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The Last Battle | [Cornelius Ryan]

The Last Battle

The Battle for Berlin was the culminating struggle of World War II in the European theater. The last offensive against Hitler’s Third Reich, it devastated one of Europe’s historic capitals and marked the final defeat of Nazi Germany. It was also one of the war’s bloodiest and most pivotal battles, whose outcome would shape international politics for decades to come.
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Publisher's Summary

The classic account of the final offensive against Hitler’s Third Reich.

The Battle for Berlin was the culminating struggle of World War II in the European theater. The last offensive against Hitler’s Third Reich, it devastated one of Europe’s historic capitals and marked the final defeat of Nazi Germany. It was also one of the war’s bloodiest and most pivotal battles, whose outcome would shape international politics for decades to come.

The Last Battle is Cornelius Ryan’s 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 imperatives 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 endure 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.

©1966 Cornelius Ryan; 1994 by Victoria Ryan Bida and Geoffrey J. M. Ryan (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“A rare accomplishment…Will be of interest to generations to come.” (James A. Michener, Pulitzer Prize–winning author)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (293 )
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  •  
    Bill United States 12-02-14
    Bill United States 12-02-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Very very good."
    Where does The Last Battle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best books on audio. It reads like a novel, kept my interest throughout the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Wayne B. Titus Canton, Michigan United States 08-28-14
    Wayne B. Titus Canton, Michigan United States 08-28-14 Member Since 2014
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    "What a complex web, spun and woven to decimation.."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The author takes the complexities and inhumanity of German nationalist society at the time, as well as the inhumanity of its' supporters during the war, and weaves together these facts from first hand accounts. These are then interwoven with other examples of humanity and courage, driving toward what we all know is the inevitable conclusion, the Fall of Berlin. The surprises along the way provided a great depth of learning for me that make this one of the most remarkable historical accounts of WWII that I have ever read.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick 07-24-14
    Patrick 07-24-14

    The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.

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    "Stands Near the Top of WW2 Books"

    Wow! This book was really interesting. What stood out of the book for me, was a certain humanizing of the German people that won't be covered in most WW2 books out there. I thought the author did a good job of telling the Battle of Berlin from different viewpoints and not the American, Russian, or the Nazis, but rather a combination of all the sides. There is no easy way to put to words something with such enormity as the last battle in the deadliest military conflict in history. Yet, Cornelius Ryan manages to do just that not with the use of staggering statistics, but with a series of stories that even my simple human mind can comprehend.

    The narrator, Simon Vance, has become one of my favorites & his reading of this book makes you feel as is you're "watching" a documentary. Excellent.

    Overall: Doesn't require vast knowledge of WW2 & the stories throughout will keep you listening. I highly recommend for those with even a mild interest on the subject, & of course the usual military history buffs as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Brightwood, Virginia, United States 07-13-14
    William Brightwood, Virginia, United States 07-13-14 Member Since 2011

    Capt. Moroni

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    "Outstanding!"

    If you have read any of Ryan's books you should expect nothing but the best. This account is amazing. Though the Nazi's were likely the most evil of governments that have ever existed, you find yourself either feeling sorry for the Berlin population or simply pitying them. Hitler expanded the German empire to its greatest but then it all collapsed. This book emphasizes the total collapse of Nazism and the German Nation. It was totally destroyed! Simon Vance is a born narrator. No wonder he is an acclaimed talent. You won't be disappointed in this choice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 07-03-14
    Tim United States 07-03-14 Member Since 2011

    Putting books on the back burner.

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    "Novice Expert"

    Throughout my years at being an member of Audible, I have a fair amount of books on World War II in my library. Between my friends and I, we pretty much read everything on Hitler's regime and the battles that was won and lost. There is not too much out there that has already been told.

    "The Last Battle" by Cornelius Ryan was just okay. After reading so much on this war, there is very little new detail that interest me anymore. It was an important history of time that we should be more aware of, but the information is somewhat disjointed and already been told elsewhere.

    If you are looking for more in depth information on the Third Reich, read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich." That book rocks as far as what you need to know and what you should have known already. I just have to assume that most readers have yet to read William L. Shirer's book, because I don't agree most of the positive reviews for Cornelius Ryan.

    I wished that was more books out there about the people during this horrific period of time, other than the "Diary of Anne Frank." Just because I've studied this part of history so much, I didn't find "The Last Battle" that good. Read William L. Shirer instead. It has over 40 more hours of vast information on Hitler's dictatorship.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Jerold Seattle, WA 01-28-14
    Jerold Seattle, WA 01-28-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Germany Surrenders"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Last Battle to be better than the print version?

    The audio version is very good, but the written word is always better.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Last Battle?

    The very sad scenes of trying to save the Berlin Zoo animals. Attempting to feed Nile Stork with horse meat and his pathetic refusals.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The Thousand Year Reich ENDS.


    Any additional comments?

    Cornelius Ryan is a good writer. I highly praise his bookS.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael 09-05-13
    Michael 09-05-13

    Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.

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    "Excellent book"

    I was riveted to this book from the start. The story builds nicely and the narration is excellent, well besides one slight problem. Simon Vance narrated Interview With The Vampire and the follow on books. His haunting term of phrasing and style was great, but just after listening to him on that book made it feel a little weird. Still he did a fantastic job. The book I think was published in 1966 and so some information is missing, but the benefit was the author Cornelius Ryan was able to interview key players long before they were history themselves. This book is a keeper. Thank you Dan Carlin from the podcast 'Hardcore History' for recommending this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    John Escondido, CA, United States 07-05-13
    John Escondido, CA, United States 07-05-13 Member Since 2013
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    "A must listen for WWII enthusiasts"

    This book is about the Third Reichs last days and Cornelius Ryan the author captures the moment brilliantly. I highly recommend this book ... oh ya then throw in Simon Vance, one of the best narrators on Audible and you end up with a five star audio book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Tyler Red Deer, AB, Canada 04-07-13
    Tyler Red Deer, AB, Canada 04-07-13 Member Since 2015

    I've been a member here for a few years now. Nothing will ever replace printed books for me, but I do enjoy lots of things Audible has!

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    "Excellent and amazing literature!"

    Be warned, the narration can be kind of dry in some parts; but stay focused, it is so worth it because this book is amazing. It really gives you a first hand account of what it was like to be in 1945 Berlin; It's rare to have such personal accounts of battle and I really would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in this type of history; especially those of you interested on the specific war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Clark 03-24-13
    Clark 03-24-13
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    "Great History"
    Would you listen to The Last Battle again? Why?

    Yes, because of the wealth of personal accounts from those who lived through the Last Battle


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    No single character, but rather the German People


    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favorite?

    Once again, The Germans themselves.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The last few pages as the battle begins to wind down.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like military history then I would recommend this book very strongly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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