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Little Man, What Now? [Kindle Edition]

Hans Fallada , Susan Bennett
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $16.95 What's this?
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Book Description

This is the book that led to Hans Fallada’s downfall with the Nazis. The story of a young couple struggling to survive the German economic collapse was a worldwide sensation and was made into an acclaimed Hollywood movie produced by Jews, leading Hitler to ban Fallada’s work from being translated.

Nonetheless, it remains, as The Times Literary Supplement notes, “the novel of a time in which public and private merged even for those whowanted to stay at home and mind their own business."


This is a Hybrid Book.

Melville House HybridBooks combine print and digital media into an enhanced reading experience by including with each title additional curated material called Illuminations — maps, photographs, illustrations, and further writing about the author and the book.

The Melville House Illuminations are free with the purchase of any title in the HybridBook series, no matter the format.

Purchasers of the print version can obtain the Illuminations for a given title simply by scanning the QR code found in the back of each book, or by following the url also given in the back of the print book, then downloading the Illumination in whatever format works best for you.
Purchasers of the digital version receive the appropriate Illuminations automatically as part of the ebook edition.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Fallada's 1933 novel follows the financial woes of a young married couple living in Depression-era Germany on the cusp of the rise of the Third Reich.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“ Fallada deserves high praise for having reported so realistically, so truthfully, with such closeness to life.” –Herman Hesse

“ Superb.” –Graham Greene

"In a publishing hat trick, Melville House allows English-language readers to sample Fallada's vertiginous variety accompanying the release of Michael Hoffman's splendid translation of Every Man Dies Alone with the simultaneous publication of excellent English versions of Fallada's two best-known novels, Little Man, What Now? (translated by Susan Bennett) and The Drinker (translated by Charlotte and A.L. Lloyd). In his probing afterword to Little Man, What Now?, Philip Brady ponders the question of why the book isn't better-known today: "Enduring success is one thing, immediate impact is something different, and clearly the immediate impact of Fallada's novel was undeniable." Given our current economic circumstances, the book may have a second chance at impact and endurance."
- New York Times Book Review

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1865 KB
  • Print Length: 410 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00CESG47E
  • Publisher: Melville House (March 29, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004MME6WA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,995 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
96 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little Man What Now life in Germany after WW1 January 3, 2007
Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. I read it in 1934 when it was selected as a Book of the Month Club selection. It has contiued to haunt my mind as I watched the rise of the NationalSocialist party rise to power in Germany. It explained the plight of the German psyche after the Treaty of Versailles and the human cost of the repatriation demands creating the human bondage. It was a great lesson learned by the United States and other allies in creating the Marshall plan for the allies former enemies. I was incredulous on learing that was able to provide this most out of date novel. Thankyou.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hardship and love a time of despair March 25, 2000
The story of the life of the little man Johannes Pinneberg and his love in the Weimar Republic (Germany before Hitler). It accurately presents the hardship of people in the worldwide economic crisis in the 30ies. Pinneberg is a salesman who believes himself above the proletarians. He strives for a bourgeois kind of lifestyle. But after marrying his struggle for survival begins with his social decline. Pinneberg learns: you have to work like an animal or you won't work at all. The book is a story about money, hardship and the constant threat of failure. But one thing prevails: love.
The book is one of my all-time favorites. If you don't mind reading books that are literature at the same time I highly recommend it.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite good May 20, 2002
By Ms Diva
This novel provides an interesting look at Germany in the years between World War I and II. As I read it and saw got an understanding of the depths of economic depression the country was in, I began to have a better grasp of how Hitler was able to mesmerize the nation and take power -- he spoke in a way that made people think he'd restore their pride and prosperity.
The story itself is fairly basic. I liked how Fallada wrapped the lessons about history and the economic/political situation around the simple tale of a young couple trying to raise a family and survive in the Depression. The characters were a little stereotypical and could have had more depth, but in general they were quite interesting. The pace of the novel was good. The book was a bit long, but Fallada is a good enough writer that it didn't bother me too much. This book is a good read that any history buff will certainly enjoy.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before The Fall May 4, 2009
"Little Man, What Now?" is a story that, while set against the backdrop of the waning days of the Weimar Republic, is simply about a man trying to determine his role in society, and all of the things--wife, job, class, and home--that comprise it. Indeed, as Fallada tells his tale of the time period through the eyes of the newly-married Johannes and Lammchen, he puts faces and names on the poverty that spread through Germany like wildfire during the Interwar period. Reading this nearly 80 years after the first publication, I am delighted by the sardonic humor that Fallada chose to employ and the thick description of his prose. It places you smack dab in the middle of Germany in the 30s, but not without a wink or two.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive, very moving January 1, 2010
By G M
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I found this book thoroughly engrossing. After what can seem to be a slow start, the plot thickens beautifully and the narrative becomes more and more filled with pathos. I found myself being slowly drawn into the world of these characters to the extent that I wound up constantly fretting over their fate.

