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If The Dead Rise Not (Bernard Gunther, #6)
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If The Dead Rise Not (Bernie Gunther #6)

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,620 Ratings  ·  230 Reviews
An instant classic in the Bernie Gunther series, with storytelling that is fresher and more vivid than ever.

Berlin, 1934: The Nazis have secured the 1936 Olympiad for the city but are facing foreign resistance. Hitler and Avery Brundage, the head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, have connived to soft-pedal Nazi anti- Semitism and convince America to participate. Bernie Gunt

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 3rd 2009 by Quercus
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The Book Thief by Markus ZusakAgainst The Tide by John F. HanleyThe Last Boat by John F. HanleyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferThe Winds of War by Herman Wouk
Best 1940s Historical Fiction
42nd out of 203 books — 308 voters
Zoo Station by David DowningThe Good German by Joseph KanonThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréGarden of Beasts by Jeffery DeaverBerlin Noir by Philip Kerr
Berlin in Fiction
18th out of 100 books — 29 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 29, 2010 Nick rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, espionage
After six Bernie Gunther mysteries, I've moved him into the realm of detectives I know and love and would follow anywhere, guys like Donna Leon's Commisario Brunetti or Mankell's Wallender. Gunther is funnier (or rather Kerr's narration is funnier), even while dealing with serious issues like the backwash of Nazism over the 20th Century landscape, the moral ambiguity of survival, the impossibility of love across the decades, and the persistence of evil. This episode is both a prequel and a seque ...more
Jan 28, 2013 Stephen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's easy to believe that the appeal of the Bernie Gunther series resides in its sincere imitation of Chandlerian noir. In the early novels, that was perhaps its only virtue, but Kerr proved in A German Requiem and The One From the Other that he was not only capable of assimilating other influences (notably Graham Greene) into his work, but also exploring the fascinating moral dilemmas of the Nazi and post-war worlds with great success.

At the end of the fourth novel, Kerr had Gunther flee Europe
Aug 01, 2011 F.R. rated it liked it
Do Germans actually have pantomimes in the same way the British do?

Is the phrase “let sleeping dogs lie” one which exists in German as well as English?

Philip Kerr’s novel inadvertently raises these questions. It’s something which – I suppose – is always possible when an English author writes a first-person narration from the point of view of a character from a completely different cultural tradition (in this case an ex-cop in Nazi Germany). Firstly, our hero notes that he and his companion are a
Good, but I preferred the first half over the second, and the ending was a bit lazy - Kerr is far too good to wrap things up with the standard two page exposition of whodunit as for some reason he did here. Still, well worth the read. Some classic Kerr Guenterisms: "[s]he went back to her hometown of Danzig, which was either a city in Poland or a free city in old Prussia, depending on how you looked at it. I preferred not to look at it, just like I preferred not to look at a lot of things in the ...more
Feb 06, 2013 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Philip Kerr alia o policial à história e transporta-nos para a Alemanha de Hitler, em plena azáfama pela realização dos Jogos Olímpicos que serão realizados em 1936.

Na pele do protagonista, Bernie Gunther, vivenciamos o clima que antecede a Segunda Guerra Mundial, espelhando já nessa altura o ódio pelos judeus e por pessoas de “raça inferior”, ou seja, todas as raças que não sejam a ariana.

Gunther, também ele judeu em 4º ou 5º, despede-se como policia, por não se rever nas regras da polícia daqu
Dec 20, 2015 Kenny rated it really liked it
I knew he was trouble as soon as he walked through the door...
This is the first of the Bernie Gunther series I've read - I was given a few and this one had the earliest chronological date, with Berlin 1934. Turns out it's number six, but that didn't seem to make a significant impact.

Gunther is a hard boiled, hard drinking hotel detective, looking to private. He's everything you'd expect in a stereotypical noir detective. And he hates the Nazis. Hell he really hates them. He'll tell, you, he'll
It almost hurts to give a Philip Kerr novel three out of five stars, but given how much I have liked the other novels in the Bernie Gunther series, it was harder still to give this book a higher rating.
And it all boiled down to two major issues I had with this novel.
The book was divided into two parts. The first part takes place in 1934 in Berlin and finds Gunther dealing with American gangsters, a beautiful journalist, corrupt Nazis, oppressed Jews and washed up boxers. The story rattles along
Jul 12, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of historical whodunnits
Recommended to Mark by: Ed Lynsky
I do have this hardcover and the amount of pages is 455 and not 320, which makes the book a whopping one third longer as stated.

