ALL THAT I AM was awarded Australia’s most prestigious Prize for fiction, the Miles Franklin, among many other prizes. Acclaimed as ‘spellbinding,” (Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year) “imaginative and compassionate” (Wall Street Journal) and “a wonder,” (Spectator), it is published in over 25 countries and in many languages.
In the UK ALL THAT I AM was both BBC Book of the Week and Book at Bedtime. In Australia it spent over a year on the Bestseller List, twice at No.1.
When Hitler seizes power in 1933, a tight-knit group of friends and lovers find themselves outlaws in their own land. They are all on Hitler’s first blacklist. Dora Fabian, liberated and fearless, her lover, the great playwright Ernst Toller, gentle Ruth and her husband Hans, who’d satirised Hitler mercilessly.
They flee, finding refuge in London. There, using secret, high-level contacts deep inside the Nazi regime, they take breathtaking risks trying to warn the world of Hitler’s plans for war. But England is not the safe haven they think it to be, and a single, chilling act of betrayal will tear them apart…
All That I Am is a masterful and exhilarating exploration of bravery and betrayal, of the risks some people take for others, and of heroism hidden in the most unexpected places. Based on true events, it is also testament to some of the earliest ⎯ until now forgotten ⎯ heroes of the resistance to Hitler. A book about the cost of speaking truth to power, it is a book for our times.
Berlin 1933. When Hitler came to power Anna Funder’s friend Ruth Blatt had to flee Berlin—not because she was Jewish, but because she was left-wing. For the dictator, the first ‘enemies of the people’ were journalists and activists.
London 1935. Two of Ruth’s friends, fellow exiles, were found poisoned in bed together in the locked bedroom of a locked flat in Bloomsbury. No sign of disturbance. The inquest was a whitewash, finding “suicide by reason of unsound mind due to romantic disappointment.” Then as now, nothing could be further from the truth.
In ALL THAT I AM Anna Funder finds a new form to approach the truth hidden by history. The novel brings to life the febrile atmosphere of Berlin in 1933, and the precarious refuge these very first, brave and brilliant anti-Hitler opponents found in London. Then as now, exile does not mean safety. Using evidence amassed over years of research on three continents, Funder offers an alternate verdict to the one written by history—and by the coroner in 1935.
Listen to Anna speaking with Ruth Blatt, the inspiration for Ruth Becker of ‘All That I Am’ here. Made from interviews conducted with her friend in 1995, this program has been broadcast numerous times on the ABC since it was made in 2001.