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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (26 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141014210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141014210
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Kershaw was Professor of Modern History at the University of Sheffield from 1989 - 2008, and is one of the world's leading authorities on Hitler. His books include The 'Hitler Myth', his two volume Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris and Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis, and Fateful Choices. He was knighted in 2002.

Product Description


A remarkable feat of historical scholarship and intelligent analysis (Jonathan Sumption Spectator)

Gripping yet scholarly ... the best attempt by far to answer the complex question of why Nazi Germany carried on fighting to total self-destruction. Kershaw, the author of the best biography of Hitler, is the finest sort of academic, for he combines impeccable scholarship with an admirable clarity of thought and prose (Antony Beevor Telegraph)

Masterly ... Kershaw's gripping and boldly intelligent work of scholarship ... will surely become the standard popularly accessible account of the Nazi system's terrible final phase (Financial Times)

Brilliant ... nuanced and sophisticated ... undoubtedly a masterpiece (Mail on Sunday)

Well-written, penetrating ... and ground-breaking (Andrew Roberts Evening Standard)

No one is better qualified to tell this grim story than Kershaw ... A master of both the vast scholarly literature on Nazism and the extraordinary range of its published and unpublished record, Kershaw combines vivid accounts of particular human experiences with wise reflections on big interpretive and moral issues ... No one has written a better account of the human dimensions of Nazi Germany's end (New York Times Book Review)

Sober, judicious, clearly written and superbly well researched - a definitive history of the last months of the Third Reich (Richard Bessel History Today)

Magisterial ... distinguished (Daily Mail, Book of the Week)

Kershaw is a sure-footed guide through the Hades of the final dark months of the war in Europe ... his is a thoughtful and thought-provoking account, which admirably combines analysis, historiography and commentary within a very readable narrative (Independent on Sunday)

A compelling account of the bloody and deluded last days of the Third Reich ... this is far from being of mere academic interest ... The greatest strength of Kershaw's narrative is that he gives us much more than the view from the top ... Interwoven are insights into German life and death at all levels of society (The Times)

[Kershaw] understands as well as any man alive the complex power structure that existed in Nazi Germany ... Gripping ... arguably the most convincing portrait of Germany's Götterdämmerung we have seen so far (Wall Street Journal)

Britain's most feted and prolific historian of the Third Reich (Sunday Times)

[Kershaw] is among the foremost western scholars of Nazi Germany. Although this book pursues a narrative of events between June 1944 and May 1945, its real business is to explore the psychology of the German people (Max Hastings Sunday Times)

An insightful study of how the Führer held his grip over the German people for so long (Telegraph)

Comprehensive ... it generates real power (Observer)

About the Author

IAN KERSHAW is the author of Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris; Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis; Making Friends with Hitler; and Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions that Changed the World, 1940-4. Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis received the Wolfson History Prize and the Bruno Kreisky Prize in Austria for Political Book of the Year, and was joint winner of the inaugural British Academy Book Prize. Until his retirement in 2008, Ian Kershaw was Professor of Modern History at the University of Sheffield. For services to history he was given the German award of the Federal Cross of Merit in 1994. He was knighted in 2002 and awarded the Norton Medlicott Medal by the Historical Association in 2004. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, and was the winner of the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding 2012.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Richard Hargreaves on 2 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
There are countless books on the final months of Third Reich, but this isn't quite like any other that I've read on the subject (and I possess upwards of 300...).

The End is not narrative history - if you're after a Beevor or Hastings approach to the final ten months of the Nazi regime, look elsewhere. The End is a serious study of why Germany fought to the end - and the consequences for the nation in doing so, based on a lot of heavy research: there are pages and pages of references and source notes - the author's spent a lot of time in archives scattered around Germany.

The End focuses almost exclusively on what happened within the ever-diminishing domain of the Third Reich, as seen through the eyes of ordinary Germans and high ranking politicians and generals. There's an insightful look at Albert Speer's rather schizophrenic actions in 1944-45 and Sir Ian is critical of the Officer Corps for repeatedly failing to stand up to Hitler to bring the war to an end.

