I only read it because Bergengruen was born in Riga. I never thought that this book would be good. But it amazingly is. Some parts of Bergengruens biography aren`t particulary interesting but the way he describes some episodes is just brilliant. For example, his family left Riga for Germany in early 1900s, so when Werner was to go to WW1 his father said to him: "You see how good it is that you are not in there anymore, in that case you`d fight against your own people." So Werner says that he sees no big difference on which side to die, and his relationship with his father is never really good again. Then there was one interesting thing about Knut Hamsun (the Norwegian writer) - when during WW2 he expressed his support for the Nazis it became a good style for the people of his hometown to throw books written by Hamsun into his garden, and even pilgrims from other towns came to do the same thing. I have to admit that the book isn`t really evenly written but the good things in this case make up for the bad ones and I really can`t say that this book is no good.