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Five Days that Shocked the World (General Military) Hardcover – 20 Mar 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (20 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849089469
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849089463
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.1 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 497,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nicholas Best grew up in Kenya and was educated there, in England and at Trinity College, Dublin. He served in the Grenadier Guards and worked as a journalist before becoming a fulltime author.
Formerly a literary critic for the Financial Times, he writes both fiction and non-fiction and is translated into many languages. His novel Tennis and the Masai was serialized on BBC Radio 4. His short story The Souvenir was long-listed for the Sunday Times-EFG Bank £30,000 award, the biggest short story prize in the world.
Nicholas Best lives in Cambridge. For more information, see www.nicholasbest.co.uk

Product Description

Review

A gripping account of the last days of World War II... The book provides a clear picture of the immensely varied events most tragic and horrifying, some poignant and hopeful that rolled out as that most awful of wars finally come to an end in Europe. It reads like a thriller, informs like a scholar, and is not be missed. --Randall Hansen, author of Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Britain

About the Author

Nicholas Best grew up in Kenya, of Anglo-Irish origin, and was educated there, in England, and at Trinity College, Dublin. He served a spell in Britain's Grenadier Guards, during which he was airlifted to Belize to prevent its invasion by Guatemalan tanks - an experience that gave him his first short story (in Penthouse) and a satirical novel Where were you at Waterloo? Thereafter he worked in London as a financial journalist before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of Happy Valley: the story of the English in Kenya, Tennis and the Masai (a comic novel later serialised on BBC Radio 4), and more than a dozen history books, including the critically acclaimed Trafalgar and The Greatest Day in History: How the Great War Really Ended. His work has been translated into several foreign languages. He has written also for BBC radio, the Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, Sunday Times and the Times Literary Supplement etc. He lives in Cambridge, England.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thorsman on 6 Sept. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being interested in WWII history anyway, I had expected to enjoy the book, but it surpassed my expectations. I found it utterly engrossing.
Nicholas Best superbly shows the human face of all those old newsreels. How accurate is it? I have no way of telling, but the book achieves its aim of looking at the closing days of WWII from a different perspective.
There are poignant, dramatic, and thrilling episodes featuring the finest and most contemptible examples of humankind. One expects horror stories of the Nazis, but Best doesn't shy away from dubious acts of the Allies either.
He links the horrific experience to those of us who are fortunate enought to have benefitted from the sacrifices our forebears made by including such familiar cultural icons such as Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Deitrich and Joseph Heller.
He reminds us that almost the entire world was holding it's breath while the most aggressive war machine ever devised was breathing its last.
One can almost taste the dust of crumbling Berlin.
Read This Book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harry on 18 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book fascinating, particularly the sections about the utter, surreal madness in Berlin as the end approached.
It is sprinkled with well known names, people who were 'important' at the time and those who be came well known after the war.
I would have liked more, with more memories from ordinary men and women. Can't really complain, 320 fascinating pages for a pound is very good value.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By philip on 28 Aug. 2013
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I read this book immediately after Eva Braun: A Life with Hitler and I really enjoyed it. It tells the story of the 5 days at the end of WWII that saw the deaths of Mussolini and Hitler and the surrender of Nazi forces in Europe. The story is told through accounts of people who experienced the events, some later famous (Sophia Loren and Spike Milligan for example).
One small criticism is that near the end of the book there are so many stories happening simultaneously, and the author jumps from story to story, that it is easy to get confused.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andy on 23 Aug. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a very compelling book of "can't put down" status. The narrative tells the story of the end of ww2 through the eyes of those who witnessed it. For me it illustrated that however we dress great conflicts p, there are always human beings that, cause, change and are effected by the pointlessness of war.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Johnson on 5 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback
Disappointed with this readable book. Presentation of "facts" leave a lot to be desired. The slant/bias is too much. The author is able to listen in on dead people's thoughts, describe what clothes were worn on the day, what food was eaten and so on. German and Russian war crimes are horrible, but the British, American and Canadian war crimes are glossed over. Dresden casualties were not 100,000 plus (evidenced by people who were there eg Vonnegut and Victor Gregg)but 25,000 (perhaps it was mass suicide?). Oh, and it was a legitimate target. William Joyce was deservedly hanged for treason, yet he was not British, please explain.
I get the impression that this book is meant for the American market (are people more gullible there?
The author has written a lot of fictional stories and it comes out in this book. I threw my copy out - I can't remember doing that before.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Pinckard on 12 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
An enjoyable read. A lot of getting a personal view of what individual people were seeing during those days. Not a pure history book, some artistic licence about what people (not interviewed) might be thinking, but this added colour to the facts. Excellent dropping in of little narratives about people who subsequently became famous after the war eg. Sophia Loren. In the end I almost got over the American publishers crass error on the inside cover of the US version I was give, '...the fall of the German capital signalled the end of the four-year was in the European Theatre' ! If you can find it 'The Day the War Ended: May 8, 1945-Victory in Europe' is a better book on the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T on 26 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really interesting to see things from a different perspective. You usually get historical writers view points, this time its ordinary people sharing their memories. Some of the stories are harrowing. A lot of new information for me and not very pleasant some of it - but that's why war is to be avoided. No point moralizing its all been said before, but everyone should take note that atrocities are not only performed by the losers ( those who don't end up writing the history).
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By Tweedledum on 22 Sept. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought I was pretty knowledgeable about WWII but Nicholas Best has succeeded in putting together a riveting page turner from eye witness accounts across Europe of the week Hitler died. Including accounts from the (later)famous , the infamous, and the ordinary individual who happened to be present at the unfolding of history - their stories are here. For readers who are not familiar with some of the more famous eye-witness voices I hope the book will inspire them to look them up.
Best draws heavily on Traudl Junge's remarkable and courageous autobiography "Until the Final Hour" for the account of events in Hitler's bunker. Junge's story deserves to be more widely known.

If you know nothing about WWII this is as good a place to start as any.
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