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Babylon Laid Waste: A Journey in the Twilight of the Idols by Brigitte Goldstein

Babylon Laid Waste: A Journey in the Twilight of the Idols

by Brigitte Goldstein

376 pages
A young Jewish woman's perilous travels and encounters among the ashes of immediate post-war Germany.

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Category: Fiction:Historical
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About the Book
Winner of several literary awards!

-- Elite Choice Gold Winner
-- Book Excellence Awards Winner
-- Chanticleer Hemingway 20th Century War Time Fiction First Place
-- Kops-Fetherling International Book Awards Gold
-- Beverly Hills Book Awards Winner
-- NIEA National Indie Excellence Award
-- Pinnacle Book Achievement Award
-- Maincrest Media Award
-- Feathered Squill Silver Award

Alerted by a letter from Berlin that her grandmother may be alive in a Jewish hospice there, Misia Safran, a former refugee living in New York, is determined to follow the lead and return to her native Germany. However, it is 1946 and the defeated Reich, under Allied control, is off-limits to civilian travel in or out. With the help of a people-smuggling ring, Misia manages to breach the fortress and enter with forged German identity papers under an assumed name. As her journey takes her ever deeper into the devastated enemy territory, she encounters an array of colorful, frequently shady characters ranging from victorious Americans, unrepentant Nazis, ordinary civilians, Jewish survivors, and washed-up Wagnerian opera stars; all of whom have an intriguing personal story to tell and private agenda to pursue.

When Misia runs afoul of the US military authorities, she meets her nemesis in the person of Major Emil Zweig. Since she lacks the crucial “Persilschein”—a denazification certificate—he sends her to a prison for female Nazi criminals. At this nadir of her ill-starred attempt to reach Berlin, a savior appears in the person of an enigmatic Jewish survivor who calls himself Frantiçek Kafka. Impelled by the romantic attraction sprouting between them, Misia embarks with him on a whirlwind search for a pair of Nazis. In the course of a rollercoaster ride of many unforeseen emotional ups and downs, she becomes a major player of a drama in which nothing and no one is what appearances suggest or pretend reality to be.


The writing is unique, visceral, and descriptive. From the start, the reader is offered vivid images and reflections of the dark times against which the narrative takes place. […] .” The story is filled with grit and I enjoyed how the author explores the theme of man’s inhumanity to man. The protagonist is a brave character, determined, and poised to fight the darkness that invades her soul. Her resilience is symbolic of the spirit of the Jewish people faced with Nazi brutality. While the plot is intelligently done, one of the strengths of this novel lies in the wonderful setting and the way it melds with the story. A gripping tale.
- Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
It was a delight to read and experience this unique adventure, with its pathos, its heroics, its unconventional love story, all to the tune of an implied operatic soundtrack. I looked forward to it every time I sat down to read. I was fascinated by the settings—both the overall time and place and the individual settings the characters moved around in—as well as the narrative energy created by the mystery of where it was all going and where our heroine might end up. […]The story had twists and turns, a cast of interesting characters, and good changes of scene, all of which kept it moving forward. Bravo! You should be very proud of this tapestry of plotting and characterization you’ve woven.
- Carrie Cantor
[A]n intriguing narrative set in a fascinating time in history. You immerse the reader in your setting of the years just after World War II in Germany, describing the political realities of the conflicting motivations of the countries’ governments, as well as the horrific conditions that Jewish families endured. You also have excellent instincts as a storyteller. Fabulous characters! You’ve created characters that fit the era, have led fascinating lives, are the product of a time of cultural upheaval, and are admirable in many ways.
- Chanticleer Reviews
The syntax has a seamless, lyrical flow, driving the emotions of the scenes. The author is quite skilled at this, and it’s one of the book's strengths.
- The BookLife Prize
Babylon Laid Waste-A Journey in the Twilight of the Idols is a gripping historical fiction novel that takes place post-WWII. The book follows Artemisia Safran as she embarks on a dangerous journey to save her grandmother in Germany and details the events that transpire afterwards when she is captured and put into a prison meant for Nazi criminals. The writing is well paced and fluid throughout, keeping the reader engaged while remaining appropriate for the genre. However, what truly makes this book stand out is the character development. Artemisia Safran is a believable, heroic protagonist that readers will relate to and root for as the story progresses. Highly recommended for readers who like military adventures and historical fiction.
- Elite Choice Book Awards
Babylon Laid Waste--A Journey in the Twilight of the Idols by Brigitte Goldstein is a spellbinding historical novel that beautifully captures the period after the fall of the Third Reich. It follows a former refugee from Germany who gets a letter from Berlin indicating that her grandmother might be alive. Intrigued, she is determined to travel from New York to Germany to find out the truth. It is a time with a lot of restrictions in traveling and the protagonist has to use subterfuge on a journey filled with twists and interesting characters along the way. But there is more in store for her than her initial quest to seek out her grandmother, including sophisticated characters who will get her involved in a revenge scheme.

This is a well-told story that brilliantly showcases the effects of Nazi war crimes and how the political situation at this time affected people. The story is filled with an impressive and interesting cast of characters, including those loyal to the Nazis, Jewish camp survivors, and the American military. The writing is atmospheric and the author does an incredible job when it comes to handling the setting. I enjoyed the descriptive prose and how well the points of view are crafted. Brigitte Goldstein keeps the story real, absorbing readers into a world filled with post-war tensions and uncertainties and where fear has eaten deeply into the human soul; the multilayered characters had me turning from page to page. It is a story of adventure, survival, and the quest for truth against the backdrop of a dangerous world. Babylon Laid Waste: A Journey in the Twilight of the Idols got me from the very beginning with the powerful premise and throughout the story I was gripped by the masterful way in which the author explores the emotions of the characters.
- Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite



About the Author
Brigitte Goldstein Brigitte Goldstein is the author of four previous award-winning historical novels with settings ranging from medieval France to modern Germany. She is well versed in European culture and literature and holds a Ph.D. degree in European History from New York University. She is also the translator of several literary works from the German, among them the Lodz Ghetto notebooks of the Viennese writer Oskar Rosenfeld. Before turning to full-time writing, she taught college history and worked in publishing.



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