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La batalla de Berlín fue la contienda definitiva, la que culminó la Segunda Guerra Mundial y la última ofensiva contra el Tercer Reich de Hitler, que devastó una de las capitales históricas de Europa y provocó la caída definitiva del nazismo. Fue, sin duda, uno de los momentos más decisivos y sangrientos de la guerra, cuyo resultado ha sido determinante en la construcciónLa batalla de Berlín fue la contienda definitiva, la que culminó la Segunda Guerra Mundial y la última ofensiva contra el Tercer Reich de Hitler, que devastó una de las capitales históricas de Europa y provocó la caída definitiva del nazismo. Fue, sin duda, uno de los momentos más decisivos y sangrientos de la guerra, cuyo resultado ha sido determinante en la construcción de la política internacional durante las décadas posteriores....

Title : La última batalla. La caída de Berlín y la derrota del nazismo
Author :
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ISBN : 9788434523593
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 478 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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La última batalla. La caída de Berlín y la derrota del nazismo Reviews

  • Mara
    2018-10-28 03:36

    There is no easy way to put to words something with such enormity as the last battle in the deadliest military conflict in history. And yet, Cornelius Ryan manages to do just that not with the use of staggering statistics, but with a series of stories that even my simple human mind can comprehend. Don't get me wrong, Ryan is thorough in his coverage of the military history of the Battle of Berlin. However, for me, sometimes the big picture is brought home by the little things, so I'm just gonna go ahead and copy the model of Jeff's lovely review and tell you a few of the many things I learned (or hadn't previously considered).The ZooEarly on Ryan tells us of a zookeeper who, unable to bear the thought of it being left there to perish, took home his favorite rare stork to live in his bathtub. I'm not gonna get all PETA on you here, but, yes the fate of the Berlin Zoo hit me pretty hard. I won't attempt to devastate you (or myself) with pictures of perished elephants and whatnot, but the thought of the zoo's inhabitants as Berliners made for an interesting meditation.One Way Out of BerlinWhat do you do when you're told that your city full of women and children residents is about to be sacked by a group of savages with no regard for humanity (the Goebbels propaganda machine in perpetual motion)? Well, for one, you stock up on cyanide. It seems that parlor talk included whether to go for the wrist or other major arteries among women who took to keeping razor blades on their person along the Strasses of Berlin. Among the deaths by poisoning were the six Goebbels children who died at the hand of their mother, Magda, before she and her husband/Reich Minister of Propaganda committed suicide.Soldiers of Last ResortSo who was left to defend the city? For the most part, the Volkssturm who, as Ryan describes, "occupied a kind of netherworld among the military." In addition to the problems arising from the fact that the invite decidedly read BYOW (Bring Your Own Weapon) which resulted in a hodgepodge of mismatched guns and ammo, the "people's militia" did not feature battle-ready demographics. Children as young as 13 were among the members of the 92 battalions sent out to the streets of battle.On the flip-side at least one Volkssturm unit was made up of World War I veterans and other men past their "prime" fighting years. One such individual (potentially a former senior ranking police official according to some internet comments) is pictured below wearing a Volkssturm armband after being taken captive by a young Soviet soldier (left).Hitler Loyalists Had Second ThoughtsIn an egregious oversimplification of things, I'll just say that some of Hitler's higher-ups were seriously starting to question his judgement during those final days. Albert Speer, architect and Nazi Minister of Armaments and War Production was considering assassinating Hitler. However, Ryan best captures the internal turmoil of General Gotthard Heinrici (pictured below meeting Hitler in 1937) who, in the end (and, in reality, too late) realized his responsibility to the German people and god superseded even direct orders from the Fuhrer.My RecommendationRead this one (or listen to it, as I did). I'm skipping, well, pretty much everything, and if you're at all interested in this period of history then you won't regret taking the time to go through this.

  • Nooilforpacifists
    2018-11-02 04:53

    Typical sprawling Ryan--not much new, but he sure brings back some great diary-captured dialogue. And who knew that around April 25th, 1945, Major Werner Pluskat slipped quietly away from Wenck's 12th Army, swam across the Elbe, and surrendered to the Americans (Bradley)? You may recall Pluskat from Ryan's previous book "D-Day", but most especially the movie made from that book. Posted at the Normandy beaches, he's the first to sight the Allied invasion:P: "There must be 10,000 ships!"Supercilious Colonel: "That's impossible; the Anglo-Americans don't have 10,000 ships. Tell me, Herr Major, if they had 10,000 ships, where are they heading?"P: "Right at me!"That's from a different book, but good to know Pluskat deserted the sinking Reich just in time.I think Ryan undercounts Soviet losses taking Berlin (100k in the book), and spends too much time emphasizing the first and second wave of Russians that overran Berlin were professionals, not rapists. Those soldiers warned of "the pigs" behind them, and they were right: girls from 9 to women of 90 were raped. Ryan discusses but somehow downplays it. Fortunately, there's subsequently published diaries (e.g., "A Woman in Berlin") making this hell of war all too ugly.

