.info/literature/index.htm


Selected Works

RITTENHOUSE SQUARE
Benjamin Butler, a young associate at the big oak-paneled Philadelphia law firm of Conyers & Dean, is loaned to the city's Public Defender Association for a month.
ALEXANDER'S FEAST
combines American business takeovers with international intrigue at the height of the Cold War, the summer the Berlin Wall went up. Graham Anders has to make decisions that will involve his wife, his wife's big company, his law firm ...and his country.
THE COMFORT LETTER
explains the stories behind today's scandals, and shows the brutal pressures under which the players have to do their jobs
A PRINCESS IN BERLIN
is a superb novel of cumulative power--a vivid panorama of the heedless German-Jewish aristocracy blind to the coming disaster, --and two bittersweet love stories.
TAKEOVER TIME
takes the reader from Philadelphia's Main Line to Park Avenue and Wall Street to a yacht anchored in the Baltic, all the way back to World War II and the war crimes trial of soldiers in Adolf Hitler's Leibstandarte SS division. This is a gripping story of international finance, and one man's battle with sexual obsession.
THE WIFE OF SHORE: A SEARCH
Still another story about Richard III? Yes, but from a fresh point of view.



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