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The Last 100 Days Paperback – January, 2000


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Paperback, January, 2000
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (January 2000)
  • ISBN-10: 0553103490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553103496
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,402,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This book is a delight to read for any confirmed WWII history buff.
Barron Laycock
And having read all of John Toland's several excellent books at one time or another, I am convinced that this book was his best.
huckledude
Mr. Toland blends all of them in an overwhelming and coherent picture.
Maximiliano F Yofre

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Owen Hughes on April 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
The last 100 days of the Nazi regime have long remained clouded by the fact that it was the Soviet armies that reached Berlin first and afterwards controlled the information surrounding the end of it all. Until things had settled down, and let's not forget that they only ever partially settled down (Patton's cry of "Let's push on to Moscow," still rings in one's ears), little or no information was available to the Western press about the successful Russian attack against the German capital. John Toland's "The Last 100 Days," first published in 1966, was therefore a welcome addition to the growing literature on the end of the regime. Perhaps the most interesting sections of the book deal with the taking of Berlin and the stubborn defence offered by the citizenry (both old men and boys were killed at the barricades). For American readers, there is no doubt that the race for Berlin is of greater interest still. With the fastidious Bernard Montgomery apparently holding up the progress of U.S. army corps, it was a time of grand confusion. No one wanted to be restrained from the final fruits of victory. Impatient army commanders resented every delay, while at home, political leaders tried to balance the final thrust to victory against the prospect of further warfare in Europe, once the Germans were beaten. And of course, beyond the first difficulties in East/West relations, there remained Japan to be beaten in the Pacific.
All the main characters have their turn on Toland's stage, whether they be American and Russian generals calculating the mileage separating them from their goal, or high-ranking Nazis twisting and turning in the net that is slowly closing around them. A fast-paced book, matching the tempo of the times, "The Last 100 Days" is one of the best books about the end of the Second World War to be published so far.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on May 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is a delight to read for any confirmed WWII history buff. It uses a combination of oversight narrative as well as individual recollections and reconstructions from diaries and other historical documents to provide a highly readable, entertaining and informative look at the final momentous crush of battle between the western and eastern fronts of the war against Germany. It is often highly novel, with a seemingly endless number of humorous and informative anecdotes about the prosecution of the war.
For example, author John Toland describes Churchill deliberately taking time, along with Generals Montgomery, Brookes, and Simpson, to publically urinate on a concrete bridge abutment that comprised part of the frontiers of the so-called Western Wall dividing Holland from Germany. He also details, with first person reports, the systematic murderous rampages of the Soviet soldiers, who, unchecked by their officers, raped and pillaged their way toward Berlin and the final victory over Germany.
The main saving grace of the book is its tone, which delivers the mountain of information concerning this final coordinated assault at every level in a very simple, straightforward, and excellently written expository fashion, and he seldom bores the reader. Instead, by bringing it down to the level of the individual participants, he anticipates a whole new wave of later WWII books by highly regarded authors such as Stephen Ambrose et al that also employ this "first person recollection" approach to thread together interesting narratives about various aspects of the war.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By huckledude on November 23, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book when it first came out in paperback in the 1960s, when I was a middle school student. It made a profound impact on me at the time. I recently saw it in basically the same Bantam mass market paperback edition I'd bought in the '60s (though without the photos and map contained in the '60s version, even though the price had increased five-fold in the interim). I re-read it again primarily out of curiosity, simply to see what I thought of it forty years later.
Despite having read many dozens of books on WWII in the intervening years, I was wowed by Toland's account all over again. Toland was a master storyteller, not an academic or military historian as such, and had a novelist's understanding of the illuminating detail, the minor tragedy emblematic of the whole, and the reader's fascination with the character of people acting under the most extreme duress imaginable.
Toland weaves together numerous narrative threads of the highest diplomacy (FDR, Churchill, and Stalin at Yalta), the lowest farce (the goings on of Hitler and his bizarre entourage in Hitler's underground bunker), and endless violent encounters -- between enemy forces, and between military forces and the incredible masses of civilians fleeing the fighting or trapped in cities under ferocious bombardment.
While the book is populated with the brave and noble, at high levels and low, it is also frequented by monsters, knaves, cowards, innocent victims, and thugs on all sides (though the Germans, of course, were peerless in the scope and cruelty of their barbarities). This is not the place to go if you are looking for "the good war.
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