  • Doreen Petersen
    2018-11-07 01:58

    Outstanding book! The author packs so much factual evidence in that it's still making my head spin. Loved this book. Would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in WWII history!

  • Jeff
    2018-11-16 21:46

    Like the other books of Cornelius Ryan that I have read, The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far, the author brings immediacy to what in the wrong hands could be a confusing mass of events and people. The book focuses on the last major battle, the Battle of Berlin, and the events that led up to it. A few things I learned from reading the book:1) U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgentheau wanted to eliminate all industry from Germany and turn it into an agricultural state.2) Allied intelligence feared that there was a secret base (Redoubt) somewhere in Southern Germany, fully armed with chemical warfare weaponry and outfitted with secret commando squads called “Werewolves”. This turned out to be a false rumor.3) The Germans had captured the Allies’ plans to divide up Germany at the end of the war into respective U.S., British and Soviet zones. This was revealed for the first time when the book was published.4) The fact that Berlin fell in the Soviet zone, was the main reason that Eisenhower did not have the Anglo-American forces try to take the city. He felt it was pointless for troops to give their lives for territory that they would have to give back at the end of the war.5) On secret orders from Supreme Commander Dwight Eisenhower, a commando group led by Nicholas Joseph Fury was able to neutralize a HYDRA group located 50 miles south of Coberg.*6) The Allies would routinely use captured vehicles and even planes. They would capture them, paint them olive drab and slap on the regiment designation.7) During his initial artillery barrage, General Zhukov thought that shining blinding anti-aircraft lights into German positions would confuse them. The Germans had retreated from those positions hours earlier. Still, an interesting, yet failed, tactic.*Just to see if you were paying attention.

  • Mike
    2018-11-13 22:51

    The Last Battle is a bundle of Stars, 5 at least bringing you another chapter in Cornelius Ryan’s historical storytelling of WWII. An excellent account of the end of Nazi Germany for the novice, amateur and professional historian alike. Completed in 1966, it remains a wonderful source of first-hand accounts and one of the first to include detailed Soviet accounts of the battle. No mean feat in the middle of the Cold War.Ryan begins with building up the picture of an overwhelmed Germany and a destroyed Berlin waiting for whoever would capture it first. The Allies are flooding in, taking huge swaths of territory daily. Most hoped the Western Allies would beat the Russians to Berlin. Ryan’s writing is so simple, it is brilliant. He brings in all sorts of key and obscure characters from all sides and uses their words to tell the story. For instance, after describing the rubble of Berlin and the fantasy of the Nazi leadership in defending the Reich, Ryan brings the scene down to earth with the simple day-to-day existence of a Berlin milkman making his delivery rounds, touching the lives of so many others, a sliver of everyday normality in a world gone mad. From civilians caught in the crossfire to the “grunts” on every side to the Axis and Allied leaders you will get a vivid picture of this violent time. Some things I learned or gained a better appreciation for from this book:-The Eisenhower decision to not take Berlin caused immense frustration to Churchill, the British Army and the US Army. The drama around this decision was fascinating.-Roosevelt was adamant that the US Army should be attacking on the north German plains, where the British actually were. He did not want to be in southern Germany or near France or Italy.-The decision of a probable mid-level British staff officer to stage the American forces and supplies in south and southwestern England had far ranging impacts to D-Day and the entire campaign.-Col Gen Gotthard Heinrici, given command of Army Group Vistula, is a fascinating character.-Stalin was convinced the Western Allies were going to try to beat him to Berlin. He plays his generals against each other to get to Berlin first. So many Russian soldiers were thrown away in the race to the city. But the frenzy of the Russian troops to get to Berlin was also amazing.-The US and UK were not all buddy-buddy in the execution of the war in Europe. Interesting to read how bad the situation was at times.Highly recommended. Easy to read and keeps your attention. If you want a great contrast, read Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain, about the desperate situation in 1940. Taken together, these two books are great bookends to WWII history.

