Synopses & Reviews
From the pomp and glitter of the 1936 Olympics to the apocalyptic battle to capture the ruined capital of the Nazi Empire, The Fall of Berlin presents a kaleidoscopic portrait of one of the world's greatest cities caught between the lunacy and cruelty of its leaders and the brutal determination of encircling Soviet armies. The authors have delved into archival research, diaries, and memoirs, and conducted numerous interviews to recreate through brilliantly detailed vignettes the story of Berlin and its resilient inhabitants: the soldiers and ordinary citizens pounded by Allied bombing but maintaining their gallows humor; the endless procession of refugees; the 5,000 Jews who foiled the Nazi's rabid attempt to "purify" the capital; people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer who gave their lives in heroic anti-Nazi resistance while film stars and the well-connected lived in precarious luxury; the Third Reich's leaders jockeying for power in Hitler's underground bunker even as a ragged army of children, invalids, and old men confronted Soviet tanks in the rubble above; and of course, Hitler himself, trapped beneath a city he hated, waiting for the miracle promised him in horoscope readings. Not since Is Paris Burning? has a book so vividly evoked the daily struggle for survival and dignity in the nightmarish center of total war.
"[The Fall of Berlin] improves on Cornelius Ryan's classic, The Last Battle, by providing a fascinating social history of wartime Berlin, complete with extraordinary detail on life and leisure in the German capital." Daily Telegraph (London)
"A kaleidoscopic portrait of the last days of the Nazi Reich, narrated in the best apocalyptic style....Splendidly researched and admirably constructed, this stands as one of the best accounts yet of the war and its terrible toll." Kirkus Reviews
"[A] vivid verbal panorama....Significant events such as the Reichstag fire and the Kristallnacht pogrom are examined in detail, but the focus remains largely on the resourceful, resilient Berliners themselves as they deal with increasing hardship and danger." Publishers Weekly
"Very good indeed...[the authors] carry out the historian's primary job of description and narrative, excellently." The Times (London)
"[A] highly readable and, at the same time, sophisticated and reliable narrative history." Library Journal
Presents a kaleidoscopic portrait of one of the world's greatest cities caught between the lunacy and cruelty of its leaders and the brutal determination of encircling Soviet armies.
The battle for Berlin in 1945 was one of the most violent battles ever fought for a city. For Stalin, Hitler's Berlin was the ultimate prize. More than 300,000 Soviet soldiers died in the attack.
Read and Fisher set the scene during the 1936 Olympics where Berlin was the showcase for the 1,000-year Reich. Then sketching the history of this extraordinary city, they follow its transformation by the Prussians from a political and cultural backwater, into a formidable garrison town. Both seedy and glamorous when it fell under Nazi sway in 1933, Berlin, the city, became the vital hub of Hitler's war machine as the war approached.
After four years of relentless allied bombing, Berlin was faced with its ultimate test as a war fortress. The result? No building or street remained unscathed as the terrified remnants of Hitler's armies attempted to hold back the "barbarians from the east."
The dramatic and harrowing account of the last days of the capital of the Reich that was to have lasted 1,000 years. The authors make use of survivors' accounts, photographic archives, and detailed documentary evidence.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 469-478) and index.