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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Triumph, of Research and Sympathy
An extensively researched and sympathetically written account of life in Berlin during WWII.
Firstly, the detail and the way Moorhouse structures and themes his book makes Berlin at War a superior read. There is both narrative and argument in each of the well measured chapters.
Colour is also added through the variety of voices Moorhouse has captured - German,...
Published on 4 Aug. 2010 by Jessica Siobhan Golding

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars sometimes dry and detached, though interesting material
Roger Moorhouse's premise for writing Berlin at War was that much has been written about the Nazi Party, leading figures, the German armed forces, various campaigns and theatres of war, and the Holocaust, but little has been written about the lives of ordinary Germans during the war. In Berlin at War he seeks to rectify this by using documentary evidence and war diaries...
Published on 12 May 2012 by Rob Kitchin


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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Triumph, of Research and Sympathy, 4 Aug. 2010
An extensively researched and sympathetically written account of life in Berlin during WWII.
Firstly, the detail and the way Moorhouse structures and themes his book makes Berlin at War a superior read. There is both narrative and argument in each of the well measured chapters.
Colour is also added through the variety of voices Moorhouse has captured - German, Jewish, foreign correspondents - to create an original and unmatched portrait of a city which was a victim of the Third Reich, as well as its capital. Highly recommended.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing and Unique Look at Berlin During WW11, 3 Aug. 2010
Roger Moorhouse's latest book, Berlin at War, is a fascinating new look at what life was like for the citizens of Germany during the Second World War. Unusually, rather than focussing on the devastation inflicted on the allied countries, or the horrendous actions of the holocaust, Moorhouse has here examined the suffering experienced by the everyday German people living in Berlin during the war. Some of the experiences are tragic and heartbreaking, some are downright horrific. For me, having studied history at school and been interested in the events of World War Two on an amateur level, I was startled to think how little we question what the Germans experienced, so caught up are we in the sufferings of the persecuted Jews and the war-ravaged allied cities. In fact, they are more often than not bundled into a box with the leaders of the Third Reich and labelled "the enemy" in our minds. This book is a much needed documentary of the experiences of war time Berliners. It forces the reader to reassess our attitude of what we constitute as `the Germans' in World War Two.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb historical analysis..., 6 Oct. 2010
By 
Jill Meyer (United States) - See all my reviews
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Roger Moorhouse's new history, "Berlin at War" is a terrific view of Germany's capital city during WW2. Moorhouse covers every phase of life for those who lived in the city - whether by choice because they were residents - or by force, because they were foreign laborers brought into Berlin from the occupied countries to help with the war effort. He obviously interviewed many Berliners about their lives during the war, as well as depending on diaries and official documents of the German government.

Moorhouse examines daily life in the city as the war progressed. From the early air raids by the British to the almost carpet bombing later in the war when much of the city was destroyed, life for Berliners went from relatively easy to a desperate day-by-day existence. Searching for food and other rationed goods was an on-going problem, for everybody. (Except, of course, Nazi officials). The reader sees how acceptance of the idea of "total war" calling for "total effort" on the home front slackened greatly as the war was perceived by Berliners as going the wrong way, after 1942. Moorhouse writes about ordinary Berliners trying to eke out a daily existence despite nights spent in air raid shelters and largely destroyed city infrastructure. And then the Russians came, in early 1945, and destruction to the once great, liberal city was complete.

Moorhouse leaves very little out in his book. Chapters on the Jewish "problem" and ultimate solution are in the book along with chapters on propaganda, criminality by both the state and individuals, and on how the city functioned in the face of destruction. He's an excellent writer, too. For the amateur historian, this book is a delight.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than just a "voices from" book., 17 Aug. 2011
Berlin at War is a well researched and sympathetically written account of what life was like for ordinary Berliners during WWII. Our perspectives and prejudices are sometimes challenged, sometimes reinforced - yet the book always engages.
Although the author has conducted a number of new interviews Berlin at War is by no means just a "voices from" History book - it is far more subtle and elegant in its narrative and arguments.
Obviously this is a must read for anyone interested in WWII, but such is this book's scope and humanity that I hope it reaches a wider audience.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History for historics., 23 Aug. 2010
By 
Bobby Smith (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I love my history which is why I adored Berlin at War. This book works on all levels - be they social history, military history or just the plain odd. The book is rammed full of interesting little snippets of info - such as the explosion of halitosis in Berlin, the rations Berliners ate and the grey atmosphere of the city as a whole. Moorhouse, rather than condemning or ranting at Berliners, merely shows the reader what it was like - living on the doorstep of a fascist dictatorship and yet still having normal feelings of love, hate and fear. For me it made Hans Falladas book Alone in Berlin (Penguin Modern Classics) even more poignant. A great literary work of art.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars sometimes dry and detached, though interesting material, 12 May 2012
By 
Rob Kitchin - See all my reviews
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Roger Moorhouse's premise for writing Berlin at War was that much has been written about the Nazi Party, leading figures, the German armed forces, various campaigns and theatres of war, and the Holocaust, but little has been written about the lives of ordinary Germans during the war. In Berlin at War he seeks to rectify this by using documentary evidence and war diaries to examine the lives of Berliners, and those living in the city such as diplomats, journalists and forced labourers, during the conflict. Rather than chart a straight chronological history, Moorhouse instead focuses on key themes such as rationing and sourcing food, architecture, bombings and taking shelter, entertainment, propaganda, evacuation, Jewish deportations, forced labour, regulations, governance and policing, resistance, public mood, and armed conflict. The result is a somewhat dry, but fascinating account of life in the German capital. Somewhat ironically, for a book that is meant to focus on the everyday lives of Berliners, the book starts by describing a Nazi parade for Hitler's birthday in April 1939, rather than the mundanity of work or home life or leisure. The reliance on diaries and written testament, rather than interviews, is partially responsible I think for the quite detached tone, and it took me a little while to get into the book. By about a hundred pages in though I was hooked and Moorhouse does an admirable job of discussing a range of different issues to build up a reasonably comprehensive overview of everyday life. Not the most compelling book on the Second War World, and does not significantly extend accounts by William Shirer and Anthony Beevor or indeed the novels of Philip Kerr and Hans Falada, but an interesting read nonetheless.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Letters from Berlin vindicated, 7 July 2012
By 
Mr. E. Baty "Fr Ted" (Camberley, Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
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I purchased this book because I had written memoirs of family members on my wife's side who lived in Berlin throughout the war.

