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The Fall of Berlin 1945 Paperback – 1 May 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 204 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reissue edition (May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142002801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142002803
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 847,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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.

Review

"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)"

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I had read Stalingrad and was not sure that Berlin could be as gripping a story - the result of the fighting was a forgone conclusion. But its not the description of the progress of the war that really makes this book. Its the individual stories that make this book a 'must read'
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.
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Format: Paperback
Antony Beevor showed in his excellent Stalingrad how to clearly and accurately portray the chaos and confusion of a vast and sprawling military engagement without losing sight of the individual experience and harrowing minutiae of enormous human tragedy. In this book, he again succeeds in portraying the staggering scale of the battle for Berlin, but also brings out the astonishing and shocking level of suffering that accompanied it.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
This is by no means "another war book". It brings the harsh realities of totalitarianism to the fore. This is the story of the last battle of the European theatre of World War 2, a battle to the end.
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.
A masterpiece.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a superb book and it was so readable and interesting that I finished it within three days of Amazon delivering it to my door. The battle for Berlin is often overlooked since it took place when there war was all but won and no western nations were involved. However like D-Day or Stalingrad it was an event of huge significance and much suffering. In his book Beevor manages to get the balance between military, political and human stories just right so interest is maintained throughout. Excellent!
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Format: Paperback
The Fall of Berlin 1945 is obviously about the last series of battles in World War II. It not only covers the final battle for the German capital, but it actually starts in January 1945. The Russians are sitting on the Vistula river, just outside Warsaw, and waiting to launch one of the final attacks that will finally collapse the Nazi regime. Beevor has done lots of research, and it shows. This is a completely compelling book. You do, however, have to have an interest in the subject and you should probably not be in a really bad mood when you read it. It is kind of a downer.
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.
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