I am a newcomer to the life and works of Hans Fallada. Alone in Berlin is my introduction to his writing - and what a profound experience this has been. The essential plot and background of his novel concerns the brutality of Nazi rule in wartime Berlin and the brave resistance of individuals caught in vice-like terror. We are taken through a dark labyrinth involving three main strands;the fact of working class survival and existence,the vicissitudes of a pitiful underclass,and the all pervasive institutionalised thuggery of Fascism. The central characters,the Quangels,and others of their kind undertake low key forms of resistance. The underclass are a mirror-image of Nazi rule itself; apolitical,amoral and vicious. The book is both a meticulous thriller and a social document. The reader may be inclined to ask- did all this really happen so recently? It did. It must not happen again.