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Love Among the Ruins

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  226 ratings  ·  25 reviews
At 22, the war is over for RAF serviceman Harry Leslie Smith – author of the acclaimed Harry's Last Stand – but the battle for love and hope rages on.

Stationed in occupied Hamburg, a city physically and emotionally ripped apart by Allied bombing, and determined to escape grinding poverty of his Yorkshire youth, Harry unexpectedly finds a reason to stay: a young German
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 6th 2015 by Icon Books
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Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
‘Love among the Ruins’ by Harry Leslie Smith (2015) – the acclaimed author of ‘Harry’s Last Stand’, political commentator, activist and campaigner.

‘Among The Ruins’ is Harry’s autobiographical and very personal story of his relationship with young German woman, Friede in occupied Hamburg (post WWII) and his subsequent quest to overcome bureaucracy, taboo and stigma and his attempt to marry her.

‘Among The Ruins’ is recounted in a relatively matter of fact and pedestrian manner, but is nonetheless
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
In today's age of Trump where obnoxious, boisterous claims against decency and kindness have become all too commonplace, the world needs a refresher history course on what can occur when the world follows the lead of Fascism. Who better to give that lesson than Harry Leslie Smith, a 95 year old Great Depression and WWII British RAF survivor?

I became aware of Mr. Smith on Twitter where he can often be found advocating for the humanity of the refugees of our current world. Harry believes so much
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-stories
I had been following Harry for the last year or so of his life on twitter so felt I wanted to know more about him. this book definitely helped me feel that I did that.
Harry served in the second world war, non combative, and then continued to serve in the RAF after the war as he felt his quality of life was better than going back to his mining community in the North of England (he would be warm, fed, watered and away from his not overtly loving family). Whilst in Germany he met and started dating
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The only thing I didn't like about this book is that it ended too soon. This is a beautiful love story and if you don't know who Harry Leslie Smith is, you need to learn about him.
Claire Hackeson
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A must read. Will definitely be reading more from Harry Leslie Smith. A legend. RIP.
Nikki Bywater
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In this book Harry shares his memoirs from just after the end of the Second World War. Harry is now twenty-two and was ready for peace. He has spent the last four years in the RAF as a wireless operator. Living in Hamburg and with no desire to return back to his hometown in Yorkshire, knowing there is nothing for him there anymore, Harry meets and falls in love with a young German girl called Friede and in this book their remarkable love story is told.

The war may be over but prejudices are still
Doug DePew
Mar 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I just finished "Love Among the Ruins", and I'm nearly speechless. I spent a couple years living in Germany decades after the author, but I still found many bits and pieces that seemed familiar. Harry Leslie Smith has written a masterpiece. The plotline is gripping, the narrative flows, and the dialogue is stark. This memoir is beautifully written. He sets scenes with such detail that I felt as if I was experiencing the story with him. It's just a great book.

I truly got to know Harry, Friede,
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not only is this an educational first hand account of life in postwar Germany but, ultimately, it is a wonderful and touching tale of true love and romance that will leave you with a warm feeling.
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
Harry Smith has written something you rarely find these days; a genuine, unpretentious and honest memoir that is at once a fascinating story of the early years in post-war Germany and a heart-felt coming of age love story. Love Among the Ruins was hard to put down. Smith's clean, honest prose and eye for detail never fail. As an American born in 1941, I was too young to experience the war, nor did I have any real concept of what life was like for the average working man in England after the war. ...more
Lizzie Butterworth
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book reads a bit like post apocalyptic fiction but it's acutally set in the past. A superb read - as well as being heartwarming , the realities of life after the war are not talked about or taught in history. I found it enlightening, and it casts our current politics in an interesting light. I love his writing style- at once shedding light on details and keeping the pace moving
Annette Brampton
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book I would recommend everyone it a story of romance found in Germany just as the second world war is ending in Germany.
A beautiful tale of how a Englishman fell for a lovely German girl and his story how he fought to marry her.
Cynthia L'Hirondelle
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another extremely well-written and moving socially relevant memoir from Harry Leslie Smith. Thank Harry for sharing your personal story in such a generous and insightful way.
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
HLS writes so beautifully.
Loved it.
Avra Gibbs
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, kindle, non-fiction
A fascinating portrait of what life was like at the end of WWII. The author writes candidly of the conditions and attitudes prevailing in the period following the end of the war.
It’s an eye opener in terms of the average persons view of life at the time, and reflects the mistrust and suspicion on both sides.
It’s written with a warm tone, and the cynicism doesn’t mar the tale.
Mr. Jason Bourne
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Harry is my hero ...
This is a must read after ‘Harry’s Last Stand ‘, it is touching first hand account of post war lives like I’ve never read before .. Harry’s impeccable style and some humour thrown in .. I highly recommend this after you’ve read ‘Harry’s Last Stand ‘. I’m glad he told his story - with Salutations to Harry
Michael Moseley
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This a lovely simple love story set in the ruins of post war Hamburg. I like this a lot, perhaps not the greatest work of literature but a good story and what are good book but just good stories. It is also a good reminder of the destruction of our forefathers least we forget the ability of man to destroy. I felt an empathy for the characters and wanted to know how it all turns out.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Unfortunately I couldn’t complete this book, unlike Harry’s last stand which I thoroughly enjoyed. I found the love of Harry’s life too manipulating, maybe she had to be right after the war, maybe it was just my interpretation, who knows. I might try to read this again another time.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
The first of Harry Leslie Smith's autobiographical books.

I greatly admired Harry and strongly relate to his humanitarian views.
Tia 🌻
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
This man. I'm grateful for him and everyone else sharing their difficult histories so we can (hopefully) learn from them.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it liked it
A sweet love song to a woman and a city. It was just a little 'rose-coloured glasses' for my liking.
Kathrin Peters
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Very interesting and moving in parts. The language is a little simplistic and despite a lot of elation and hardship being described, I felt the author kept his readers at a safe distance.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Both a touching personal account and a brief window into an almost forgotten period of history. Germany in the immediate aftermath of WWII. Essential read.
HLS writes well and it is a love story as well as memories The fondness in which he recalls are endearing and nice.
I would have liked a bit more about the parts after they returned too England but then again that is not part of the voyage to get married as it happend after.
A nice light and lovely read
Gavin Byrne
rated it it was amazing
Nov 28, 2016
John Biggs
rated it really liked it
Dec 09, 2018
Karen E. Dudgeon
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Apr 28, 2019
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Dec 30, 2018
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Harry Leslie Smith was a British survivor of the Great Depression, a Second World War RAF veteran and, in his 90s, an activist for the poor, for refugees and for the preservation of social democracy. He wrote for numerous publications including The New Statesman, The Daily Mirror, The Tyee, International Business Times as well as the Guardian where his articles have been shared hundreds of ...more