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The Last 100 Days: The Tumultuous and Controversial Story of the Final Days of World War II in Europe (Modern Library War) Paperback – May 27, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Fascinating . . . The narrative shifts from scene to intimate scene of every conference room . . . from liberated camp to Hitler’s underground bunker, to GIs storming the railroad bridge across the Rhine. . . . Toland has woven the tapestry of history.” —Chicago Tribune

“A hundred stories fill out these hundred days—portraits, battle plans, ironies, feats of espionage, mass brutalities, insanity, diplomats, generals, soldiers, snipers, the cool and the fanatic. Hitler’s horoscope, what General Eisenhower was reading on the morning of surrender, Quisling’s final auto ride, orders,
counterorders, impatient statesmen, conflicting strategies, the stench of fire and death, telegrams to Moscow, plunging armies, straggling refugees. . . . In fascinating and exhaustively researched detail—it is all here!” —The New York Times

“Brilliant . . . The reader is in suspense throughout. . . . Each scene is played out close-up and point-blank, as if one were there, listening to the dialogue, counting the stakes, feeling the emotions of the principals.” —The New York Times Book Review

From the Inside Flap

A dramatic countdown of the final months of World War II in Europe, "The Last 100 Days brings to life the waning power and the ultimate submission of the Third Reich. To reconstruct the tumultuous hundred days between Yalta and the fall of Berlin, John Toland traveled more than 100,000 miles in twenty-one countries and interviewed more than six hundred people--from Hitler's personal chauffeur to Generals von Manteuffel, Wenck, and Heinrici; from underground leaders to diplomats; from top Allied field commanders to brave young GIs. Toland adeptly weaves together these interviews using research from thousands of primary sources.
When it was first published, "The Last 100 Days made history, revealing after-action reports, staff journals, and top-secret messages and personal documents previously unavailable to historians. Since that time, it has come to be regarded as one of the greatest historical narratives of the twentieth century.
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library War
  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Reprint edition (May 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081296859X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812968590
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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 huge 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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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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John Toland is a master. I have read three of his books on WWII and each is a masterpiece in its own right. "The Last 100 Days" is a perfect example. I couldn't put this book down. I have little time to read for fun but when I get my hands on a book like this my time flies!!! "The Last 100 Days" cover exactly that, from a multitude of perspectives: Soldiers: German, Russian, English, and American; leaders; and civilians. It's a story that could have only been told this way by someone with Toland's talents. His words always seem to come alive and "100 Days" is not different from other works of his I have read ("Battle" and "Adolf Hitler"). Despite the fact that I am pretty versed with WWII and the end of the ETO,fall of Berlin, etc., I was on the edge of my seat reading this book. It wasn't so much from new content but just in the way Toland tells the story. I highly recommend this book to both beginners and seasoned buffs alike. Its wonderful reading!!!
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Format: Paperback
Amid the literal landslide of books written to date on the single subject of the final fateful overthrow of the Third Reich by Allied forces advancing both from the east and west simultaneously, this early effort by famed author John Toland is easily the single best nugget in all that ore, a single volume effort that is a literal treasure trove of both anecdotal eye-witness testimony and exhaustive historical research. As in most of his terrific book, Toland threads an integrating narrative that plies us with a battery of both useful and entertaining information, with amusing nuggets of historical facts such as the fact that a visiting Winston Churchill halted the caravan in which he was being escorted for security reasons to very publicly urinate on the bridge, quipping that Hitler could "take that".
Indeed, in January of 1945, the Allied forces were poised to smash through the remnants of the Wehrmacht even as Hitler, convinced he could still win the war by dividing the two Allied armies and soliciting the western Allied phalanx to join him in an unholy war against the godless Bolsheviks. It is no exaggeration that it is unlikely that any other three-month period in modern history had the monumental impact of these three months as the evil empire of the Nazi regime was smashed into smithereens. Indeed, the ninety-day period saw historical events ranging from the conference at Yalta to the controversial and merciless bombing of Dresden, from the crucial crossing of the final bridge over the Rhine at Remagen to the brutal extermination of the German army at the hands of the Russians. And all of these, and many more, are described, discussed, and placed in historical context by an author who is a master of the trade of writing substantial popular works of history.
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