Nina Willner is a former US Army intelligence officer who served in Berlin during the Cold War. Following a career in intelligence, Nina worked in Moscow, Minsk and Prague promoting human rights, children's causes and the rule of law for the US Government, non-profit organizations and a variety of charities. She currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey. Forty Autumns is her first book.
Willner's epic memoir traverses three generations of mothers, recounting the tragedy, estrangement, and overwhelming courage of a family torn apart by the ideological division of Germany during the Cold War. Willner, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, weaves familial legends of escape from farmsteads guarded by roving East German border patrols, with tales of international espionage at the 1958 World's Fair. Her interrogative and unabashed voice explores the painful intersection of national duty and familial responsibilities . . . Willner's depiction of the brutal East German regime and the fight of one family to unite is a thrilling and relevant read for historians and casual readers alike. * Publishers Weekly *
Thoughtful and informative, Willner's book not only offers a personal view of the traumatic effects of German partition. It also celebrates the enduring resilience of the human spirit. A poignant and engrossing, occasionally harrowing, family memoir. * Kirkus Review *
A fascinating and very readable book, suffused with family affection * Oldie *
Willner writes about events that happened on another continent before she was born with such vividness and immediacy that she could almost have been there herself. This account of the collective sorrow of a family rent asunder, relating their experiences in the context of the Cold War, gives a human face to the millions for whom the Berlin Wall divided not just a city but their hearts * The Herald *