Alone in Berlin is frighteningly engaging portrait of how evil can spread through every facet of people's lives. Fallada's characters, the ordinary populace of wartime Berlin, suffer under the yoke of a Nazi regime who's footsoldiers barge and bully around the city reveling in a state sanctioned thuggery that allows them to control and terrorise their own countrymen.
Perhaps the book's most effective device is the recognisable domestic normality of its characters, it becomes chilling to realise Nazi Germany was no cartoon villain, but a very real evil that invaded every single inhabitant's freedom and privacy with its idea of what constituted a 'pure' state.
When a couple's son is killed in action, they undertake a humble rebellion, leaving handwritten postcards critical of the regime in public places. At first it seems a pathetic gesture, but when even such small defiances guarantee a death sentence, their bravery becomes both affirming and admirable. The book is compelling in its demonstration that to think and act decent in a climate of fear and hatred is the greatest rebellion of all.
It is however slightly overlong, which may be due in part to the translation being slightly wooden and American at times.
Still, a good book and a definite recommend to anyone interested in the period. The description of the domestic, as opposed to military, impact of National Socialism is a refreshing and thought provoking take on what should never be assumed is an overfamiliar subject.