We meet Bernie Gunther in 1934 Berlin where he no longer works as a homicide detective due to a difference in general opinion when it comes to matters of the Third Reich. Gunther is no card carrying member of Nazi party and finds them terrible people, and that is also why he no longerworks for the State. He is now the house detective of hotel Adlon where his principles
Darrell Reimer
Mar 06, 2012 Darrell Reimer rated it really liked it
Those of us who prefer our Galahads well-bloodied can't do much better than Philip Kerr's Nazi-era Berlin gumshoe, Bernie Gunther. I've read all the books, but the litany of torment is so extensive I've lost track of what happened when. Has Gunther survived the deaths of two wives, or only one? Certainly a veritable harem of girlfriends awaits him in Purgatory. Not that he's troubled by such a prospect. Surviving the rise and fall of Nazi Germany, including a short stay in Dachau and the sordid ...more
Jun 19, 2014 Jan rated it really liked it
Heerlijk ont- spannend. 19-6-2014: herlezen. De eerste acht delen 2 x gelezen.De hele reeks is heel geschikt voor ontspanning én het krijgen van een goed (historisch) beeld van de jaren 1932 -1954. Duitsland tijdens de Republiek van Weimar, tijdens de Hitlerperiode en vlak na de oorlog. Verder: Wenen, Cuba, Argentinië, Koude Oorlog. Het allersterkst is Kerr naar mijn mening in twee opzichten. De cynische humor van de hoofdpersoon Bernie Gunther en daarmee samenhangend het schetsen van morele dil ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Jun 16, 2010 Bookmarks Magazine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: july-aug-2010
Favorably compared to the World War II espionage novels of Alan Furst (The Foreign Correspondent, The Spies of Warsaw) and the work of hard-boiled legends Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, Philip Kerr reprises the Bernie Gunther saga with true fidelity to his detective's noir roots. The Berlin Noir novels (March Violets, The Pale Criminal, A German Requiem), a trilogy published nearly 20 years ago, are known in crime circles but woefully neglected by mainstream readers. With If the Dead Rise ...more
A good entry in this series. The book has two timelines (Berlin 1934 & Havana 1954) and while I liked the Berlin section better (its focus was the build-up to the 1936 Olympic Games) the Havana part was an interesting look at pre-Castro Cuba.
Margaret Sankey
Jan 25, 2012 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
Back in 1934, shortly after being ejected from the KRIPO by incoming NAZIS, Bernie Gunther was hanging on in Berlin as a hotel detective at the Adlon. A beautiful American reporter got him involved in investigating the crooked construction of the Olympic stadium and the NAZI takeover of sports, as well as a cover-up to save her life. Now, it's 1954 and Bernie is attempting to live quietly in Havana when not only the dame and her daughter, but a ferocious American gangster and Cuban rebels surfac ...more
Apr 11, 2010 Hans rated it it was amazing
After finishing the sixth book about Bernie Gunther I have to say I really have enjoyed this series of books by Philip Kerr. One thing is the crime story and the plot which is exciting and at times complex to follow. But the one thing that has fascinated me the most is the historical aspects of the story. Europe before, under and after the war and how life could have been for a police man and later private detective, is intriguing to read. And when the last stories brought us to Argentine and Cu ...more
Sep 16, 2015 Julián rated it liked it
La primera mitad del libro aproximadamente se desarrolla en Berlín en 1934 y la otra, en La Habana en 1954. ¿Qué contar que no haya dicho ya de esta serie? Bernie también era un tipo listo y de verbo fácil y agudo que siempre está a punto de meterse en líos con los nazis allá por los años en que Berlín pugnaba por organizar los Juegos Olímpicos. La trama se desarrolla un poco en ese contexto, con un mafioso yanqui que se hace con jugosos contratos gracias a sus relaciones con la jerarquía nazi. ...more
Barbara Barna
Apr 14, 2015 Barbara Barna rated it really liked it
I'm not sure how I stumbled upon Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther series of detective/historical fiction novels but I'm so glad I did. Similar to Alan Furst, Mr Kerr mines often little known (and unknown) historical episodes, in this case from Germany 1931-1954 (that's as far as I've gotten) with some Argentina and Cuba thrown in. There are no good guys. Just less bad guys including the series' lead actor, Bernie Gunther, a Berlin cop turned private detective turned SS Hauptmann turned...his moral a ...more
Jul 29, 2014 Don rated it liked it
This is a bit subpar for Kerr's series of novels about Bernard Gunther. This one is in two parts, the first taking place in Berlin in 1934, a year or so after the Nazis came to power, and the second part in Havana in 1954.

