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The Last Battle [Paperback]

Ryan Cornelius
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: 11.30 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 May 1995
The classic account of the final offensive against Hitler's Third Reich-- newly in print for the 50th anniversary of VE Day. The Battle for Berlin was the culminating struggle of World War II in the European theater, the last offensive against Hitler's Third Reich, which devastated one of Europe's historic capitals and brought the Nazi leviathan to its downfall. It was also one of the war's bloodiest and most pivotal moments, whose outcome would play a part in determining the complexion of international politics for decades to come. "The Last Battle" is the compelling account of this final battle, a story of brutal extremes, of stunning military triumph alongside the stark conditions that the civilians of Berlin experienced in the face of the Allied assault. As always, Ryan delves beneath the military and political forces that were dictating events to explore the more immediate questions of survival, where, as the author describes it, "to eat had become more important than to love, to burrow more dignified than to fight, to exist more militarily correct than to win." "The Last Battle" is the story of ordinary people, both soldiers and civilians, caught up in the despair, frustration, and terror of defeat. It is history at its best, a masterful illumination of the effects of war on the lives of individuals, and one of the enduring works on World War II.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (1 May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684803291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684803296
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"A rare accomplishment . . . will be of interest to generations to come." -- James A. Michener

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IN THE NORTHERN LATITUDES the dawn comes early. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of military history 21 Jan 2003
By "u-156"
Format:Paperback
This is the definite account of the fall of Berlin. Dealing exclusively with the last three weeks of World War 2, Cornelius Ryan's gripping, 576 page masterpiece deals in huge detail with the Battle of Seelow Heights on the Oder, the rapid American and British advance from the west, the Soviet encirclement of Berlin, the life and death struggle of General Busse's trapped German Ninth Army in the Spreewald and its fighting westward advance (retreat?) through the rear of Marshall Koniev's First Ukrainian Front towards their rescuers of General Wenck's Twelfth Army near American lines on the Elbe; the madness of Hitler's bunker plus the street by street advance in Berlin itself of the Red Army towards the Reichstag, shooting and raping even Jews and German Communists along the way. There is the astonishing tale of General Karl Weidling, falsely condemned to death for allegedly abandoning his 56th Panzer Corps, only to be appointed the last Commandant of Berlin 24 hours later. Also eye-opening is the crucial role played by the little known Colonel General Gotthard Heinrici. This is a superb book. The finest war history I have ever read. Buy this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of military history 18 May 2003
By "u-156"
Format:Paperback
This is the definite account of the fall of Berlin. Dealing exclusively with the last three weeks of World War 2, Cornelius Ryan's gripping, 576 page masterpiece deals in huge detail with the Battle of Seelow Heights on the Oder 60 miles east of Berlin, the rapid American and British advance from the west, the Soviet encirclement of Berlin, the life and death struggle of General Busse's trapped German Ninth Army in the Spreewald southeast of the capital and its fighting westward advance (retreat?) through the rear of Marshall Koniev's First Ukrainian Front towards their rescuers of General Wenck's Twelfth Army near American lines on the Elbe; the madness of Hitler's bunker plus the street by street advance in Berlin itself of the Red Army towards the Reichstag. There is the astonishing tale of General Karl Weidling, falsely condemned to death for allegedly abandoning his 56th Panzer Corps, only to be appointed the last Commandant of Berlin 24 hours later. Also eye-opening is the crucial role played by the little known Colonel General Gotthard Heinrici. This is a superb read and, despite being written as far back as 1965, is distinctly better than the current book on the subject "Berlin: The Downfall 1945" by Anthony Beevor, which I have also reviewed. Cornelius Ryan's "The Last Battle" is the finest war history I have ever read. Buy this book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Ryan's previous books, Longest Day and A Bridge
too Far, along with The Final Battle, put the
overwhelming and sweeping events of WWII in a
human perspective. Traces not only the generals
and leaders of each nation, but brings out the
life and death struggles of ordinary people with
unfailing humanity. Best book of a remarkably
overlooked period in the War.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By JH
Format:Paperback
In my opinion, The Last Battle is the best of Ryan's books. This is Ryan's second installment of his books on World War II. The book covers the time period from March 1945 to May 1945 with plenty of interludes into events sometimes several years previous to set the stage for last battle of WWII the battle for Berlin. There was a lot of new material here that I had not known before. The revelation about the capture of the Allied plan for the occupation of Germany, Operation Eclipse, and the German reaction to its contents was very interesting. Even more interesting was the story of how the occupation plan was conceived and finally agreed to and the complete lack of communication and unity of the US position. As with Ryan's other books, he lays out the story from beginning to end through the perspective of all sides. He shows the story unfolding from the eyes of all the allies (American, British, and Russian), the defending Germans, as well as the civilians directly involved. A large portion of the book is based on personal interviews and research to document their accuracy.