  • A.L. Sowards
    2018-11-02 03:46

    Wow. This book was really interesting. It kept making me think what would have happened if...Knowing what did happen to Eastern Europe after WWII kept me wishing that things would have turned out differently. I still think Eisenhower made the right choice, based on the information he had, when he decided not to cross the Elbe and race the Soviets for Berlin across territory the politicians had already said would be in the Soviet zone. (Especially when I read that the Red Army planed to "accidentally" shell the Americans when they met, just so they would know how strong the Red Army was.) But I wonder what would have happened if Roosevelt (or someone on his staff) had pushed harder for his map of post-war Germany. Or if the Allies hadn't had the whole Market Garden fiasco that held them up in Sept '44. Or if the German army would have done the common-sense thing and let the Anglo-American armies come in from the West and move everything to the Eastern front. Ryan did a wonderful job of showing different perspectives: the men in the 82nd airborne division being briefed for a possible drop into Berlin; the civilians in Berlin worrying about being raped when the Red Army arrived; one of Hitler's croonies trying to figure out a way to save the musicians in the Berlin orchestra from being turned into cannon fodder; Soviet troops whose families had been slaughtered by Nazis and had nothing to go back home to. I found myself feeling sorry for people on every side of the war. I was so glad when Heinrici finally decided to disobey his absolutely-no-retreat orders from Hitler because he knew he would have to answer to the German people and to God. And speaking of Hitler, if I didn't already think him demonic for his other war-time atrocities, how he treated his own loyal people in the final months of the war would alone be enough to make me hate him. Is it really necessary to arm your 13 and 14 year old children and send them off to be slaughtered when you know you will lose the war? (I use the term "arm" loosely, since most of them were given rifles and ammunition that weren't compatible, so they might as well have been using rocks and spears.) Anyway, if you want to know more about the last bit of the war in Europe, and the reasons things ended up the way they did, this is the book to read. Well-written, fair. I'll admit I was a little worried that the book would end up being just a catalogue of revenge-driven Soviet troops taking their anger out on Berlin civilians. There were a few pages of that, but the book covered so much more. Makes me very glad to live in the US in the twenty-first century.

  • Jill Hutchinson
    2018-11-13 20:31

    I have no idea why I had not read this book before now but I am thrilled that I did. I have read several book on the Battle of Berlin but this one stands near, if not at the top, of the list of winners. The author divides the book into sections.....the City, the Generals, the Objective,the Decision, and the Battle. Within each chapter, he supplies intricate detail of each topic without becoming pedantic.....he is telling the story of what happened, as it happened, and does not allow any bias to color the narrative. It is a straightforward history of the race by the Allies for Berlin as the Third Reich collapses and the taking of the capital that will end the slaughter. The interaction among the Allies as to who should be allowed the honor of entering the city first is fascinating and the fear of the civilians that the Russians would be the invaders was real, as it should have been. The common Russian soldier was on a mission of revenge for the atrocities committed by Germany when they invaded Russia and were savage in their retribution. The last days and hours within the Fuehrer Bunker are fascinating as Hitler's madness increased and he ordered all to stand and fight to the last man. Needless to say, that did not happen, although the city could have been saved if one General would have stepped forward and approached the Allies directly with a statement of surrender.I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in WWII, and even to those who may not be. Beautifully done.

