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Hamburg 1947: A Place for the Heart to Kip [Kindle Edition]

Harry Leslie Smith
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Twenty-two years old and ready for peace, Harry Leslie Smith has survived the Great Depression and endured the Second World War. Now, in 1945 in Hamburg, Germany, he must come to terms with a nation physically and emotionally devastated. In this memoir, he narrates a story of people searching to belong and survive in a world that was almost destroyed. Hamburg 1947 recounts Smith's youthful RAF days as part of the occupational forces in post-war Germany. A wireless operator during the war, he doesn't want to return to Britain and join a queue of unemployed former servicemen; he reenlists for long term duty in occupied Germany. From his billet in Hamburg, a city razed to the ground by remorseless aerial bombardment, he witnesses a people and era on the brink of annihilation. This narrative presents a street-level view of a city reduced to rubble populated with refugees, black marketers, and cynical soldiers. At times grim and other times amusing, Smith writes a memoir relaying the social history about this time and place, providing a unique look at post-WWII Germany. Hamburg 1947 is both a love story for a city and a passionate retailing of a love affair with a young German woman.


Editorial Reviews

Review

Harry Leslie Smith's second memoir, Hamburg 1947: A Place for the Heart to Kip is a love story in my mind and it's just brilliant. -Judging covers

One of the most worthwhile features of Hamburg 1947: a place for the heart to kip is its portrayal of life as a member of an occupying force in a conquered city... his descriptions of the devastated city have an unforgettable lyric beauty.-Indie E-Book Review  
"I did not expect to have compassion for the German population after WWII, but I was shocked at the conditions the non-war-criminal average citizens of Germany lived with during the Occupation of the Allies in Germany"
The memoir is well written, with a compelling story that carried me along steadily. I like to find at least one reviewing pinprick, although it's difficult this time. The book ends with a cliff-hanger, making me wonder what came next. In all, I cannot recommend this memoir highly enough.-The Kindle Book Review

From the Author

It is autumn, the wet and damp time. I can already feel the approaching cold and heavy breath of the frozen months upon the nape of my neck. If I survive, this will be my eighty-ninth winter on this Earth. Some say age brings wisdom, reason, serenity. I say bollocks; great age brings rheumatism, deafness, vascular degeneration, and organ failure. So far, I have been lucky and my body has endured my storm-tossed life, healthy and intact. It is a blessing I appreciate and honour every morning by performing the graceful movements of tai chi which provides me the balance to combat the punishment great age bestows on those who dare to live so long. We suffer the irretrievable loss of love, through death. We abide the profound loneliness of age as friends and lovers disappear from our grasp and are replaced with static photographs mounted high up on our fireplace mantel. I don't ask for condolences or your pity because I have felt an elemental chart of wondrous emotions during my life. I have experienced the very best and the very worst that mankind has to offer. I have loved and been loved and that is a great matter. It is all that should matter. It is all that must matter, even to you, dear reader. So as I walk into the fourth season of life, I say accept love as it comes and accept love as it goes because it is the only currency that never devalues us. 
I leave you now with a small piece of my life; my time in Germany following the last Great War. It is a simple story about people searching to belong and survive in a world that was almost destroyed.
Cheers, 
Harry Leslie Smith

Product Details

  • File Size: 402 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Barley Hole LLC; Second Edition edition (May 9, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008216N7S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,707 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
(11)
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Love Story May 10, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
In Hamburg 1947: A Place for the Heart to Kip, I found myself reading a love story. Harry tells his story of meeting and falling in love with Friede, a young German girl, with a realistic poignancy that I have seldom found in the written word. Reading his words about about the young girl who would become his wife and share half a century with him, I remembered for the first time in decades what young love was like. I remembered it just as he described it, "It was primal, it was emotional, and it was natural...." For anyone who loves a love story that depicts truth instead of trite romance, this book is a must read.

