The Fall of Berlin 1945 Paperback – 1 May 2003
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Military history, even at its best, can be a cold art. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that wars involve individuals, each with their own hopes, fears and desires. Berlin: the Downfall, 1945, is Antony Beevor's account of the bloody Götterdämmerung that brought the Second World War in Europe to an end, and in which he has fused the large and the small scale effects of war. Beevor paints the broad picture of Marshals Zhukov and Konev, competing for glory and Stalin's attention, as they race their armies towards Berlin. He gives the reader a gripping account of the brutal street-by-street fighting in the German capital and provides an unforgettable portrait of the last, insane days of Hitler and his entourage in the bunker.
His attention to emotional detail is what made his previous book Stalingrad such a magnificent work, combining a sweeping hisorical narrative with a remarkable sensitivity to human drama. Yet he also highlights the small details of ordinary people caught in the nightmare of history--the sick children evacuated at the last minute from a Potsdam hospital; the Soviet soldiers shaving themselves for the first time in weeks so that they would make appropriately presentable conquerors; and the Nazi Youth teenagers peddling their bikes in despairing, last-ditch attacks against the Red Army's tanks.
The story Beevor tells is an almost unremittingly terrible one--one of death, rape, hunger and human misery--but he tells it with both an epic sweep and an alertness to individuality. The result is a masterpiece of narrative history that is as powerful as Stalingrad. --Nick Rennison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The best account yet written on the death knell of Hitler's vaunted Thousand Year Reich."
"A tale drenched in drama and blood, heroism and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal."
"Beevor once more demonstrates his mastery of the sources . . . and his skill in describing complicated operations."
"Beevor is . . . a superb writer, a diligent researcher and a master of battlefield detail."
"A masterpiece of modern historical writing."
A tale drenched in drama and blood, heroism and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal. (Jonathan Yardley, "The Washington Post") Beevor is . . . a superb writer, a diligent researcher and a master of battlefield detail. ("The Chicago Tribune") Beevor once more demonstrates his mastery of the sources . . . and his skill in describing complicated operations. (Gordon A. Craig, "The New York Review of Books")
"There was no more hellish place on earth than Berlin in 1944...[and] Beevor has created haunting images of the war's final days." The New York Times Book Review
"Beevor is...a superb writer, a diligent researcher and a master of battlefield detail." The Chicago Tribune
"A tale drenched in drama and blood, heroism and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal." Jonathan Yardley in The Washington Post
"Antony Beevor is a British historian of great distinction and range, who has written widely on military affairs in the twentieth century. His history of the battle of Stalingrad was awarded the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, the Wolfson History Prize and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature. To write a successor to that excellent chronicle of the savagery of modern warfare could not have been easy. . . But Beevor once more demonstrates his mastery of his sources, including newly discovered material from Soviet archives, and his skill in describing complicated operations." Gordon Craig in the New York Review of Books.
"A quite splendid book, one which combines a calm and scholarly narrative with an unrelenting moral indignation at what he has uncovered. It stands as a superbly lucid examination of one of the most dreadful battles in world history." Kevin Myers in the Irish Times.
"With [the Red Army] travels Antony Beevor understanding the wider strategic issues as well as feeling the plight of the simple soldiers of both sides, in this mother of all battles, carrying on his back an imposing pack of research as well as compassion. His majestic earlier book, Stalingrad, equips him to be the essential concomitant to write this final battle." Alistair Horne in The Times (London).
"As in his Stalingrad, Antony Beevor skilfully combines the big picture of the developing strategic situation with a sense of the extraordinary experiences on the ground . . . The strength ofThe Fall of Berlin 1945is an irresistibly compelling narrative, of events so terrible that they still have the power, more than half a century on, to provoke wonder and awe." Adam Sisman in the Observer.
