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Last Battle: The Classic History of the Battle for Berlin (1966)

de Cornelius Ryan

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1,1211113,887 (4.06)12
The classic account of the final offensive against Hitler's Third Reich -- newly in print for the 50th anniversary of VE Day. The Battle for Berlin was the culminating struggle of World War II in the European theater, the last offensive against Hitler's Third Reich, which devastated one of Europe's historic capitals and brought the Nazi leviathan to its downfall. It was also one of the war's bloodiest and most pivotal moments, whose outcome would play a part in determining the complexion of international politics for decades to come. The Last Battle is the compelling account of this final battle, a story of brutal extremes, of stunning military triumph alongside the stark conditions that the civilians of Berlin experienced in the face of the Allied assault. As always, Ryan delves beneath the military and political forces that were dictating events to explore the more immediate questions of survival, where, as the author describes it, "to eat had become more important than to love, to burrow more dignified than to fight, to exist more militarily correct than to win." The Last Battle is the story of ordinary people, both soldiers and civilians, caught up in the despair, frustration, and terror of defeat. It is history at its best, a masterful illumination of the effects of war on the lives of individuals, and one of the enduring works on World War II.… (més)
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Excellent! Ryan never disappoints... ( )
  scottcholstad | Dec 25, 2019 |
An extremely readable account of the death throes of the Third Reich. We get fairly balanced accounts from the British and american Armies, and even a kind word or two about the Soviet forces. But the main focus is on the Wehrmacht, doggedly trying to carry out impossible orders issuing from the madhouse of Hitler's Bunker. And we do get to follow the well drawn cast of this brutally ironic drama, down to the final bonfire in the garden. Not to be missed by the student of WWII. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 7, 2019 |
Berlino: l’ultimo bastione del nazismo, l’ultimo rifugio del Fuhrer, l’ultimo ostacolo al trionfo degli alleati; ed anche il primo viluppo da cui nacquero i nuovi conflitti, le polemiche postbelliche, la guerra fredda.
Dalla notte dei tempi l’assedio di una città — Troia o Cartagine, Gerusalemme o Costantinopoli, Vienna o Stalingrado — ha contato fra gli eventi determinanti delle grandi svolte storiche. L’assedio e la conquista di Berlino, con cui si chiude la seconda guerra mondiale, non fanno eccezione. Mancava, nella confusione delle lingue e nel fuoco delle polemiche postbelliche, lo storico che sapesse di quegli eventi dare la cronaca esatta, l’obiettiva valutazione politica, la dimensione della tragedia e della sofferenza umana.
Il dramma e l’orrore della caduta di Berlino, la sorte dei berlinesi (e delle loro donne), le crisi isteriche di Hitler nel bunker segreto, l’avanzata sanguinosa dei vincitori e la lenta agonia degli sconfitti: in un quadro, assieme, di sfaccettature e di sintesi, l’opera di Ryan racconta a tutti ciò che prima sapevano solo, ciascuno nel suo ambito, il militare, il diplomatico, il borghese.
Se Berlino è il centro focale di ogni pagina dell’Ultima battaglia, l’opera è complessa, corale: mescola atti e parole di generali e politici, di soldati e casalinghe. Magistralmente integrati, gli episodi ci fanno partecipi degli attriti fra i militari, delle polemiche fra i diplomatici, delle sofferenze di ciascuno degli uomini e delle donne che vinsero entro e attorno a Berlino, da vittime e da vincitori il grande dramma della città accerchiata e sconfitta. ( )
  BiblioLorenzoLodi | Feb 26, 2016 |
In The Last Battle, Cornelius Ryan recounts the battle for Berlin and the final collapse of the Nazi regime, as the Allies swept into Germany from the west only to cede the capital to the Soviet army. Most western audiences are naturally more familiar with events on the western front, but here Ryan focuses more on the clash of the Germans and the Soviets to the east. This is grim stuff as the Russians wreak their vengeance, but nonetheless fascinating; if you've read his other books, The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far, you know he paints a vivid picture, weaving several threads into a gripping narrative.

It's difficult to wrap one's head around the level of barbaric brutality to which supposedly civilized societies could descend so recently in our past, unless you remember that the Nazis in the end were reaping the bitter fruits of the seeds of hatred and violence that they had sown (which is not to excuse some of the Soviet excesses). Ryan does an excellent job capturing the senseless horror or it, while still managing to find some meaning amidst the chaos. Even if you've read quite a bit about the war, I can almost guarantee there's plenty of material here you've not seen elsewhere. Definitely worth a read.

http://www.amazon.com/review/RO0Q4OEILI3TW ( )
  AshRyan | Jan 19, 2015 |
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This book is for the memory of a Boy who was born in Berlin during the last months of the war.
His name was 

Peter Fechter.

In 1962 he was machine-gunned by his own people and left to bleed to death by the side of the most tragic memorial to the allied victory - the Berlin Wall.
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The classic account of the final offensive against Hitler's Third Reich -- newly in print for the 50th anniversary of VE Day. The Battle for Berlin was the culminating struggle of World War II in the European theater, the last offensive against Hitler's Third Reich, which devastated one of Europe's historic capitals and brought the Nazi leviathan to its downfall. It was also one of the war's bloodiest and most pivotal moments, whose outcome would play a part in determining the complexion of international politics for decades to come. The Last Battle is the compelling account of this final battle, a story of brutal extremes, of stunning military triumph alongside the stark conditions that the civilians of Berlin experienced in the face of the Allied assault. As always, Ryan delves beneath the military and political forces that were dictating events to explore the more immediate questions of survival, where, as the author describes it, "to eat had become more important than to love, to burrow more dignified than to fight, to exist more militarily correct than to win." The Last Battle is the story of ordinary people, both soldiers and civilians, caught up in the despair, frustration, and terror of defeat. It is history at its best, a masterful illumination of the effects of war on the lives of individuals, and one of the enduring works on World War II.

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