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The Last Battle: The Fall of Berlin, 1945 (Wordsworth Military Library) Paperback – 18 Nov 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 574 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New edition edition (18 Nov. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840222190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840222197
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,936 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "u-156" on 21 Jan. 2003
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 By "u-156" on 18 May 2003
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 on 16 May 1997
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 on 15 April 2012
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GJ_Reading on 16 April 2012
Format: Paperback
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.

By moving between combatants on the German, American, British and Russian sides, as well as frequently delving into the lives of Berlin's ordinary (and some extraordinary) inhabitants the reader gets a very broad appreciation of events near the close of the war around Berlin.

That he personally interviewed many of the protagonists, impressively including a number of Russians that at the time of the cold war would have been difficult to arrange meetings with, makes it a book of first hand accounts that have an immediacy lacking in some later works on world war 2.

There is also a depth, this isn't a victor's book triumphantly looking at allied victory but a study of the practice and experience of war and its effects on all involved. There are some harrowing accounts of those effects on citizens in the book. It does well to paint a memorable picture of a city and a people at the moment of final collapse.

As with Ryan's other books reading this reminds us that real people, not so different from you and I, experienced tension, fear and stress so far beyond our own lives that I questioned if I would have been brave and lucid during the worst moments as some were or if I would have fallen apart like some others did. I imagine many readers had similar thoughts.
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