Christopher Isherwood lived in Berlin from 1929 to 1933 and kept detailed diaries, from which he created this novel. It's a slow mover, but it has a sense of reality that tells you Isherwood didn't stray too far from his diaries to create it. You see the gradual decline in the fortunes of people of all classes, the undercurrent of growing fear, and the uncertainty about what sort of government will prevail. People tried to go on with life as usual, acclimating so slowly to their future under Hitler that they didn't recognize what they were surrendering. Particularly chilling is the section at the end called A Berlin Diary, Winter 1932-33. Here Isherwood describes the various incidents that led him to leave Berlin for good. The violence and political unrest became more prevalent, and it was too dangerous to stay. Knowing of the horrors to come, I could not keep the tears from flowing as I read of Isherwood's last morning in Berlin: "To-day the sun is brilliantly shining; it is quite mild and warm. I go out for my last morning walk, without an overcoat or hat. The sun shines, and Hitler is master of this city."