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Alone in Berlin | [Hans Fallada, Michael Hofmann (translator)]

Alone in Berlin

Berlin, 1940. The city is paralysed by fear. But one man refuses to be scared.Otto, an ordinary German living in a shabby apartment block, tries to stay out of trouble under Nazi rule. But when he discovers his only son has been killed fighting at the front he's shocked into an extraordinary act of resistance, and starts to drop anonymous postcards attacking Hitler across the city. If caught, he will be executed.
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Publisher's Summary

Berlin, 1940. The city is paralysed by fear. But one man refuses to be scared. Otto, an ordinary German living in a shabby apartment block, tries to stay out of trouble under Nazi rule. But when he discovers his only son has been killed fighting at the front he's shocked into an extraordinary act of resistance and starts to drop anonymous postcards attacking Hitler across the city. If caught, he will be executed.

Soon this silent campaign comes to the attention of ambitious Gestapo inspector Escherich, and a murderous game of cat-and-mouse begins. Whoever loses, pays with their life.

Every Man Dies Alone was published in the UK as Alone in Berlin.

English edition copyright 2009 Melville House Publishing; Translation copyright 2009 Michael Hofmann.

©1994 Aufbau-Verlagsgruppe GmbH, Berlin (P)2010 Hachette Digital

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  •  
    smaller jerusalem, Israel 02-09-14
    smaller jerusalem, Israel 02-09-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
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    1
    Overall
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    Story
    "so very well written!!"
    Would you listen to Alone in Berlin again? Why?

    yes! the characters are so interesting, complex, more real than you think at first, one gets involved in their lives...


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Alone in Berlin?

    The Krangles determenation and success in keeping their dignity to the very end!!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pierre Verwey Bangkok, Thailand 03-22-13
    Pierre Verwey Bangkok, Thailand 03-22-13 Member Since 2013

    mailmonkey

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent story, masterful narration"
    Where does Alone in Berlin rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Its authenticity.


    What about John Telfer’s performance did you like?

    His voices.


    If you could take any character from Alone in Berlin out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Probably the judge, Fromm.


    Any additional comments?

    A fascinating insight into the workings of Weimar Germany in all its facets of good and evil.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tove Farsta, Sweden 12-18-12
    Tove Farsta, Sweden 12-18-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What would I have done?"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have already recommended this book to several friends.


    What other book might you compare Alone in Berlin to and why?

    Like Markus Zusaks The Book Thief it let's you know how germans experienced the second world war. Which is a refreshing perspective.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a chilling tale where you soon realize that everybody is keeping an eye on each other (neighbours, friends, colleagues, relatives) and the risk of being reported to the Gestapo is always there. And if the Gestapo has got a good look at you they will always find something missing, no matter who you are.
    So I kept thinking when I read the book: What would I have done? And the sad thing is, I think the answere might be: Nothing. The whole atmospere is so scary, I suppose most people would just lower their head, hope to sneak under the radar and wish for the whole thing to be over as soon as possible so everybody could start living.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charmaine JOHANNESBURG, South Africa 10-20-12
    Charmaine JOHANNESBURG, South Africa 10-20-12 Member Since 2012

    I have a DLitt and Phil Degree which must imply a level of discernment? I just clocked over at 60. The significance is that I have read a whole lot of books. I'm now revisiting some of my all time favourites - and enjoying some first time round books. Books are my friends. Audible is JUST AMAZING - takes me back to pre -TV days, with my ear pressed to a crackly transistor radio - but now SO MUCH better and more 'classy' from a Kindle!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    27
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    "A LONG HARD STRUGGLE"

    I persisted, I hoped, I was disappointed. I'm amazed that so little in the way of a story could have stretched into so many HOURS of words. Maybe that was the point - to show the helpless hopelessness of people influenced by power hungry governments. If so this book succeeded. I'm not sure that I needed to devote such a large chunk of my life to this slow, tedious, journey to death, death and more death. My single laugh was when our heroine was asked how many men she had slept with before marrying Otto....83 she said. Why so many she was asked. Because that is all there were........

    As for the performance, the narration was good. However, when we are doing Berlin, Germany, the war shouldn't we be doing German accents rather than dreary English ones. The fact that we have German accented and German names kind of jars with the flat English rendition.

    This book will not make it onto the list of re-reads before I die. Never again Thanks

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-4 of 4 results
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  • Michael
    plumley, United Kingdom
    1/29/11
    Overall
    "Absolutely gripping"

    this book pulls you further and further into a game of cat and a mouse between one couples fight against the Nazi terror machine.A fascinating listen,hard to believe it was written in 1947! A superbly written book which kept an air of foreboding right to end. the narrator is brilliant too.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Rowan
    Wales
    12/1/10
    Overall
    "Chilling but couldnt put my ipod down"

    This book gripped me from the first to the last. It is narrated superbly. The writing is wonderful. He paints a vivid picture but without getting bogged down with descriptions, The characters simply come alive. It's an incredibly moving, gripping story based around an ordinary couple in their twilight years who, after the death of their only son at the front, decide to resist the Nazi regime for their own sake. It holds no punches. An amazing book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • James
    Wincanton, United Kingdom
    1/19/12
    Overall
    "A mesmerising, life-changing book. Buy it."