Ryan gives a expansive explanation for why Eisenhower decided to not try to beat Russia to Berlin based on first hand interviews with the major players. I had always heard that we didn't continue because of the expected casualties that were expected. While this was one factor, the more important reasons were Eisenhower believing in the "National Redoubt" in Bavaria and knowing the Eclipse plan set the post war occupation boundaries. I found the political tangles between the Americans, British, and Russians fascinating.

Equally intriguing is the German side of the conflict. I enjoyed the introduction of newly appointed defender of Eastern German Front, Colonel General Gotthard Heinrici.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Balanced 17 May 2009
By Timmy B
Format:Paperback
I had read a good few books on the battle of berlin 1945, but i have to say that Cornelius Ryan's Book is very balanced,detailed and is a book i will keep as a very well written book on the final days of WWII. I would recommend it to anybody with an interest in the heroic attack and defence of the City of Berlin.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book also has the true history of the final days of World War II as does the great book " Conquer : Story of the Ninth Army" that is not documented in videos or televised versions of History. Video Tapes of WW II have dredfully slated versions of true history about the final days of WW II. The 2nd Armored Division crossed the Elbe River at Magdeburg and established a Bridgehead but had to withdraw due to great german defenses. The 83rd Inf. Division took Barby after bitter fighting, we crossed the Elbe River on Friday the 13, April, 1945 and established our bridgehead and other troops that stopped on the west side of the Elbe helped to reinforce it. I was there, 1st machine gun squad, "I" Co. 3rd Bn. of the 83rd Inf. Div. You will not regret the purchase of this great book also. These books rank more than 5 stars. I have them both and they do document the final days of WW II as it was.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best history books
Cornelius Ryan was a great journalist and war correspondent and the book is certainly one of the best history books on the subject of the final days of this once great city. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Speedbird707
5.0 out of 5 stars Know what you're buying
There are dozens of military studies available on the battle of Berlin, but this ISN'T one of them. Instead it follows the lives of several individuals on all sides during the last... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mr Withnail
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Bought the item as a gift and the recipient was very happy with the book.
item received with no issue
Published 18 months ago by andrew patton
3.0 out of 5 stars Cold War perspective on the battle of berlin
This book was deservedly famous in its day as an account of the last days of the Third Reich, but it's not as good as Ryan's account of D Day, "The longest day", and the reason for... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Dean, London
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional breadth and depth, a superb account.
Ryan's journalistic approach, ensuring the facts are as accurate as he could get them, makes this book fascinating, compelling and at the same time very personal. Read more
Published on 16 April 2012 by GJ_Reading
1.0 out of 5 stars An Odd Book
I purchased this book on the basis of having seen the classic film adaptions of Ryan's work (The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far), but sadly found myself very disappointed. Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2011 by XBBX
5.0 out of 5 stars Synopsis from back cover
A masterly account of those three weeks of the death throes of the Thousand Year Reich. It follows the fortunes of ordinary men and women, soldiers and civilians, victors and... Read more
Published on 19 Oct 2008 by Mary_10
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but miss something
I just got the book in Malaysia and believe, this kind of book are extremely rare to find because generally, Malaysians are not that interested into WW2 history. Read more
Published on 4 Jan 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opening account of the last days of the Third Reich.
This book is amazing! The author has had extensive interviews with many survivors of World War II, and tells their stories in a way that is as unbiased and accurate as possible. Read more
Published on 15 May 2001
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