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Wolf Among Wolves Paperback – 24 Jun 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: MELVILLE HOUSE PUBLISHING; Unabridged edition (24 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933633921
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933633923
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.3 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 266,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"The ideal summer read."
--Katherine Powers, "The Boston Globe "
"An unmissably brilliant portrait of Berlin before the Nazis."
"--The Times of London"
"Outstanding... his novels, whatever their ultimate position in the literary rankings, are simply much more entertaining than the tomes produced by the usual German suspects, Mann, Hesse, Grass, BOll....if you fancy a book to take you right through your holidays and any possible delays at the airport, you couldn't do better than "Wolf Among Wolves.""
--Tibor Fischer, "Telegraph" (UK)
"His most ambitious novel... deeply moving... he has evoked more than one can bear, but not more than it is necessary to learn, to keep and to understand."
--Alfred Kazin, "The New York Times "(1938)" "
"Fallada handles [the characters] not morbidly but with a Hogarthian exuberance and a tough humor, infusing into even those dying spirits the life of his copious imagination... Fallada's best book."
--"The New Yorker" (1938)
"What other living German novelist shares with Fallada the power to grip the reader on the first page and hold him unremittingly through 1100 more?"
--Bayard Q. Morgan, "World Literature Today" (1938)
"Out of the multitude of episodes and a large cast of characters, the picture of post-War Germany during the terror of the inflation period, comes into reality, as in almost no other book we have had... A human document--and a moving picture of a Germany gone mad."
"--Kirkus Reviews"
Praise for Hans Fallada
"Fallada can be seen as a hero, a writer-hero who survived just long enough to strike back at his oppressors."
--Alan Furst
"Fallada deserves high praise for having reported realistically, so truthfully, with such closeness to life."
--Herman Hesse

About the Author

Prior to WWII, the novels of German writer Hans Fallada (born Rudolf Ditzen) were international bestsellers. But when Jewish producers in Hollywood made his 1932 novel, "Little Man, What Now? "into a major motion picture, the rising Nazis began to take note of him. His struggles increased after he refused to join the Party and was denounced by neighbors for "anti-Nazi" sympathies. Unlike many other prominent artists, however, Fallada decided not to flee Germany. By the end of World War II he'd suffered an alcohol-fueled nervous breakdown and was in a Nazi insane asylum, where he nonetheless managed to write--in code--the brilliant subversive novel, "The Drinker." After the war, Fallada went on to write "Every Man Dies Alone," based on an actual Gestapo file, but he died in 1947 of a morphine overdose, just before it was published.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Although this novel has been translated into English before, it was not a complete version. However now Thorsten Carstensen and Nicholas Jacobs have added to Philip Owens' 1938 translation to give us this masterpiece in its entirety for the first time.

Hans Fallada wrote here an absolutely gripping and faithful tale about what life was like in the time of what we call the Weimer Republic. After losing the First World War, Germany was placed in a very difficult position due to the Treaty of Versailles. Inflation soared to unprecedented heights and both extremist left and right organisations sought to overthrow the government. This novel opens in 1923, a year when a fifty million Mark note in September was worth one US Dollar, and within a few weeks was worthless. Life was hard for everyone, and only foreign currency was really worth anything.

When you first start to read this you may think that it will be just mainly about the love and lives of Wolfgang and Petra, who Wolfgang calls Peter. However there is so much more in this saga that divides itself between Berlin and Neulohe (which is about thirteen miles from the Polish border). This sweeping saga brings to life the people and the problems of the period, indeed in some ways I thought this was reminiscent of the great Dostoevsky, filled with some truly unforgettable characters. This is most certainly a masterpiece, and by many is considered to be a greater work than Alone in Berlin (Penguin Modern Classics). For anyone who loves reading great litetature, instead of the usual humdrum material that is usually in the bestseller charts this book is a must have.

There is just so much here in this sprawling novel that I wholeheartedly recommend it to be read. Included is also an afterword on why this was originally edited, etc.
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Format: Paperback
This book can be recommended primarily as a unique work of authentic storytelling. It is set in the midst of unfolding dramatic events in post first world war Germany prior to the rise of the Nazis. A riveting period of European history which the author successfully conveys through characters and events that are directly influenced by contemporary influences. The book is a masterly example of "zeitgeist" culture and stands the test of time considering it was originally published in 1938. Fallada was taking considerable risks with this project. However the authorities probably saw his work as both a critique of the politically weak administration in 1923 and a treatise on the ability of German character to overcome adversity.
They would not have seen the writer's subtlety in describing how the German people were caught up in a nightmare of insecurity,economic collapse, corruption and decadence following the humiliation of military defeat at the hand of the allies in 1918 (followed by the Treaty of Versailles) and how these factors were creating near perfect conditions for national weakness and collective neurosis resulting in both passive acceptance and fervent zeal for the propoganda that allowed the Nazi party to gain power in Germany in 1933.
This remarkable novel is one of the best literary works to throw some light on the definitve question of this or any other age-just how could it happen? I would recommend to anyone looking to put this era into the context of Europe in the 20th century and what it could signify for the Europe of today to read Fallada's novels.
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If you've read any of Fallada's other books you'll like this one too.
It's longer, at almost 800 pages and much slower moving than is typical of the Author, but the quality of his prose never wavers and his brilliance is on every page.

It's Fallada's rich depth of characters, where even the simplest of people can at times be complex and his rich understanding of human nature and it's intricacies and foibles that make his writing so appealing.

Set in 1923, in a Germany whose economy has collapsed and poverty and crime are rampant everywhere. As are thieves, corruption and massive daily inflation.
There's rioting in the streets and soldiers living rough and foraging in the forests.
The book is subtle in its criticism of the Nazi's that were coming into power and becoming a monster with momentum, yet it is obvious enough to see it.
Published in 1938, it's easy to see how Fallada feared this book would cause him death by Nazi retribution.

Perhaps this is why previous versions of this book were heavily edited, with chapters missing. This is the whole and complete unabridged version and it's a cracking novel.
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I really enjoyed this novel and it is a major work that might be spoken of in the same breath as other long and complex novels i.e. much of what was produced in the nineteenth century. I don't have much German so it's hard to make an intelligent comment on the translation but suffice it to say that it carried me seamlessly along. The historical context was beautifully evoked. Since discovering Hans Fallada a couple of years ago I have become a fan mainly because the characters are so well drawn and we see them warts and all. We don't necessarily like them but we do understand why they behave as they do and they make me think of Brechtian alienation as I watch their stories unfold and Brecht was a contemporary of Falada. I really couldn't put this down once I got into it.
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