What Roger Moorhouse has done is to give us a vivid and readable account of everyday life in the city at the time, alongside the broader trends.

For me, it was particularly rewarding to be told of the surprisingly low support in general for the Nazi regime in the city's elections. My wife's grandmother, writing from Berlin was ever at odds with it. The account in pages 271ff is particularly helpful in describing the way in which Berliners adapted to a regime which so few of them seem to have supported electorally.

On a more general canvas, this underlines the way in which the Nazi regime, with its SS and secret police was a "state within a state."

For anyone keen to understand this era, Roger Moorhouse has given us a readable and informative book, useful for every serious student.

Ted Baty
(The Reverend Doctor Edward Baty IMM)

PS I bought this Amazon at quite a discount, which made the purchase very worthwhile!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book of Outstanding Quality With Much New Information, 11 May 2011
By 
Dr. R. Brandon (England) - See all my reviews
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This is a truly first rate book and I find myself in complete agreement with the cover comments of Antony Beevor and Andrew Roberts who both praise it highly.
Moorhouse brings to what could be a hackneyed topic a crisp factual style and impressive research to provide information about the situation in Berlin during the war that will probably be new to most readers. The book is roughly chronological but where it makes more sense to move forward through a number of years in a specific subject chapter Moorhouse does this. For example, the author deals with rationing and the availability of food in the German capital and shows that shortages were experienced at an earlier stage than might be expected and that most people were reliant upon the black market in order to survive by the middle war years.
The early years of German success and the excitement of the glittering parades and upsurge of enthusiasm and pride are brilliantly portrayed. The chapter on forced labour is a revelation. The use of labour from western and eastern Europe is described and the vast spectrum of experiences by various labourers revealed. The ubiquity of such labour in the capital was something that surprised me. The sections on the air raids, almost entirely from the RAF until the last year of the war, are quite excellent. Moorhouse's powers of description are impressive and he is able to invoke the sheer horror of the experiences extremely well. Despite relying on the stories of many different people the book never becomes a `cut and paste' list of extracts and is wonderfully coherent.
A book of the highest quality that will surely bear comparison with some of the outstanding books on the war that have appeared in the last ten years.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original and Enlightening, 2 Aug. 2010
I picked up a copy of Berlin At War after reading a glowing review by Max Hastings' in The Sunday Times.
The book is well researched and essential reading for WWII enthusiasts, but the style and content are accessible and one doesn't need a specialist knowledge of the period to appreciate the tragedy and arguments Moorhouse deftly conveys. German and Jews were victims of the Third Reich, in differing ways. The Battle of Berlin was also far more horrific than The Battle of Britain.
Highly recommended. It is doubtful that there will be a more sympathetic WWII title this year containing so many original and enlightening insights.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Berlin at war, 12 Sept. 2011
I received this book as part of my voluntary job as a reviwer for ARRSE ( the Army Rumour Service), a website for serving and ex-serving - and anyone else who wants a laugh or some wise and not so wise information. I can report that it is a fascinating book, with insight, historical detail and most readable.
The author clearly is very well informed and his research is impeccable. The book is an easy read, informative and although at times a touch sad, it gives a clear picture of life in Berlin in those terrible and tragic times. It is often far too easy for those of us who were not there to dismiss the city as being an enemy stronghold and all in it deserved what they got, but we should pause and remember that few were involved in the horrible acts that took place and the majority were ordinary people,much as those in our own cities and towns, with their hopes, wishes and lives parallel to our own.
I suggest that once you have read this book then your perceptions may well change. I recommend it strongly.
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