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The Last Battle: The Classic History of the Battle for Berlin [Kindle Edition]

Cornelius Ryan
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.99
Kindle Price: $11.76
You Save: $7.23 (38%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

The classic account of the final offensive against Hitler's Third Reich -- newly in print for the 50th anniversary of VE Day.

The Battle for Berlin was the culminating struggle of World War II in the European theater, the last offensive against Hitler's Third Reich, which devastated one of Europe's historic capitals and brought the Nazi leviathan to its downfall. It was also one of the war's bloodiest and most pivotal moments, whose outcome would play a part in determining the complexion of international politics for decades to come.

The Last Battle is the 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 questions 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 exist 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.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Marking the 50th anniversary of events leading up to the end of WWII are these two reissued historical works from the late war correspondent, author of The Longest Day.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Published in 1974 and 1966, respectively, these comprise the second and third legs of Ryan's World War II trilogy begun with 1959's The Longest Day (Classic Returns, 4/15/94). Bridge examines the Allies' failed plan to open a venue into Germany, while The Last Battle profiles the growing tensions among the ranks of both the Allied and the Axis powers toward the conclusion of the European war. LJ's reviewers praised Ryan, finding his analysis "exciting and fast paced" (LJ 8/74) and "the tensions of the period are there on each page" (LJ 3/1/66).
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 6525 KB
  • Print Length: 578 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (February 16, 2010)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00362XL3W
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,077 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Read About The Final Battle For Berlin! June 21, 2000
Few battles in history have been waged with greater ferocity, desperation, bravery, and atrocity than the battle for Berlin at the end of the Second World War. No one can tell a story better than Ryan, and he is at his very best here. In this book Cornelius Ryan brings his masterful powers of description and discerning eye for extraordinary detail to bear with force and elegance. This is a wonderful book, immensely informative, densely packed with facts and figures, and told in a compelling way by a best-selling author who can vividly recount seemingly countless tales of the most ordinary of individuals caught in the unforgiving and often deadly embrace of total war.
By this stage Hitler had begun to withdraw farther into the recesses of the fabled German Chancellery complex, while around and above him raged an endless barrage by Soviet artillery, British, American and Canadian bombs, and the clashes of German and Russian tanks and armor. This then, is the final epic struggle amid the ashes and ruins of a once proud and great metropolis, the chaotic and blood-curdling death throes of the Nazi regime. Fearing the terrible wrath and ritual rape and murder of rampaging Russians, German forces tended to withdraw from the western front in an attempt to either surrender outright to the Americans or British, or to let these more "civilized" western forces take Berlin before capitulating the hated Russians. Hitler had expressly forbidden any kind of surrender, intending this to be a fight to the death. Indeed, the stage was set for some of the most horrific excesses of the war.
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death throe of the Third Reich. June 6, 2000
Mr. Ryan was the Stephen Ambrose of his time. The books THE LONGEST DAY and A BRIDGE TOO FAR stand as World War Two classics, these books were even made into 2 pretty fine movies. THE LAST BATTLE which was re-released in May 1995 to comemorate the end of the European conflict in WW2 is another of Mr. Ryan's books, it is an outstanding and hair-raising account of the final orgasm of violence involved in the death of Nazi Germany. The author presents all sides to this conflict American, British, Russian and German as the allied armies rush in from all sides to dismember the Reich. The author was able to interview personalities involved from top Soviet generals down to a simple milkman who made his daily runs through the Berlin suburbs which were to become a hellish landscape of slaughter, rape and mass destruction. The Soviets were cooperative in letting Mr. Ryan interview key personalities and view important documents, but I agree with Mr. Ryan that they likely held back several important aspects of their part in the battle such as the existence of The Rape Memo which was an instruction read to Soviet troops encouraging them to put the German in his place and claim the victors spoils by raping German women. There is almost an entire chapter filled with rape stories, horrifying stuff. The meat of the story involves the clash of Soviet and German arms. With the destruction of Army Group Center in the spring of 1945 most German commanders knew that the best thing they could do was to hold off the Soviet onslaught long enough to allow German civilians and then slodiers enough time to escape west, towards the Americans and British, some German commanders even hoped that by buying time in the east the Anglo-Allies would reach Berlin first. Read more ›
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Ryan WWII classic January 29, 2002
Before Stephen Ambrose took center stage as the best current historian of WWII, there was Cornelius Ryan. Mr. Ryan wrote a trio of classic books about WWII: The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far, and this book. The first two were made into movies, and are commonly known. They cover two of the most important European theatre campaigns that involved the US and British forces. If you have not read either one of those books, I highly recommend both of them.
The Last Battle is the least known book of the trio. None the less, it is a classic. In it, Ryan gives a gripping account of the battle for Berlin. He does an excellent job of introducing the scenario that lead to this truly horrifying and desperate battle. Just like his other books, he weaves a captivating narrative that takes the reader from the planning sessions of the Red Army, to Hitler's bunker, on to the streets of Berlin where the battle was actually fought. He covers this conflict from many angles (Generals, soldiers, civilians, Germans, Soviets, etc.) and gives the reader an accurate account of what happened during this battle. As always, the amount of research and personal interviews he did for this book are quite impressive.
Mr. Ryan does an excellent job of building the battle drama into the fury that erupted when the Soviets finally rolled into the city of Berlin. The payback that the Red Army gives the Wehrmacht, the city, and the civilian population of Berlin is a real eye-opener. If you have never read anything about this battle (like myself), you may be shocked when you learn the details.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars It's difficult for a person who lived thru this period ...
It's difficult for a person who lived thru this period of history (I am now 85) to grasp the unreal world in which the leaders of the dying Third Reich lived. Read more
Published 20 days ago by irwin Stolz
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Chronicle of Berlin's Last Days
Excellent account of last days of the fragmented, disorganized and hopeless battle battle to defend an indefensible city.
Published 2 months ago by S. Willoughby
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by jeremy wisniewski
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book and easy to read even though it contains lots of detail.
Published 2 months ago by Bob
4.0 out of 5 stars Beevor's was a disappointment after his book on Stalingrad
I bought this after reading Beevor's book. Beevor's was a disappointment after his book on Stalingrad. I was looking for a history that would tie events together. Read more
Published 2 months ago by R. Goldsmith
5.0 out of 5 stars the defense of Berlin
Having been put into the service for the defense of Berlin at the age of 13, I must say that it was the most devastating experience of my life. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bartok Kinski
5.0 out of 5 stars A people besieged; a city doomed.
This is a great book for anyone interested in the reasons for the American halt short of Berlin, or for those interested in the fall of Berlin. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ann de Vries
5.0 out of 5 stars Truley a Historical Epic
I loved this book from cover to cover. The detailed account of Operation Market Garden was beautifully written. All sides and angles of the conflict were done justice. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Christopher Knight
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is a subject I knew little about. I was very familiar with D-Day from movies & other books, but totally ignorant about the battle for Berlin. Read more
Published 5 months ago by weaseleyes
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and highly engaging book
Very well told and well documented book on the last days of Nazi Germany and the fall of Berlin. Very engaging story telling with fascinating tales from eye witnesses from both... Read more
Published 5 months ago by premierjames
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