Emma and Johannes Pinneberg are newlyweds trying to live a decent life in the straitened circumstances of Weimar Germany. Emma has recently become pregnant, and so a heavy burden of responsibility has fallen upon the shoulders of her young husband. But Johannes is in difficulties: it's virtually impossible for him to find work or decent lodgings, and so he shuffles between a demeaning job - from which he hangs by a thread - and a squalid domestic setting, which his wife (a strong figure) is always trying to make the best of.

Three scenes linger in the memory. At one point, the gravid and exhausted Emma has to wander all over Berlin looking for an affordable apartment. But because she is expecting, she is an unwelcome prospect for any landlord, and so she staggers from one disappointment to the next like an Antarctic explorer desperately seeking a depot. As a picture of hostile urban desolation, the rendering is quite powerful.

Secondly, there is Johannes' inner thoughts as he walks through the Tiergarten and sees the wretchedness of the unemployed about him:

'Pinneberg had the feeling, despite the fact that he was about to become a wage-earner again, that he was much closer to those non-earners than to people who earned a great deal. He was one of them, any day he could find himself standing here among them, and there was nothing he could do about it. He had no protection. He was one of millions.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has Held up Well After 77 Years June 30, 2009
Having recently read and enjoyed "Every man Dies Alone," I decided to give this book a turn and wasn't disappointed. As advertised, this novel give a true to life feel for everyday life in pre-World War II Berlin--with all kinds of charming and not-so charming characters. Very touching at times; it has its own low key sense of suspense that keeps the interest level high. My only complaint would be the brief descriptors which precede each chapter. They kind of give things away before you get a chance to read about them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical And Yet Timeless
An interesting read that gives insight into what it was like to be a white collar worker in Berlin just prior to WWII. Read more
Published 2 months ago by dictionaryfan
4.0 out of 5 stars I have always tried to envision what it was like to live in Wiemar...
Fascinating. My daughter needed to read this for a German class and Suggested that I read this too. I have always tried to envision what it was like to live in Wiemar Germany.
Published 2 months ago by Snarkychaser
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 months ago by Danny Levy
5.0 out of 5 stars not quite as depressing as a George Gissing novel
Gissing was a master of totally depressing social realism and Fallada gives him a run for the money. "Little Man, What Now?" is an emotionally hard read. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Steve
4.0 out of 5 stars ' "We're still very young. And we've got nobody." '
Highly readable novel set in 1930s Germany, where survival in an economic depression was extremely tough. Read more
Published 11 months ago by sally tarbox
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
I expect similar books to be written about American citizens' experiences in the next four to ten years. I read this great book to get a feel for what we're headed for. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Music Lover
3.0 out of 5 stars Kind of dark and depressing
I have read a couple of Hans Fallada's books. They are fascinating, but depressing. Seem to have a feeling of hopelessness.
Published 16 months ago by James L. Carr
5.0 out of 5 stars An underappreciated author
Hans Fallada is often overlooked, and the reasoning for that is quite unclear. This book is just another example of Fallada's unique ability to evoke Weimar Germany -- the economic... Read more
Published 17 months ago by E.J. Kaye
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic novel set in 1930 pre Nazi Germany
read this 35 years ago - and even more pertinent today:

"Fallada gives a detailed description of the living conditions of the white-collar workers of the time. Read more
Published 17 months ago by E. B. MULLIGAN
5.0 out of 5 stars A great story
You will love itEvery book he has written pulls you in from the beginning and this was no exception great
Published 17 months ago by Robert J. Ruttenberg
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More About the Author

Before WWII, German writer Hans Fallada's novels were international bestsellers, on a par with those of his countrymen Thoman Mann and Herman Hesse. In America, Hollywood even turned his first big novel, Little Man, What Now? into a major motion picture

Learning the movie was made by a Jewish producer, however, the Nazis blocked Fallada's work from foreign rights sales, and began to pay him closer attention. When he refused to join the Nazi party he was arrested by the Gestapo--who eventually released him, but thereafter regularly summoned him for "discussions" of his work.

However, unlike Mann, Hesse, and others, Fallada refused to flee to safety, even when his British publisher, George Putnam, sent a private boat to rescue him. The pressure took its toll on Fallada, and he resorted increasingly to drugs and alcohol for relief. Not long after Goebbels ordered him to write an anti-Semitic novel he snapped and found himself imprisoned in an asylum for the "criminally insane"--considered a death sentence under Nazi rule. To forestall the inevitable, he pretended to write the assignment for Goebbels, while actually composing three encrypted books--including his tour de force novel The Drinker--in such dense code that they were not deciphered until long after his death.

Fallada outlasted the Reich and was freed at war's end. But he was a shattered man. To help him recover by putting him to work, Fallada's publisher gave him the Gestapo file of a simple, working-class couple who had resisted the Nazis. Inspired, Fallada completed Every Man Dies Alone in just twenty-four days.

He died in February 1947, just weeks before the book's publication.

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