- Save 10% on selected children’s books, compliments of Amazon Family Promotion exclusive for Prime members .
Fall Of Hitler's Fortress City: The Battle for Konigsberg 1945 Paperback – 5 Nov 2009
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
This book is well presented and extremely readable. Denny did an excellent job casting a totally non-military perspective on the fortress of Konigsberg, unlike most WW2 books that focus more so from a military strategy point of view. She presented Konigsberg and its rich history as the cultural gem of East Prussia, and beyond the broken families and the lives lost, a piece of human history was destroyed when the Russian conquerors practically razed the city. Even in the post-war years, Russian authorities deliberately refused to maintain or outright demolish buildings of historical value in order to wipe out Konigsberg, now Kaliningrad, from German memory ... This book is a wonderful source for those looking for the human side of war. Glorious battles and duels of ideologies aside, it is the civilians who truly suffer, and Denny did a great job illustrating it with first-hand accounts. --World War II Database," May 2007
I read The Fall of Hitler s Fortress City: The Battle for Königsberg, 1945 in just two days because I found it so compelling. Isabel s excellent book proves that narrative history doesn t have to be populist, dumbed down or badly-researched. And she pulls no punches when it comes to the sheer bloody horror of what happened to the people of East Prussia once the tables had been turned and the Russians arrived with reprisals for Leningrad and Stalingrad uppermost in their minds --Secondary Education
A superb portrait of a forgotten but vital World War II battle of strategic importance and bestial savagery --Simon Sebag Montefiore --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The author... uses personal accounts to explore the horror of the situation. (Journal for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies)See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Equally however, what sets this book apart and would certainly make me include it in any 'East Prussia Collection' in English or German, is the living picture this author presents of everyday life in that vibrant, once great city in the decades up to the showdown in 1945. She enters skilfullly into the social and economic background of this handsome old East Prussian capital and brings it alive in a way that no other writers seem to do. And in this rather than in the military aspect, she has provided a real contributuion to the genre.
It's title is misleading since the fall of Königsberg is hardly touched upon at all. The brief overview of East Prussian history is interesting. I note that the writer is or was a history teacher according to another reviewer and this is clear from the potted history of the war in the Est which the book could easily do without. Do we really need a rehash of Stalingrad and Kursk when there is no detail of the Soviet offensive into East Prussia in 1945?
I could not find any reference to Otto Lasch's book nor to other works on the campaign. Since Lasch was the Fortress Commander in Königsberg and presided over its fall, I would have expected him to be heavily quoted which is not the case. Equally bizarre is the reliance placed on Guy Sajer's work. This is not the place to discuss whether his book is a novel rather than a memoir but I feel it should be treated a little more sceptically than seems to be the case here.
It is really a pity that a work that offers so much should deliver so little, although the folkloric picture of the area before the war arrives is well done. The definitive work on this subject is still waiting to be written.
In the winter of 1945 Konigsberg stood between the Red Army and Berlin. The German forces were ordered to fight to the last man and the civilian population was not evacuated. In avenging the cruelties of the Nazi campaign in Russia their army fought with no holds barred. Denny describes the misery in both armies and particularly amongst the civilian population during a bitterly cold winter, using first-hand stories from the survivors of this most brutal campaign.
You will not find Konigsberg on the map. After the Red Army had razed it to the ground the city was renamed Kaliningrad and, since 1946, this part of north east Prussia has been part of Russia.
She goes on to describe the wider context and includes an excellent short description of Operation Barbarossa (the German attack on Russia, leading to the terrible events of Leningrad and Stalingrad). She describes the appalling treatment the German army meted out to the Russian villagers they encountered on the way, and the horror of the siege of Stalingrad. This enables her to go some way to explaining the savagery of the Russian advance through Germany, and the devastation of Koenigsberg as Germany finally lost the war.
The German regional leader, Erich Koch, made the downfall even worse by refusing to accept the overwhelming force of the Russian army, and he compelled every citizen to prepare tank-traps and other fortifications against the Russians. Anyone who expressed any doubt about the German cause could be shot as a traitor, and Koch exercised a total news blackout so that the citizens of Koenigsberg had little idea of the fate that awaited them.
The author makes her account very readable by including many anecdotes and personal accounts from residents of the city. I found myself that with such total destruction anyone survived to tell their tale, but large numbers managed to escape across the ice to local ports where German ships waited to carry them away - but not necessarily to safety - Denny describes the fate of the ex Nazi cruise ship, the Wilhelm Gustloff which was sunk by a Russian submarine with 9000 passengers and crew lost at sea - a bigger disaster by far than the Titanic.
Denny refers several times in quotations and by direct references, that the fall of Koenigsberg and East Prussia can be seen as the retribution of destiny for German treatment of the Russians. While it is understandable that her sources felt this way, they grate a little, when so often tyrants and oppressors *do* get away with their crimes.
The book ends with a description of present day Kaliningrad, and Denny quotes a German visitor, "one cannot escape an uncanny feeling of the old Koenigsberg, like the negative of a damaged photograph, lying ten to twenty feet underneath the city's surface". As I look back on this book I feel that Isabel Denny has revealed this ancient city again for the the 21st century reader so that we have another Pompeii which only survives through excavation and long-buried eye-witness accounts of its rich cosmopolitan culture. An excellent book for the general reader as well as the historian.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews
It is the only book I ever bought from Amazon that I was unable to finish reading (among, what, 200? 300?).Read more
The siege and fall of the city in 1945 is hardy touched and not described...Read more