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Diary of a Dead Man on Leave

A Novel
Written by: David Downing
Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins

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Publisher's Summary

From best-selling author David Downing, master of historical espionage, comes a heart-wrenching depiction of Germany in the days leading up to World War II and the difficult choices of one man of conviction.

In April 1938, a man calling himself Josef Hofmann arrives at a boarding house in Hamm, Germany, and lets a room from the widow who owns it. Fifty years later, Walter Gersdorff, the widow's son, who was 11 years old in the spring of 1938, discovers the carefully hidden diary the boarder had kept during his stay, even though he should never have written any of its contents down. 

What Walter finds is a scathing chronicle of one the most tumultuous years in German history, narrated by a secret agent on a deadly mission. Josef Hofmann was not the returned Argentinian immigrant he'd said he was - he was a communist spy under Moscow's command to try to reconnect with any remnants of Germany's suppressed communist party. Hofmann's bosses believe the common workers are the only way to stop the German war machine from within. Posing as a railroad man, Hofmann sets out on his game of "Russian roulette", approaching Hamm's ex-party members one at a time and delicately feeling out their allegiances. 

He always knew his mission would most likely end in his death, and he was satisfied to make that sacrifice for the revolution if it could help stop Hitler and his abominable ideology. But as he grows close to the Gersdorffs, accidentally stepping into the role of the father Walter never had, Hofmann begins to wish for another kind of hope in his life.

©2019 David Downing (P)2019 Recorded Books

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  • Greg
  • 17-04-19

Quietly Enthralling.

Absorbing study of life in Pre WW2 Germany infused with a low key sense of menace.The sense of helplessness in the face of totalitarianism is chilling and although the book covers a very cruel period of history there is a thread of redemption running through the story especially toward the end. Well written and well narrated.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-10-19

Slow and disjointed. A surprising disappointment

The story was slow and disjointed, a surprising disappointment from an author I typically enjoy. It was only made worse by a substandard audio narration. I

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • RC
  • 30-07-19

Nothing happens. Did I miss the boat?

I feel like I truly missed the boat on this one. To my great surprise, this book was dull and boring. Nothing happens. No intrigue, no climax, no nothing. For me, this was not a good read.