|Cover artist||Karsten Sturm|
|Media type||e-book, kindle edition|
Berlin-Express Historie Is a short mock-history of the city of Berlin in 42 chapters by novelist Albrecht Behmel.
The book consists of 42 short chapters, most of which do not exceed a paperback page’s length. Chapters 1-6 cover the Ice-Age, pre-history and Roman Times; Chapters 7-19 are about the Middle Ages; Chapters 20-26 discuss the French period from the arrival of the Huguenots to Napoleon; Chapters 27-35 are about the second Empire and both World Wars; Chapters 36-42 span the Cold War, the Berlin Wall and modern, post-reunification Berlin.
A satirical narrator’s voice relates major events in the city’s history, mixing local dialect with academic diction. Comic effects are generated by juxtaposition of factoids, inadequate interpretations, paradoxes, an eccentric stream of consciousness, Freudian slips, Malapropisms and Goldwynisms resulting in an ultra fast-paced satirical summary of a complex historical matter.
- Felix Dahn, A Struggle for Rome
- Heinrich von Kleist, Michael Kohlhaas
- Willibald Alexis, der falsche Waldemar
- Petra Wilhelmy-Dollinger, Die Berliner Salons
- Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz
Background and title
The original title Berliner Espresso-Historie was changed into Berlin-Express Historie, linking the book with the railway. Like an express train, the narration only stops at major stations, zooming past the minor halts. According to his blog Albrecht Behmel was inspired to write the Berlin Express by a cabbie who took him for a tourist and introduced him to the city on a ride back from the airport. In the book, he mentions a second source of inspiration, Gerhard Raff’s History of Suabia, also a mockumentary.
Behmel published an online version of the book on a local website about Spandau in 2004. In 2005, small independent publisher Verlag der Spree purchased the rights but failed to fulfill the contract. Finally, in 2013, German e-publisher Satzweiss bought the rights to the digital version and published a kindle-edition.
- manuscript extract
- amazon title page
- author’s blog
- Mitteilungen des Vereins für die Geschichte Berlins (1884-1943)
- MacDonogh, Giles. Berlin: A Portrait of Its History, Politics, Architecture, and Society (1999)
- Tusa, Ann. The Last Division: A History of Berlin, 1945-1989 (1997)
- Bloch, Marc. The Historian's Craft (1940)