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Little Man, What Now? [Paperback]

Hans Fallada
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Aug 2009
This is the book that led to Hans Fallada's downfall with the Nazis. The story of a young couple struggling to survive the German economic collapse was a worldwide sensation and was made into an acclaimed Hollywood movie produced by Jews, leading Hitler to ban Fallada's work from being translated. Nonetheless, it remains, as the Times Literary Supplement notes, ""the novel of a time in which public and private merged even for those who wanted to stay at home and mind their own business.""

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: MELVILLE HOUSE PUBLISHING (21 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933633646
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933633640
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 298,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The only novel reviewed in this Broadcast that one can wax really enthusiastic over. And its history in Germany indicates real sales possibilities, as it has rivalled the success of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT over there. An intensely poignant story of two young Germans caught in the tide of the unemployment problem in Germany. There is a resemblance to the theme of NOBODY STARVES, but the approach is lighter, the handling is from the human standpoint rather than the laboratory method, and the tone has an upward lilt that is lacking in the American scene. Germany is more accustomed to grinding poverty, in this generation, and more eager to seize on simple pleasures, and the reflection of this is apparent in the book. One feels that at times there is a showing off of the modern spirit in the method of handling unnecessary subjects, but otherwise the book is intuitively human and natural, and in almost no sense sophisticated. The illustrations are misleading - done in a vein of caricature, by Georges Schreiber. They make the reader expect a satirical book in the Thurber and White tradition. A book the staff should read to sell. (Kirkus Reviews) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL & HEARTWARMING 7 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hans Fallada is a an absolutely wonderful writer and this is possibly his best-loved and well-known novel.

Hard to believe it was written in 1932. It details the meeting and marriage of a young couple in Berlin a few years before the outbreak of WW2. The birth of their baby, difficulties with finding work and accommodation and their subsequent financial difficulties are set against a background of beautifully drawn characters - family, friends and petty bureaucrats. Mostly these all manage to make life even more difficult for the young couple!

I was cheering on Sonny and Lammchen from start to finish, hoping that their life together could be what they wanted it to be. Rarely did the couple let the myriad obstacles wear them down. Against so many odds, their mutual love shone through and the baby, when it arrived, brought humour, worry and joy in equal measure. Lammchen is an unfailingly loyal and constant source of strength to her husband. Without her support we know for certain that Sonny - a lovely but ultimately powerless young man - would have given up the struggle to achieve the security and simple life they aspired to.

The political situation of the time is subtly but very powerfully brought to life; always brooding in the background or nipping at the periphery of whatever problems they were facing. I felt great sympathy for the adversities they faced.

While I'm here I'd just like to say that 'Alone in Berlin'in UK ('Every Man Dies Alone' USA)is another tour-de-force by Fallada - though a much more brutal portrayal of Berlin life because it's set during the war

'Litte Man, What Now?' is a truly wonderful book, sad, funny, heartwarming, unputdownable - which I cannot recommend highly enough.
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74 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life at ground-level 5 Oct 2009
In Little Man What Now, we read about life for ordinary people in Germany in the early 1930s. Unemployment has reached frightening levels and inflation is rapidly reducing the value of wages and savings. Berlin is a city in which wages are low and employees have to compete with their colleagues to keep their jobs, breeding mistrust and back-stabbing among the workforce. At a time like this, to get your girlfriend pregnant and have to marry her is a frightening prospect. So sets the scene for the story of Sonny and Lammchen as they embark on marriage and parenthood just before the Nazi Party comes to power.

Hans Fallada's novels were international best-sellers before the war, similarly acclaimed by those of fellow Germans, Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse. In 1932, Hollywood even turned Little Man What Now into a movie, but when Hitler learned that the film had been produced by Jews, Fallada began to attract the attention of the Gestapo leading in 1935 to him being classified as an "undesirable author".

Fallada's characters are not politically-minded as such, but are among the little people, caught up in the round of daily life where politics gradually impinges on them but without attracting their adherence or enthusiasm. They feel affronted by world events which are slowly wrecking their peaceful lives, but do not move into an analysis of why these titanic changes are happening. Fallada's characters are simply trying to make ends meet, to find a room to live in and to put meat on the table two or three times a week.

The book opens in the gynaecological clinic, where Sonny and Lammchen have gone for advice on contraception, only to hear the doctor say, "Its a bit too late for prevention. Beginning of the second month I would say".
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surviving the Depression 9 Jan 2011
By Byronic
This story of young love during the Depression in Berlin truly tugs at the heart strings. It tells the tale of two young people who try their hardest to survive and make a life for themselves and their unplanned child, fighting against the odds. It is funny, endearing, and sad at the same time. You cannot help but be drawn into the crazy world of poverty and indifference which they encounter. Peopled with many an unforgettable character, this book is both entertaining and enlightening and is a story that will stay with you for a long time. One of my all-time favourite books.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse of our future? 11 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very powerful and well-written book describing daily life in Germany between the wars from the viewpoint of one working man. Fallada (one of the best writers ever - a pity he died so young) shows us the pressures and fears which led to Hitler's rise to power.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising Read 1 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read the wonderful, recently-translated 'Alone in Berlin' I decided I wanted to read more Hans Fallada.

The reader is transported to the depressing, depressed Germany of the early 1930's immediately prior to the Nazi take-over. A truly fascinating period of history.

This is a great read & one that is hard to put down.

I thoroughly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Parallels with today 5 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent, well written book which is very easy to read. Fallada tells the story of a young, newly wed couple in 1930's Germany as they struggle to build their life together in a time of economic crisis and rising unemployment, sound familiar? The recurring theme of the ordinary man's tussle to maintain a living in the face of problems not of his making.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Don't read this.
Published 20 days ago by Indecision
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good book.
Published 1 month ago by spike island
4.0 out of 5 stars ' "We're still very young. And we've got nobody." '
Highly readable novel set in 1930s Germany, where survival in an economic depression was extremely tough. Read more
Published 3 months ago by sally tarbox
4.0 out of 5 stars Relevant today
This is a story set in pre war Berlin and is about a young couple's desperate attempts to work, rent and feed themselves in a time of poverty and massive unemployment. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. JC Frank
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book
This is the 3rd Hans Fallader book I have read and a very good read. Life is very depressing in 1930's Germany for many reasons. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Sue
5.0 out of 5 stars Un-put downable
A scary yet uplifting insight into the Nazi terror in pre-war Berlin. The human spirit triumphs even in its darkest hour.
Published 17 months ago by Mr. Donald Thomson
3.0 out of 5 stars It is better to read the original
I have read this book many years ago in German, but found however good a translation is, it does not get the sense and feeling of the period. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Renate
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting But Somewhat Unremitting and Predictable
`Little Man, What Now?', was the breakthrough novel that made the German writer Hans Fallada famous. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Dr. R. Brandon
5.0 out of 5 stars really draws you into their world
This book tells the story of a young white collar worker, his wife and their young baby, ekeing out an existence in pre-war Berlin. Read more
Published on 3 Sep 2012 by BrynG
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL
Brilliant read, would recomend all Hans Fallada books.
A must read for anyone interested in the Germany of the 1930,s.
Published on 6 Mar 2012 by Colingalle
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