"An impressive contribution. . . packed with stories about soldiers and civilians at the extremes of human experience, Berlin excites and informs." The Economist
"In Stalingrad Beevor gave us a riveting account of that crucial fearful battle, when Hitler s forces met their match. . . Beevor deploys the same successful techniques in Berlin. He combines a soldier s understanding of war s realities with a novelist s eye for symbolic and emotional detail. Nobody will forget the artillerists who kept their mouths open to stop their ear drums bursting as they fired their guns; the little boys in Landsberg who played war games with wooden swords amid the bombed-out ruins of their house; or the rhodedendrons that were coming into bloom as mortar-fire rained down on Berlin, darkening the street with smoke and dust. Beevor paints a terrifying picture." Orlando Figes in the Sunday Times (London)"See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
What I also did not realise was the reason why the last months of the war ended as they did - ferocious defense by the Germans in the East and rolling over in the West - and the ulterior motives behind the Allies behaviour. If you read Stalingrad in conjunction with Berlin you begin to see that the Russians felt almost justified in their actions. But its the last few pages that are the classic twist in the tail - I won't spoil it but the German Army attitude to the events of the war is stunning. If you think history is a dry affair then read this and get a fresh perspective.
Beevor successfully measures the human suffering against the "meat-grinder" mentality of the ideological clash of Stalinism and Nazism. He contrasts the pride and vanity of Hitler and the paranoid totalitarianism of Stalin, the meeting of which was guaranteed to result in terrible casualties as combatants, deluded and indoctrinated by continuous and insidious propaganda, fought desperately for every inch of ground.
Tales of gang rape and wanton destruction by the invading forces, particularly in East Prussia, hit heavy notes in the reading, whilst the knowledge of how deeply the Red Army operated under the prying and intolerant eyes of its Soviet masters is also clearly and compassionately portrayed; the dispassionate NKVD reports of summary execution and Gulag imprisonment of liberated Red Army prisoners for simply having surrendered fills one with anger, particularly as the Red Army had suffered over 9 million casualties by this time.
In his Stalingrad book, Beevor shifted his sympathies initially from the Russians gradually toward the Germans as the tide of battle shifted; in Berlin: The Downfall, Beevor's sympathies throughout remain in favour of the German civilians, and the German Army commanders who acted against the Nazi leadership.Read more ›
It is the story not so much of the downfall of Berlin in 1945, but the crushing of the city and the brutalisation of the population.
Finishing this book you are left with a disgust of war, a disgust of mans inhumanity to man, and a digust of men's inhumanity to women.
A shocking and enthralling read, brilliantly written by a brilliant author. It is unputdownable and eclipses his earlier "Stalingrad" work.
For the most part, Beevor concentrates on the Russian front as the Germans face off against the Soviet army. He does have a chapter or two about the other allies, but most of the time that he is talking about them, it is in relation to the Eastern Front and how some of the remaining Germans were trying to retreat to the American and British lines so that they could surrender and hopefully not get killed by the invading Soviet hordes. Beevor also details the Yalta conference and how Stalin completely hoodwinked Churchill and Roosevelt (Roosevelt himself was very ill at this time and certainly wasn't at his best) in regards to his intentions for Poland and for Berlin. Other than this, however, Beevor is completely devoted to action in Poland and in eastern Germany. This isn't surprising, as most of the action in this period of the war was centred here. Not to say there wasn't any fighting in the West, but once the Americans crossed the Rhine river, the Germans seemed more intent on making sure they didn't surrender to the Russians.
Beevor does a good job with the subject. He writes in an interesting manner that doesn't contain the dryness that is prevalent in some history texts.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great book. My first 'Beevor'. Staggering detail. Spurs you on to delve deeper into the madness of the Third Reich and Stalins Russian.Published 3 months ago by Paul Turner
The somewhat-sequel to Stalingrad tells the story of the Red Army sweeping across Eastern Europe. It's a fairly grim tale -- the talk of rape starts around page 2 --, and contains... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michael Galvin