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Book Review: What I saw: Report from Berlin 1920-1933

Updated on July 10, 2015

What I saw, Reports from Berlin is a collection of essays by Joseph Roth. In this report, Roth (2004), a journalist and novelist presents a general picture of the Weimar Republic during the twentieth century. Most of the reports presented by the author chronicle the underside of Berlin including the rise of criminals, Jewish immigrants and other issues as a result of developments in the twentieth century. Among the topics noted in the book include displacement of persons, the rise in the pleasure industry, Bohemians and Bourgeoisie and Look Back in Anger. In an essay such as “The Kurfurstendamm", the author notes that the world continues to stretch endlessly day and night. What is more, it is continually being dynamic and renovated. Interestingly, Roth finds that these development and progress witnessed in the society does not last long as it fades fast and may bring more harm than good.

This article makes reflect on how the world has become a global village, owing to the constant development of technology. Nonetheless, despite these benefits, this technology has brought forth problems that had not been witnessed before. For many people, the internet has become a universal podium, the means by which most of the information flows through the ears, eyes and mind. Indeed, the benefits of having immediate access to incredible and rich store of information is profound, in fact, these sources have been duly applauded and described. However, there are other influences of modern technology, which include the following: perpetuating laziness among individuals. Today, people can carry out most of their jobs/work using computers, be it at the comfort of their homes or offices and making them to have less need of getting up and walking around. A vast majority of families is stuck in front of their television sets, and many children spend most of their time at home playing with game. As a result, many children and even adults are becoming lazier as they continue to entertain themselves whilst sitting in front of some sort of technology. Therefore, I tend to agree with Roth that developments in today’s world, may not only last long but may be harmful if not handled well.

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