But even more, this book is a love story between a man and a place that existed in the restraint of a given time. The place is no longer the place it was, and that time is now long past. But, that love still lives strong, and is now captured forever in the pages of this book. For me, perhaps, the most astonishing thing was to read about a post-war that I had never been taught and never even imagined. Being an American, I have been taught that we and our allies were the "good" guys. Now I know that innocent people, children, mothers, and old people suffered at the hands of the Allies for simply having been born where they were born. I know that, "Friede and her family lived off a soup that tasted like rainwater and ate bread made from animal feed." Such hardships were the result of Allied occupation. This knowledge has given me a greater understanding of the long-term horrors of war, any war, that continue long after the last shot has been fired.
I've never met Harry Leslie Smith, but, I feel like I know him, that in someway I've shared his experiences, and that he's taken me on a journey through a great depression in England and a war in Europe. I would recommend this book to anyone!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating January 15, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I thought this was a fascinating read. It's the sequel to 1923: A memoir, and I was eager to continue the story. I learned so much about post-WWII Germany while following the story of Harry through his challenging life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Story December 11, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wish it had stretched into more years. I want more years. This topic is germaine to my own family history.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Every bit as engaging as Harry's first book - 1923: A Memoir. I was asked to read Hamburg 1947 for copy-editing purposes and I found it extremely difficult to stick to the task at hand because I kept getting caught up in the story.

It was an excellent read. I loved every bit. Harry has a way with words that keeps you riveted and wanting to continue. The lengths he went to for the woman he loved and her family were extraordinary.

My father was a Scottish Home Child who came to Canada in 1930. He fought in WWII for Canada and as much as he talked about being a Home Child (something that most of them didn't), he never mentioned the war. Years later I got his military records. Harry's books have filled in the social aspect of that time.
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Harry Leslie Smith doesn't need to invent heartache, the misery of unrequited love, penury or suffering because he's lived it. Hamburg 1947 is the poignant account of his life just after the end of World War Two, in Hamburg. As a radio operator for the RAF he knows that his life in Germany is going to be secure and safe, as opposed to the likelihood of unemployment and hardship back in Yorkshire, so he gets his service time extended. This is also because he's fallen in love with beautiful Elfriede, a German girl with secrets. But the authorities don't allow fraternisation with the enemy, even thought the war is over. So Harry struggles to square the circle. In the course of this we see Germany from the eyes of a compassionate serviceman who has suffered and seen suffering, who's under no illusions about the harm the German people visited upon the rest of the world, yet feels compassion for those same stoical Germans who are now at rock bottom, pressing their youth into hazardous factory jobs and struggling to build themselves back up as a nation, now under the control of nations they so recently sought to extinguish. Eternal truths are displayed: that black marketers always win out, and being righteous doesn't find food for an empty stomach. Most of all that a vein of bizarre stupidity runs through the fortunes of the cleverest schemes of man, and that good or bad fortune overrides all our endeavours to a greater or lesser extent. That being decent and muddling through is about the most that any of us can aspire to. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars A WWII surprise June 12, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I did not expect to have compassion for the German population after WWII, but I was shocked at the conditions the non-war-criminal average citizens of Germany lived with during the Occupation of the Allies in Germany. Young Harry Smith was in Germany for several years in the RAF, staying because he had no life to go back to in Britain. His childhood in Halifax was so dismal that even Germany during the Occupation looked better. As a man who dated and eventually married a German girl, Harry had a unique insight into the lives of the Hamburg citizens. He was an insightful and compassionate observer who was helped to see even more clearly by intimate contact with his girlfriend and her family. Food, clothing, cigarettes, everything was too scarce; people and animals starved. Much housing was lost through bombing, and tent cities sprang up, even through the bitter German winters. Mr. Smith single-handedly kept one Hamburg family alive.

The memoir is well written, with a compelling story that carried me along steadily. Mr. Smith is a life-long reader of good quality prose, a sort of self-taught tutorial that prepared him well for putting ink to paper. He has beautifully transcended his wretched, lower-class roots.

I like to find at least one reviewing pinprick, although it's difficult this time. The book ends with a cliff-hanger, making me wonder what came next. In all, I cannot recommend this memoir highly enough.

Mr. Smith provided me with a free copy of Hamburg 1947 for a review from the website Kindle Book Review.

-- Java Davis (Kindle Book Review)
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More About the Author

Harry Leslie Smith is a survivor of the Great Depression, a second world war RAF veteran and, at 90, an activist for the poor and for the preservation of social democracy. His Guardian articles have been shared over 60,000 times on Facebook and have attracted huge comment and debate. He has authored numerous books about Britain during the Great Depression, the second world war and postwar austerity. He lives outside Toronto, Canada and in Yorkshire.

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