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Monday, April 2, 2018

Horch 851


1935 Horch 851
I am nearing the end of Masaryk Station by David Downing and I come across a passage where an East German bureaucrat is sent down to Aue to talk to the leader of the local labor union. His boss gives him a Horch 851 automobile to drive to "impress the Russians". He's not keen on any of this, but it's his job, so off he goes. He hasn't driven in a long time and it takes him a while to get sorted, but once he does:
"He loved trains, and the chance they gave you to sit by the window and watch the world go by; but there was something just as liberating about sitting alone in a car, controlling your own direction and speed. An illusion of independence perhaps, but an intoxicating one nonetheless." - Page 311
I've been hearing about America's love affair with the car since I was a kid, but I have seldom heard any kind of cogent explanation, and here I find one in an aside in an espionage novel. I enjoy encountering little bits of clarity like this.

This book is set in the same time period as another espionage thriller I read about a year ago: Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon. The Wismut uranium mines in Aue and the Berlin Airlift show up in both books.

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