    First published in 1947 as Jeder stirbt für sich allein (Every Man Dies Alone) and translated beautifully by the poet Michael Hoffman in 2009, this book is a disturbing, visceral, accurate and beautifully realised portrait of a society consuming itself from within seen from the perspective of ordinary people caught up in the nightmare of the Nazi machine. What makes it all the more poignant is that the story is based on a real case from wartime Berlin.

    The author, Hans Fallada (or Rudolf Ditzen to give him his real name) is said to have written the book in just 24 days in post war East Berlin, having been handed a Gestapo file detailing the central case by a friend who became a government minister. Sadly the author died from a morphine overdose shortly before the book was published.

    The narration is the best I have ever encountered and perfectly captures each character from the lowest, snivelling crook, to the screaming viciousness of the Nazi functionaries. John Telfer is to be applauded for his performance.

    The subject matter is dark and deeply thought-provoking but please, please do not let that put you off. Running through this work is the redemptive and triumphant power of the human spirit against almost unimaginable horror.

    This is a work of genius, translated perfectly and read sublimely.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Julian
    Altrincham, Cheshire, United Kingdom
    12/11/10
    Overall
    "A different perspective"

    This is an engrossing book which on the face of should probably not be when one considers that it is primarily about a person droping cards against the Nazi regime. This may not be seen as an engaging topic. However the characters are superbly brought to life , excellent descriptions and the narration is brilliant.The storyline gives a totally different perspective on life in Berlin during the war with not everyone supporting Adolf Hitlers regime , the consequent terror which these people lived under is dramatically brought out in the book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Abi
    Sandbach, Cheshire, United Kingdom
    11/17/10
    Overall
    "A different perspective on the war"

    I have enjoyed listening to this book, if enjoyed is the right word! It is very grim in places and many of the characters are nasty. Don't let that put you off though because it is possible to empathize with some of the characters even the nasty ones. It is a really good, fascinating description of Nazi Germany. We hear a lot about the allies experiences of the war but things were very different in Germany.
    The narration is excellent.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Brian
    Preston, United Kingdom
    6/5/12
    Overall
    "Mans inhumanity to man"

    Alone in Berlin, a couple start a campaign of civil disobedience against the Nazi state and Adolf Hitler.
    A tense shocking book about the horrors of war time Germany and the fear that is round every corner.
    The author remained in Germany during the war years and was blacklisted by the state, so he had an understanding of the fear and reprisals that could happen to opponent's of the Nazis.
    The book is one of the few that tells you about the German resistance .
    A remarkable book

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan/Sally
    United Kingdom
    4/8/12
    Overall
    "Engrossing"

    This book is gripping and draws you in, but is also one of the most profoundly humane books I have ever come across.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Janusz
    Capheaton, United Kingdom
    1/27/12
    Overall
    "The German Home Front"

    "Alone in Berlin" is beautifully read by John Telfer, the characterization he offers builds distinct mental images of each personality that populates this story. The story itself overturns the stereotypical portrayal of Germans in the 1940s and examines the seldom visited theme of native resistance to Hitler's regime. Unexpectedly there is even a Gestapo inspector who develops a modicum of humanity! More than anything the book shows how living in fear of sadistic tyranny can destroy all common decency but also that the tyranny sows the seeds of its own destruction with the fear it creates. Of course we all know that Nazism was destroyed from the ouside but even without that the Third Reich would never have lasted a thousand years. The narration is well done and the book touches on ideas that require some extra chewing. Highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Arlene
    London, United Kingdom
    6/2/11
    Overall
    "Really well readd"

    John Telfer has really done a brilliant job. He manages to make the different voices totally recognisable and he conveys the brutality of the Gestapo with great energy. The book is well worth reading and sharply contrasts the faces of good and evil. Fallada manages to show us that there is a streak of good in many who are able to withstand torture and humiliation. I felt that the last few chapters did not work really well and not wishing to give too much away suffice it to say that it woud have been better had he ended it sooner. Some of the minor characters in the book were resurrected at times with rather slight stories and did not add greatly to the novel. I would recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Tess
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    1/4/11
    Overall
    "Alone in Berlin"

    Gives an excellent sense of wartime Germany and a dramatic understanding of the bravery of those who protested, even in small ways, but without caricaturing German society into heroes and villains. Also just a well-written, compulsive book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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