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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  5,903 ratings  ·  449 reviews
Ferdinand von Schirach hat es in seinem Beruf alltäglich mit Menschen zu tun, die Extremes getan oder erlebt haben. Das Ungeheuerliche ist bei ihm der Normalfall. Er vertritt Unschuldige, die mit dem Gesetz in Konflikt geraten, ebenso wie Schwerstkriminelle. Deren Geschichten erzählt er – lakonisch wie ein Raymond Carver und gerade deswegen mit unfassbarer Wucht.

Ein anges
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 2009 by Piper (first published 2009)
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Ann Ackermann
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Nancy Oakes
Sorry about the waffling re genre but I had to go and read up on the writing of this book and it turns out that while the stories offered here are based on real-life cases that passed though the author's offices, the stories themselves are fictional.

These are not your standard legal defense narratives by any stretch; it is the circumstances leading up to the commission of each crime which informs the basis of each story. The book also serves as an exploration into not only what constitutes the
Jim Coughenour
Most things are complicated, and guilt always presents a bit of a problem.

These true crime stories hover somewhere between reportage and (to my American ear) an especially German style of storytelling that makes our courtroom dramas sound hyperbolic and naive. Ferdinand von Schirach is a criminal lawyer with some very peculiar clients. He's also an excellent writer. The crimes are bizarre; serving them justice requires imaginative calculations of compassion, punishment and morality. At times I w
Oliver Schnusenberg
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Although I am German, I have read the English version, so I will give my review in English.

I absolutely loved this collection. In recent years, I have become immersed and drawn in by a multitude of American authors and have only rarely read German authors. Although I have been in the U.S. for over 20 years, this book reminds me of some German characteristics I miss the most. von Schirach does an extraorindary job of injecting just the right amount of passion. I know no other culture that can be
The author of CRIME, Ferdinand von Schirach is a criminal lawyer in Berlin. He's also an extremely good storyteller.

The stories incorporated in CRIME (as the publicity material puts it) were specifically chosen to demonstrate the relationships between truth and reason, law and compassion. They are real-life cases from the author's own experience. The subject matter, frankly, is frequently much much easier to imagine as fictional - but they are not. Whilst it's clear they are tales chosen to trig
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is guilt anyway? Many people use it to describe feelings of emotional conflict and upset that may arise when someone does something he or she shouldn’t do.

Ferdinand von Schirach – a leading German defense attorney and the grandson of Baldur von Schirach, head of the Hitler Youth and convicted at Nuremberg – has no doubt pondered the nature of guilt in all its manifestations more than most of us. “Defense is war, a war for the rights of the accused,” Mr. von Schirach quotes at the beginning
Bill Lawrence
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
I'm really pleased that I picked up a copy of The Collini Case while waiting for a train in London. Not only was that good, but it led me to this splendid double volume of two books of short stories. From von Schirach's professional engagement with the law in Germany, he has crafted some beautifully written (and very well translated by Carol Brown Janeway) insights into the German legal system and, more importantly, the strange, terrible and bizarre ways in which we come up against the law and c ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow ! A great collection of stories, you cannot put away this book. i cannot wait to read more from Ferdinand von Schirach. highly recommended.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered ‘Crime’ by Ferdinand von Schirach (‘Verbrechen’ in German) recently through a wonderful review and couldn’t resist getting the book. I got it last week and finished reading it yesterday. Here is what I think about it.

‘Crime’ is a collection of eleven true-life stories. They are told by an unnamed narrator (who I assumed was Ferdinand von Schirach) who makes an appearance in each of those stories. Each of the stories touches on a distinct or interesting point of law. In some stories
Jul 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
And this is the real life - where the guilt must be truly evaluated from all perspectives as the breach of law might have a good reason, where one can foresee nothing and where some lawyers have to fight for the life of some lost (or misunderstood) souls.

4.5 stars.
Sonja Bates
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Page 89. Totally disinterested. Choosing to abandon. I do this very rarely. But, life is too short and rarely am I glad that I persevere on a book that I’m not enjoying. It’s a series of short stories, so I could get back to it at a later date.
Kally Sheng
Preface - ix

Fähner - 3
Tanata's Tea Bowl - 14
The Cello - 31
The Hedgehog - 44
Bliss - 56
Summertime - 66
Self-Defense - 92
Green - 107
The Thorn - 123
Love - 135
The Ethiopian - 142

Funfair - 165
DNA - 173
The Illuminati - 178
Children - 194
Anatomy - 201
The Other Man - 204
The Briefcase - 216
Desire - 223
Snow - 227
The Key - 236
Lonely - 256
Justice - 261
Comparison - 265
Family - 278
Secrets - 284

Afterword - 287

Ordinary people, ordinary lives, extraordinary storytelling.
My favourites: Fähner, The
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
I read about "Verbrechen" ("Crime") when it came out, I think. The author is mostly notable for his grandfather and I can't imagine what it must be like to always live in the shadow of the name you bear. Particularly when it is tied to an infamous time like the Third Reich.

