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  • Location: New York, Chicago, Wuppertal, London

An American Decade

An American Decade

Why a Booktrail?

1930s: An emigre German singer at large in the America of the 1930s,

  • ISBN: 978-1786150011
  • Genre: Fiction, Historical

What you need to know before your trail

After the death of his wife, Christoph leaves Germany in 1930 and eventually finds success as a singer on Broadway. As the decade unfolds he witnesses the rapid rise of American organisations sympathetic to Hitler. The ominous presence and popularity of these far right groups become a constant reminder of his inaction. As the human horrors of Nazism close in he is forced to act and sets sail across the Atlantic in search of a hidden piece of his history.

Travel Guide


A singer arrives in the city which never sleeps – from the port to his new home at 89th East Street, the city is a series of wonders for Christoph – it’s his first time in the city and it assaults his senses from every direction:

The docks

They walked east and then north, leaving the waterfront and the bustle of the docks behind them, all the while Christph’s eyes taking in the newness of his environment

The metro system

Christoph had rarely disappeared underground before to take a train. He noticed the echoes and the musty air, how every person waiting on the platform stood as if alone in the world.”   “Christoph could not believe he was actually in New York City, underground.”

233 E 89th St

Christoph’s new home – “The building was five storeys tall, built in a reddish-brown bricks. Christoph judged that it could not be more than 30 years old. And outside….all the omnibuses, taxis, horse-drawn wagons, trucks and private cars he had seen while walking with /Matthias across the Upper East Side seemed to converge and blast their horns at one another.”

The Chrysler building

Mathias had told him the Chrysler Building had only recently been completed he could see it soaring above the tower blocks: the tallest building in the world

He had heard that the Empire state building was half built and would eventually dwarf the Chrysler. It seemed to him that the American were trying to build themselves up and out of the Depression”


The New York of Music and Jazz

It was a city of simple logic. If you could sight read a musical score, you could navigate Manhattan with your eyes only half open, leaving your mind free to turn inwards on itself, to thoughts of home..”

Palace Theatre

The renowned theatre Christoph heads to and meets Mrs Lipchitz. “It was an impressive building, however unsteady its financial foundations  might be”


Chicago is very different from New York but it’s very impressive and takes his breath away “It was as if Babel had come to the Midwest”

The Orchestra Hall 

The inscriptions above the door did not prepare Christoph for the beautiful interior, the great curving balconies and vast concert platform. They certainly did things bigger and better in this country”


Streetview Maps

A) NYC - The Palace Theatre
F) Chicago - The Orchestra Hall

Trail Gallery

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @thebooktrailer

This is quite a journey and an insight into the political changes as well as the financial and social ones which took place in America during the 1930s. Told through a story of music and decadence, the stories of poverty and struggle seem all the more real, all the more raw. This is a side of war I’d not read about before – the rise of the Hitler sympathizers in the US, societies such as the Free Society of Teutonia was set up to show Americans that Nazism was the way forward. This was just one of many – I had no idea these societies had existed and what they stood for and hoped to achieve. Shocking to read about and realise just what a dangerous time this was.

Christoph’s story was really interesting and really shone in contrast to the bleak political background. The musical interludes were loud and clear and swept me up in the music and the excitement of the time. I am a huge fan of jazz  music and visited New York for a concert once – that feeling of awe and excitement came back to me so I could imagine how Christoph felt!

There’s so much to enjoy and experience in this novel – the writing flows, there’s highs and lows, staccato moments and harmony but Christoph is the lonely note whose melodic cries can be heard throughout telling the story of a troubled time.


Booktrail Boarding Pass:  An American Decade

Author/Guide: Richard Aronowitz  Destination: New York, Chicago, Wuppertal, London  Departure Time: 1930s

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