The End closes with Germany's surrender - unlike some recent studies of the country's fall which go on to look at the first few months of Germany under Allied rule. If you read this book alongside Bessel Germany 1945: From War to Peace and Noble Nazi Rule and the Soviet Offensive in Eastern Germany, 1944-1945: The Darkest Hour then you'll have as complete an overview of the demise of the Third Reich and the immediate aftermath as you could ask for.
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68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Dalgety on 15 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have read much of Ian Kershaw,s previous work- he is always good - but some parts of his earlier books can be ,in my opinion, a little dry.
However, in this book Kershaw hits top form.The book is a page-turner- none of it can be skimmed.
Kershaw covers the last 10 months of the war and tries to answer the question -why did the Germans fight to the very end when the outcome was so obvious?
The answer seems to be the evil, demonic charisma of Adolf Hitler himself ,butressed by Goebbels propaganda(which kept the charismatic image of Hitler alive long after Hitler himself was a broken man -with no charisma left), and a fear of the Russians advancing from the East.
The book does not just cover high strategy but also gives revealing little glimpses of Hitler worrying about calling up postmen as he wants to keep an air of normality by maintaining postal deliveries or refusing to cut production of sweets and beer to keep up morale.We also see Hitler refusing Goebbels permission to shut down magazines ,which the Fuhrer liked.
There is also the chilling tale of the Nazi Mayor of Ansbach , in the very last days of the war having a student summarily executed for trying to persuade the town to surrender.Then ,when American tanks appeat outside the town ,4 hours later- the mayor steals a bicycle and flees.
The narrative of this book is gripping and the analysis is first rate-a masterpiece- highly recommended.!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By FromTheSouthernTip on 17 Oct. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Books on Nazi Germany abound, and many cover the same ground. Ian Kershaw has taken a refreshing approach the Germany's last 10 months. I found his examination of why Germany refused to surrender absolutely fascinating. He peppers his analysis with human interest stories, and the result is an uncompromising exposure of the terrible brutality of that regime. He shows what little room the ordinary German had to manoeuvre in this last bitter stage, and the terrible price they paid for it. I got hold of a copy of the great propaganda film Triumph of the Will, which I watched while reading this book, relishing the tragic irony of it all. The book is enriched by Kershaw's strong sense of compassion, which threads through the book as he reminds one that however bad it was for the ordinary German, it was much worse for the prisoners.This is highly readable: I am not an academic, but someone with an interest in this period and I found it unputdownable.Mr Kershaw, I hope you tackle the Nuremburg Trial next.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ariadne on 25 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before buying The End through Amazon I read carefully the reviews posted by others who have read Kershaw's work before me. Obviously there are informed scholars of this period amongst the reviewers and having now got to the end of The End, I am in agreement with much of what has been said by others. I am not an historian but I feel this book is a major contribution to those who seek an understanding of what took place in Western Europe as a result of National Socialism, and try to put the Europe of today into an historical context.

I can't say that I enjoyed the book (its subject defies enjoyment) but I was engrossed . . . and I was made more aware of the terror of that period. Yes, it is repetitious at times and there is quite a lot of reiteration; it does seem a little overlong in some sections . . . but ultimately I think this is a work that is well worth reading by anyone who wants to know 'what happened next.' It is harrowing without being over sensational; matter of fact, whilst exhibiting an appropriate and academic level of regret for what human beings can do to one another. Be aware that about a quarter of the book is taken up with references and sources.

I would have liked, included in the supportive information, some outline of to what and how the main figures of the Nazi regime 'progressed' after the fall of the Third Reich. It can be found elsewhere of course but it would perhaps help to round off the story and perhaps could have been incorporated with the useful dramitis personae which is at the beginning of the book. More maps too could assist the reader, although the ones already in the book are most useful.
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