In the first part, Gunther is a German homicide detective who is opposed to the Nazis and trying to survive in the new Nazified Germany. We know that he is anti-Nazi because Kerr makes sure that Gunther expresses his feelings on nearly every page of the first part. I found this
Sep 18, 2014 Krist rated it really liked it
According to, the best bernie of the whole serie...
Andrew Lee
May 20, 2015 Andrew Lee rated it really liked it
This 6th book in this amazing series is another strong addition. After the last book, I had been a little concerned with the passage of time and how Bernie's travels to South America was leading the series further from its Berlin Noir roots. Kerr seems to have sensed this too because this novel and the last appear to be moving around in time.

The novel starts in 1934 against the backdrop of the Nazis preparing for the 1936 Olympic Games. What I've loved about this series is that glimpses into eve
Richard Nessfield
This was my first Bernie Gunther thriller, and I'm now kicking myself for not reading Philip Kerr's books previously. The plot develops at a cracking pace, and I failed to predict most turns. Most of the characters are totally believable. The one exception, surprisingly, is the protagonist Bernie Gunther. I suppose, given the setting, he has to "get lucky" to escape his tight corners, but I can't help feeling anyone caught in his environment would have been a bit more diplomatic when talking to ...more
Tracy Terry
A 'Bernie Gunther' mystery. A self contained story with just enough hints about the main characters background to make it work well as a standalone novel. The sixth book in a series currently numbering nine its the first I've read.

A book of what to me felt like two stories, the main one set in 1930's Berlin, the other in 1950's Cuba. Whilst the two are connected they don't really sit well together, the pre-Castro Cuba element of the novel in many ways feeling more like a novella than part of a
Karl Jorgenson
Mar 17, 2016 Karl Jorgenson rated it really liked it
I have discovered another favorite author. Thank you to whoever recommended Kerr. I am now proceeding back in time to read the first Bernie Gunther novel (this is the sixth).
Bernie is the classic tough-guy, heart of gold, wise-cracking, private eye, ala Sam Spade. It's 1934, so of course he's like that. The twist is: it's 1934 Berlin. I love history and historical fiction. Here, we've blended the best of hard-boiled detective stories with a chilling historical. Perfect.
With one caveat: just as t
Donald Luther
Sep 26, 2014 Donald Luther rated it really liked it
The first thing I should note is that this completes the Bernhard Gunther books thus far published. I'm sure there will be more.

Once again, Kerr creates parallel stories, but this time it's the characters who tie the two sections together. One is the true love of Bernie's life (who, strangely, has not been mentioned in other stories) and one is corrupt American who moves pretty freely between criminal and legitimate worlds.

