We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
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.
Regular Price:$24.47
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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

4.6 (192 )
5 star
 (128)
4 star
 (52)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (0)
Overall
4.6 (180 )
5 star
 (132)
4 star
 (35)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.6 (179 )
5 star
 (120)
4 star
 (47)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    06-30-12
    06-30-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    72
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Thanks to Dan Carlin of Hardcore History podcasts."

    What an interesting perspective of this horrible war and the end of the Nazi war machine. Thanks to Dan for recommending it to his listeners!

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shaun Apollo, PA, United States 08-03-12
    Shaun Apollo, PA, United States 08-03-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    63
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    13
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Masterful Work"

    Somehow, "The Last Battle" is probably Cornelius Ryan's lesser known work on WWII, after his very famous books "The Longest Day" and "A Bridge Too Far" (yes, both prominent WWII films are based on his material).

    If you've seen "The Longest Day" film, you have some idea what this book's narrative is going to be like. It covers the events from as many perspectives as possible...from high-ranking commanders to infantrymen to civilians...many of whom were interviewed by Ryan himself in the 1960's. In fact, many of the most poigiant moments of "The Last Battle" are told from the perspective of German civilians, who attempt to go about their daily lives as the Third Reich collapses in flames all around them.

    Essentially, "The Last Battle" covers the invasion of Germany proper, on both the Western and Eastern Fronts, and the titular Battle of Berlin.

    But, the heft of this work is in the individual stories. German commanders describe to Ryan how Hitler reacted to his own lunacy coming full circle in the last days of the war. Soviet generals compete to see which Russian army will seize the city first. American pilots reveal how the last aerial dogfight in WWII involved US scout flyers shooting down a opposing German observation plane with Colt .45 1911 pistols. In Berlin, Zoo keepers desperately try to save the animals they were charged with caring for. Nuns struggle to prepare their maternity ward for the worst once Soviet rear-eschelon troops, drunk and prone to rape, arrive to exact revenge for atrocities commited aganist the USSR.

    This book is a powerful, moving, and highly informative work.






    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Toronto, ON, Canada 07-03-12
    Eric Toronto, ON, Canada 07-03-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    119
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's exactly what you're hoping it will be"

    Outstanding over all, the narrator is excellent, and able to shift voice for different speakers without being distracting or annoying. The book itself is an excellent account of the fall of Berlin, and the most vivid that I've come across - bringing to life what is often a footnote or lone paragraph in more generally WWII books. Highly detailed without being plodding, dense or at all inaccessible, overall a must read for history fans.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Austin, TX, United States 07-24-14
    Patrick Austin, TX, United States 07-24-14 Member Since 2011

    I like autumn night times. Curtains drawn. The dim lamp. Chaired with a book. Fireside hours. A warm peace.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    47
    43
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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 2010

    Not a mainstream reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    612
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    340
    336
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    104
    9
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    K. Hall Finger Lakes, NY 02-04-14
    K. Hall Finger Lakes, NY 02-04-14 Member Since 2010

    rugbycritic

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Utterly Fascinating"
    What did you love best about The Last Battle?

    Cornelius Ryan is one of the best writers on WWII ever. His ability to bring disparate material together cohesively to paint a clear picture of otherwise chaotic events is heroic. He mixes the great (figures of history) with the small (folks in the towns and villages) to fantastic effect. You often feel that you were there yourself. The excitement, and impending doom, of the times is clearly carried through.

    It is easy to understand that the outcome wasn't always certain, when the mistakes are made clear in the cold light of history.


    What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Simon's dulcet tones brought the historical figures to life.


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

    There were many. The greatest were descriptions of how the civilians in and around Berlin survived, and the Allied liberations of the camps.


    Any additional comments?

    I would (and will) read anything by Cornelius Ryan.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerold Seattle, WA 01-28-14
    Jerold Seattle, WA 01-28-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Ron CROSS JUNCTION, va, United States 01-09-14
    Ron CROSS JUNCTION, va, United States 01-09-14 Member Since 2013

    I enjoy audio books. One of my favorites "My Life In France" allows me to open any section anytime to become immersed in the joie de vivre!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I had heard a review on NPR."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The story was not what I had expected so I was a little disappointed. If does however give quite an accounting of the last days before the fall of Germany. It is collection of facts and accounts made into a long story. You do walk away with a much better idea of war and price paid by everyone.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Sydney, Australia 09-05-13
    Michael Sydney, Australia 09-05-13 Member Since 2007

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    132
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    353
    160
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    18
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  • Showing: 1-10 of 18 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
Sort by:
  • Mr. Trevor Lott
    Costa Blanca, Spain
    3/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "All the information you will ever need."
    What did you like most about The Last Battle?

    The details of the end of WW11, its' really well described.This has been the ONLY book I've known about to make the battle of Berlin such a visual experience, & to give so much information..


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

    The simple futility of the killing of the few remaining soldiers and civilians who saw the war finished. Never the less this carried on right to the end. Squads were going around hanging what they saw as traitors.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Not sure as I enjoy is the correct word for a subject like this, however I learnt a lot about how humans react in a dire crisis.


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

    The futility of the battle at the end.


    Any additional comments?

    In this audible version the narrator achieves a moving account of the war, as it was played out in Germany and Berlin, in the final conclusion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • O
    Reading, United Kingdom
    9/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Good One"

    This is a narrative history well suited to be an audiobook. Not too technical, it's a compilation of people's experiences which follows the invasion of Germany at the end of the war, and the fate of Berlin. It's easy to listen to and I very much like Simon Vance's voice.

    Various generals and their adjutants come into the story, German, Russian and American, but the story of Gotthard Heinrici is particularly captivating, as he tries to stave off the Russians and defy Hitler's crazy ideas at the same time. He wanted to give as many Germans as possible the chance to surrender to the western allies.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-2 of 2 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.