Anyway, on to the book. I faintly remember wanting to read the book but at some point I completely forgot about it. Now I am on vacation and some previous tenant left the book here and I finally picked it up. It's very differe
Mar 18, 2019 marked it as stopped-reading-unfinished  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by a dear friend (AL), but this was much, much too dark for me. I read the first 25% and had to put it down. It would give me nightmares and mess with my mind.
Incidentally, I was reading each paragraph in German, and then reading the same paragraph in English. All in all, I didn’t strike me as a particularly strong translation. If you told me the translator was not a native English speaker, I would believe you.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ann Ackermann
Sep 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Very well written, but the author’s dishonesty turned me off.

This is a collection of unique crime short stories written in the first person from the author’s perspective as a prominent criminal defense lawyer in Berlin. He purportedly writes about his own cases and clients. For the story structure and prose, the book deserves five stars. What bothered me was the author’s dishonesty, both with the reader and the court.
In the book description on the inside of the front cover, the reader is promi
Apr 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-45-books
Anedoctical short stories depicting interesting cases of the german judicial system. Sometimes touching, sometimes just peculiar it will not be ever considered great literature but will do for an easy 2-day reading.

The only issue I found was more with the author's attitude as a criminal defense attorney. This was most evident in the "Love" story when a young confessed he stabbed his girlfriend because he wanted to eat her! the minor got away with it because it was an "accident" but the defense
Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great concept for a book! Ferdinand von Schirach is one of Germany's premier defense attorneys and has crafted a collection of short stories based on his experiences. As an admitted lover of true crime and an avid DVRer of Dateline, the stories themselves gripped me from the outset (as evidenced by the day and a half it took me to read them!). What surprised me, however, was the quality and insight of the collection. Von Schirach gets at the root of what makes his clients human, sussing o ...more
E Ho
Many of the stories are very good. But The Ethiopian was great. The Ethiopian made me cry. It truly shows what turns can life take.
This is a book about human lives. In many of the stories you see the hopelessness of life. Yet The Ethiopian went from "what is life for" to a life worth living. It was truly touching.
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pitch perfect little gem of a collection. Devoured it in one sitting. Doesn't at all feel like a translation with not one word out of place. If you like something a little on the dark side then this is for you.
Collection of short stories set in Germany featuring a defense attorney who records his observations of his clients and their crimes and motivations. The writing was rather spare though very realistic. Most of the stories were depressing but there was a bit of humor in a few.
Renita D'Silva
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. A brilliant insight into the human mind- true stories that will shock and thrill, brilliantly told.
Mike Barnett
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very stark and understated stories about some truly gruesome crimes. Sort of a modernist Grimm's tales...
Makes you realise that crime and its consequences are not two-dimensional, but have depth that goes beyond initial impression.
Morteza Bahrami
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How shocking it is to know we, in Iran live under such a brutal system of sentences. It's an informative and interesting read.
Christian Schwoerke
This volume begins with a preface as a means to introduce an epigraph: “Most things are complicated, and guilt always introduces a bit of a problem.” Laconic and even banal, it is also pointedly ironic: not only was this a frequent utterance of Schirach’s uncle but it was also the content of the uncle’s suicide note. It is with this irony that many of the stories proceed, each unfolding in a way that reveals a good more than appears on the surface.

The narrator of these stories is a criminal defe
Bert van der Vaart
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Quite entertaining collection of cases by an attorney who has gotten a number of clients off various legal actions filed against them--mostly in criminal law--in Germany. The author makes a good case for the fact that a defense attorney's job is to make the prosecutor really prove that the defendant was guilty. In fact there are often many steps missing in establishing such proof, as von Schirach shows. Probably not a life-changing book, but good on an airplane.
Ruben Vermeeren
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 stars, no doubt, easily in my top-3 for 2020. This is all I want from a book: 11 short, intelligent, fast-paced crime stories with suspense, twists, bizarre yet relatable characters and, almost always, a satisfactory ending in the form of a proportionate punishment. Seeing as the stories appear to be based on real cases, they not only teach you something on criminal law but also give some trust the justice system as we have it generally works.
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Last year I read a book that deeply impressed me, even though it was disturbing and brutal in many ways.
This year the most impressive book for me so far is this one. I stumbled upon it quite by accident and will definitely read some more books by the author after reading this one.
The stories in this book are sometimes funny, sometimes amazing and sometimes just tragic. But they are all worth reading. One more thing: I am glad I am not a criminal lawyer or judge.
Marcelo Montes I
Good read, clear and very fluid. The stories are very diverse and leave a lot of space to think about perspectives of crimes and justice. The storytelling makes you want to never stop each story until one finishes it.
I read it in german, which was not as challenging as I expected, enabling me to enjoy it.
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Ferdinand von Schirach (born 1964 in Munich) is a German lawyer and writer. He published his first short stories at the age of forty-five. Shortly thereafter he became one of Germany's most successful authors. His books, which have been translated into more than 35 languages, have sold millions of copies worldwide and have made him an internationally celebrated star of German literature.

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