We begin in 1934, when Bernie is working as the hotel detective at the Ho
Apr 20, 2014 Ian rated it it was amazing
Some reviewers seem to have set themselves against this sixth Bernie Gunther detective yarn. All I can say is that it worked for me, both in the split locations - Berlin and Cuba - and the split time periods - 1934 and 1955. Unlike other readers too, I found both plot twists satisfyingly well-handled. Gunther is a mass of hard-boiled clichés: it is his situation that sets him up as something different. From being a Republic-sympathiser during the inexorable rise of the Nazis in the build up to t ...more
Robert LoCicero
Apr 07, 2016 Robert LoCicero rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of several books in this detective series with Bernhard Gunter, ex Berlin policeman and Abwehr operative. He operates in pre and post-WW II world dealing with gangsters and military killers, throwing in beautiful women and exotic locations. Sounds like James Bond, doesn't it? But it is not. Author Kerr presents a hard-boiled detective (how is that for a well-worn phrase) who challenges himself in considering his actions at times acting in a way matching his hideous background and at other ti ...more
Weergaloze thriller die zich afspeelt in het Berlijn dat zich voorbereidt op de Olympische Spelen van 1936. Hoofdpersoon Bernie Gunther is hoteldetective van het beroemde Adlon hotel. Hij raakt verstrikt in een louche zaak die te maken heeft met de bouw van het Olympisch Stadion. Het tweede deel speelt zich af op Cuba vlak voor de machtsovername van Castro. Daar loopt Gunther een paar oude bekenden uit het eerste deel van het boek tegen het lijf. Toeval?

Kerr schrijft zeer onderhoudend met scherp
Jul 09, 2015 Anne rated it liked it
Recommends it for: WWII fiction lovers
This was a great read while in Germany where Bernie Gunther is in 1936 Berlin as Hitler is preparing for the 1936 Olympics, which he has managed to snag, but he has to quickly remove all anti-Jewish slogans, etc. from the Berlin streets. Bernie becomes involved with a German/Jewish gangster who is intent on using the Olympics for his own gain. As this part is resolved, suddenly he is in the fifties Cuba, pre-Castro where he again finds the gangster, I did not care for the second part. Berlin dur ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Rickhow rated it really liked it
Tough one for me, I wish you could give 1/2 stars because I'd give this 3.5. Without spoiling it, this book is really in two parts. The first part takes place in the early days of Nazi Germany. This part of the book I clearly give 4, if not 5 stars. Interesting, well written, moves at a great pace. Not a WW2 novel as such, no battles or soldiers or anything like that, but more of a detective novel. Really different, worth a read. The second part (I won't tell where it takes place, etc.) was a dr ...more
Nov 22, 2015 Francis rated it really liked it
When I first started reading this series I thought interesting writer but a little over the top with the repeated violence and what I felt were some pretty grand operatic endings. However, I now repent and I would have to rank Kerr and his protagonist Bernie Gunther as among my all time favorites. Starting with the fourth book in the series I thought he really hit his stride and each book thereafter has been a treat. This one had a twist at the end that caught me completely by surprise. Highly r ...more
Mary Warnement
Nov 05, 2014 Mary Warnement rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, berlin
I admit, I was more eager to read the first part in 1934 Berlin than the last third in 1954 Havana, but Kerr made me glad I took the trip. He combines place with plot in an effective way. Bernie seems real. Has he changed? No, he's the same man he was before drafted into the SS; he's suffering from survivor's guilt and won't give himself a break. Haven't we all made choices? No, we haven't all been faced with such extremes, but would we all do what's right? We know from history that many, or mos ...more
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Kerr has published eleven novels under his full name and a children's series, Children of the Lamp, under the name P.B. Kerr.

More about Philip Kerr...

Other Books in the Series

Bernie Gunther (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • March Violets (Bernard Gunther, #1)
  • The Pale Criminal (Bernard Gunther, #2)
  • A German Requiem (Bernard Gunther, #3)
  • The One from the Other (Bernard Gunther, #4)
  • A Quiet Flame (Bernard Gunther, #5)
  • Field Gray (Bernard Gunther, #7)
  • Prague Fatale (Bernard Gunther, #8)
  • A Man Without Breath (Bernard Gunther, #9)
  • The Lady from Zagreb (Bernard Gunther, #10)
  • The Other Side of Silence (Bernie Gunther, #11)

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“The living always get over the dead. That’s what the dead never realize. If ever the dead did come back, they’d only have been sore that somehow you managed to get over their dying at all.” 0 likes
“About thirty centimeters high, the figure appeared to be dancing a tango with a rather scantily clad girl who reminded me a lot of Anita Berber. Anita had been the queen of Berlin’s nude dancers at the White Mouse Club on Jägerstrasse until the night she’d laid out one of the patrons with an empty champagne bottle. The story was he’d objected to her pissing on his table, which used to be her shtick. I missed the old Berlin.” 0 likes
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