This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. It means I’ll get a few pence if you buy anything – at no extra cost to you.

Last year I read an interesting German book called ‘Wilde Jahre in West Berlin’, all about somebody’s time in Berlin during the 1980s. I thoroughly enjoyed the book as it reminded me of some of my youth years despite not having lived in Berlin – and after 1982 not even in Germany.

The book is also available in English but I wasn’t interested in that, as for me it had to be the original language.

This month I found out that it is now available in both languages with the title ‘Learn German with Modern Literature – Wild Years in West Berlin’!

The author, Matthias Drawe, has put both versions together as a bilingual side-by-side edition. What a brilliant idea!

This is what the amazon description says:

“A Young Adult story and an easy read – ideal for advanced German learners. Side-by-side layout and illustrations facilitate comprehension. Historical context of West Berlin’s geopoliltical situation in the afterword. —

We are in a squatted house in West Berlin in the early 80s. Every day is a battle against the elements: The cops looking for drugs, a bunch of skinheads smashing windows, or it’s Frau Steinmöller again, the lovely neighbor from across the street. Fortunately, the squatters always manage to outsmart their enemies. Only “special needs” Heiner is a tough nut to crack since he just won’t let go. Adding to the supreme madness: The trials and tribulations of our brave, anarchist squatters happen on a “capitalist island,” surrounded by a booby-trapped wall and an absurd communist regime”.

This is a perfect book for any German learner who is looking for some ‘real’ text but still wants some help. Having been a student in the 1980s is not essential but might heighten the enjoyment even more.

Have a look at these two pages to give you an idea.


Now for the exciting bit: Matthias as agreed to give 5 copies (paperback, not PDFs) to readers of my blog. If you would like to be in the draw, please leave a comment below and on Monday 17th April we will do the draw and 5 people will hear that they will receive a belated Easter present. Edit: Draw closed now!

If you don’t want to wait or have been unlucky in the draw, the book is also available on Kindle. On Kindle it obviously isn’t side by side but English paragraph followed by German paragraph, like in this screenshot:

Screenshot 2017-03-30 08.03.01

It’s available on all amazon platforms, but here are a few links:

UK: Learn German with modern Literature – Wild Years in West Berlin: Bilingual Edition (German Edition) Kindle Edition
US: Learn German with modern Literature – Wild Years in West Berlin: Bilingual Edition (German Edition) Kindle Edition
DE: Learn German with modern Literature – Wild Years in West Berlin: Bilingual Edition (German Edition) Kindle Edition
FR: Learn German with modern Literature – Wild Years in West Berlin: Bilingual Edition (German Edition) Kindle Edition

Or you can buy the book as paperback:

UK: Learn German with Modern Literature – Wild Years in West Berlin
US: Learn German with Modern Literature – Wild Years in West Berlin
DE: Learn German with Modern Literature – Wild Years in West Berlin
FR: Learn German with Modern Literature – Wild Years in West Berlin

For anybody who is wondering how they could use the book as a learning aid, I demonstrated some ideas for you in our latest ‘Ask Angelika’ live video show:

And here are the winners! Congratulations, Gisela, Kaci, Asma, Peter and Gill!

24 thoughts on “Learn German with Modern Literature

  1. What an excellent idea, to have both languages side by side. That opens up lots of possibilities to use it for learning German. It is refreshing to have a more adult text made available to willing learners who need a little extra support.

  2. This looks like a valuable book. I like the side-by-side English and German, and the geopolitical aspect of that time is also interesting to think about. Thanks for running the contest, and best wishes to everyone who enters!

    1. You’re welcome! I really enjoyed the book, when I read it originally, and the English text should be very useful for anybody whose German isn’t quite fluent yet.

  3. Anyone learning German would find this an invaluable aid. Dual language texts cut out the need to constantly reach for the dictionary and therefore make reading them a more fluid and enjoyable experience. Good luck to all who enter.

    1. Absolutely! Also, using the dictionary might make the learner try and translate the text literally, which, of course, doesn’t always work. Seeing a whole paragraph in context is so much better.

  4. So glad I came across this. I’ve been meaning to get back to some German reading and this looks like a perfect opportunity.
    Thank you!

  5. Another great tip from Angelika – thank you! If I am unsuccessful in the draw, I will certainly buy this.

  6. I’ve tried such kind of books before (bilingual books) with french, and I can say it’s very interesting and helpful. You are going to use it for long time as a reference or dictionary for not only words but also for sentences.

    I m trying to learn German (meine lieblingssprache) and I planned to read about this era the 70s and 80s in German History, therefore I hope I win a copy of this book (^_^)

  7. Actually a really interesting time in Europe with revolution in the air, the Wall in Berlin, Baader Meinhof etc. Berlin still has a strongly left wing/ alternative/ green vibe. Will definitely read this. If I don’t win a copy I will buy it.

  8. Looks worthwhile! I might go for the French-German one, since my son is supposed to advance toward the point where he can read it someday.

    1. Sorry John, yes, the draw took place on the 17th and the winners have been informed. You can see the video of the draw at the end of the blog post.
      Sorry, you didn’t win.

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