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Publisher's Summary

The Red Army had much to avenge when it finally reached the frontiers of the Third Reich in January 1945. Frenzied by their terrible experiences with Wehrmacht and SS brutality, they wreaked havoc - tanks crushing refugee columns, mass rape, pillage, and unimaginable destruction. Hundreds of thousands of women and children froze to death or were massacred; more than seven million fled westward from the fury of the Red Army. It was the most terrifying example of fire and sword ever known.

Antony Beevor has reconstructed the experiences of those millions caught up in the nightmare of the Third Reich's final collapse. The Fall of Berlin is a terrible story of pride, stupidity, fanaticism, revenge, and savagery, yet it is also one of astonishing endurance, self-sacrifice, and survival against all odds.

©2002 Antony Beevor and Artemis Cooper (P)2002 Isis Audio Books

Critic Reviews

"A tale drenched in drama and blood, heroism and cowardice, loyalty and betrayal." (Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Engrossing

This is a very detailed account of the fall of Berlin and Nazi Germany in 1945. The book follows the allied invasion of the Fatherland, but the focus is on the Soviet army and its puppet master, Josef Stalin. The German army and population paid a very steep price for their nation's aggressive and utterly brutal invasions and the murders of millions. While the Soviet army was exacting revenge on the Germans, Stalin was busy purging his own people while the war was still very much in progress. It is a fascinating and thoroughly researched book that I highly recommend to anyone with an interest in WW2. The narration is quite first-rate as well.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Another great one by Beevor

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you are a history buff, this is one for your library. As usual, Mr. Beevor includes not just the history of the battles, but the effect on the civilians and their lives. It is wonderfully inclusive and a job to listen to as the narration is beautiful. I am looking forward to more listens by this narrator.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Great book

I've read (well listened) a ton of books on WWII and whatever is available for the last days of Berlin, and there's a few books on the issue. So with that said I'll say up front there isn't anything new in this book for me - but it's put together well and it's always great to have a refresher. I say that because if you know the basics of WWII and want to add some depth on the final weeks and days before VE day, this is a great place to start. If you know the last days of Hitler in detail, again you probably won't learn much, but this is still a very good take on the events and as I said for myself, it's a great refresher.

Some other notes. I generally prefer a narrative take on history and at the beginning of this book it was anything but that - BUT as the book moved along and the focus narrowed, the book got much more interesting and compelling.

The reader does a very good job, probably closer to a 4.4 as opposed to 5, but generally if you give someone a 4 other reviewers will think he must have not been that good - and that's not at all the case.

Overall if you read the description and it sounds interesting then you should very much enjoy this book. If you find your mind wandering a bit at the beginning, just stick with it, it picks up quite a bit.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Excellent history!

I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and narration. I highly recommend it to the WW2 buff.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Excellent!

Well researched and quite complete.
This is a horror story, frightening beyond
anything that fiction could attempt to portray.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Another excellent book by Antony Beevor.

Narrative was excellent and managed to bring events to life. There wasn't hardly any dull parts of the book and kept me engaged.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Very good history of the Fall of Berlin

This is the 3rd of Antony Beevor's books that I have read, and it is the best. It is not the first book I have read on the Russian Army's capture of Berlin during World War II, but it is consistently interesting, avoids the trap of being overwhelmed by the details of the battles, and never loses sight of the people involved, both Germans and Soviet. While many of the actions taking place during the battle were also covered in the other books on this topic that I read, there was also a great deal of information which I had never seen in print before and explained some things that had always been a puzzle to me.

The Red Army suffered terrible casualty rates during the fighting, but the number of soldiers in the army never seemed to drop significantly and I never knew why until I read this book. The Soviets drafted prisoners from the Gulag, newly conquered Polish subjects and liberated POWs to keep their strength up. They instituted classes to insure that the Red Army soldiers hated the Germans, and that proved to be a problem when German territory was conquered. They freed German POWs to go back to their old commands and persuade other German soldiers to surrender. The book is full of interesting information about actions both the Soviet and German armies took that were unknown to me prior to reading this book as well as some incidents that beg even bigger questions - were there really women SS officers? Did the Russians really have any interest in invading Denmark? Why was Zhukov kept in the dark about the Russian Army finding Hitler's body? And much, much more.

The basic outlines of the story of the Russian effort during World War II has largely been of only secondary interest in the West since most of the writing about the war naturally tended to cover the battles in Western Europe where the British, French, American, Canadian and other western soldiers were involved, or the war in the Pacific. There have been a number of recent books about the battles in the East - Stalingrad, Kursk, Warsaw, Prussia and, of course, Berlin, and this book adds nicely to those books.

The narration of the book is excellent, although some might find the British accent of the narrator annoying. Personally the narrator's accent disappeared for me after about 10 minutes of listening when the immediacy of the events took over. I recommend this book to anyone interested in how the German state and Army slowly fell apart as the Russian approached Berlin, how the Red Army conquered Berlin and how the Red Army treated both the defeated German army and the civilians.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent !!

Exceptional detail, very interesting, great narration. Story is told on all levels and from both sides.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good enough read but not top shelf

The book is basically a routine chronological account with a bit of color added here and there. Some of these where new to me and others included more detail. I do not consider it a first tier work, however.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Another Beevor Masterpiece

Gripping and grimacing work. Unable to put it down. Extremely interesting and perfectly performed. Must Read!