  • Anaszaidan
    2018-11-17 02:37

    الكتاب يثير الشجون..فقد ارتبط عندي بمرحلة المراهقة ، التي قرأت فيها هذا الكتاب عشرات المرات، كان لدي نهم معرفي ورغبة في مسابقة الجميع للقراءة..لم يكن عندي من أتنافس معه في القراءة من أقران، ولكن كانت لدي الرغبة المحمومة في السباق. اشتريت الكتاب وقرأت فيه. تمكنت من معرفة كبار قيادات ألمانيا في عهد هتلر، لأن المؤلف قد وضع في ثنايا الكتاب صورا للقيادات العسكرية. وعرفت أيضاً كيف تقاد ألمانيا وتدار الأمور بعقلية القائد الفذ العبقري إلخ..هتلر!الكتاب يناسب المبتدئين، لأنه يعرض تاريخا سياسيا وعسكريا واجتماعيا في توليفة هي أقرب للسرد القصصي المباشر. ستشعر بمعاناة الناس من تبعات الحروب طويلة الأمد، وستجد وصفا مثيرا (لشخصي المراهق) حول كيفية سقوط برلين في الحرب العالمية الثانية..وكيف ساد الخوف من القوات الروسية بين أفراد شعب برلين،ولماذا كانت أمانيهم أن تصل قوات التحالف الغربية البريطانية والأمريكية قبل الروسية إلى برلين.كل هذا مخافة الوقوع ضحايا لاعتداءات محتملة من قبل الجيش الروسيالكتاب من ترجمة العقيد المتقاعد رشيد صالح العزاوي، ومراجعة اللواء الركن المتقاعد محمود أحمد عزت، وطباعة دار الشؤون الثقافية العامة،التابعة لوزارة الثقافة والإعلام العراقية أيام كان العراق بعثيا..قبل أن يستجير من رمضاء البعث إلى نار الطائفية الصفوية.الترجمة كانت جميلة ورائعة..وهي سمة ميزت الكتب المترجمة من العراق..إذ كان النظام الجامعي آنذاك يمنع المبتعث العراقي من التوظيف في الجامعات العراقية إلا إذا ترجم كتابا مضى على نشره بلغته الأم سنتين على الأكثر.من يرى نهوض ألمانيا الاقتصادي والتقني، بعد خرابها؛ سيرجو من الله أن يعيد العراق إلى عصور النهضة التي اشتهر بها العراق قبل أن يعبث بها الصفويون..فشكل انتكاسة البلدين متشابه إلى حد كبير.سحبت من التقييم نجمة..لأن الكتاب لم يكن طويلا كما ينبغي له، رغم تأريخه للجوانب العسكرية لمختلف أطراف الحرب العالمية الثانية،وتخصيصه للجانب الألماني بحصة الأسد من كتابه هذا. ورغم ذلك، فالكتاب ممتع وإن لم يكن يشمل جوانب كثيرة في الحرب،كالجانب الاستخباري..الذي كان له دور مهم في حسم الحرب.

  • Brendan Monroe
    2018-10-25 03:51

    To the generations that came after its end, World War II has a kind of mythical quality about it. It feels and reads like a Hollywood blockbuster, and has in fact been used as the basis for many Hollywood blockbusters. And, like any great myth or movie, it has larger than life heroes AND villains. As a result of this, the gruesome details of what went on in WWII often get lost in depictions of cartoonish villains and heroic deeds.The Battle for Berlin is ripe with all these elements. The villains are there, on both sides, heroes emerge, also on both sides, and the gruesome details are in no short supply. This battle encapsulates everything that war is. The complexity of it, the tragedy of it, and the fact that there really is nothing heroic or good in it.But like WWII itself, Cornelius Ryan's account of "The Last Battle" is fascinating. Ryan really had amazing access to the people that took part in the battle, on both sides, and he looks at the battle with a microscope. It is the short, personal details that stand out in this telling.The milkman who continues on his route despite the impending collapse of the city. The zookeeper who keeps the zoo's rare stork in his bathtub in an attempt to keep it safe. The communists who, having eagerly awaited the arrival of the Soviets in the city, are then brutally raped when they finally arrive.Yes, the rapes. It was interesting to read in the author's acknowledgments that both the U.S. State Department and the British Foreign Office discouraged the author from raising the issue of the Berlin rapes with the Soviets during his interviews with him, fearing that it would be "undiplomatic to raise the question". Then-President John F. Kennedy disagreed with that view, telling the author that the Russians were "horse traders" and that he should "lay it on the table" and be blunt.Ryan does not shy away from depicting the horrible brutality of the Red Army as it sweeps into Berlin. Many Berliners are relieved when they find that the first waves of the Red Army are professional, even helpful. But the Soviets are apparently well aware of their reputation, as one officer tells a group of women sequestered at a convent to be careful because the men coming up behind them are "pigs" and another man, after having brutally assaulted a woman in an alleyway, raises his hands over his head in helpless admission afterwards, admitting "I'm a pig". Women hide in overturned bathtubs cast on the street outside, under tables, blankets, and anywhere else in order to try and avoid being raped. Many women are gang raped, left half-dead, and then raped again when another group of soldiers enters the city. It is little surprise then that many of these women attempted suicide to avoid this particularly cruel fate.I'm currently living in eastern Ukraine and, while reading this book, I asked some of the locals I know about their thoughts on this. Some of the responses I got resembled those the author received to an uncanny degree. The German women, they told me, "deserved their fate" because of crimes their fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers had committed during Hitler's plunge into eastern Europe. Perhaps the worst thing about war is how mercy is so often in short supply on all sides.Other notable events depicted by Ryan include Patton's Third Army discovering the remains of uncountable corpses when they liberate a Nazi Concentration Camp. The famously stern Patton is, we are told, reduced to tears and the next day leads the local townspeople, who deny all knowledge of the nearby camp, by gunpoint through it so they can see firsthand the atrocities committed there.The Berlin Zoo is, as well, a sadly tragic tale. The "dangerous" animals had to be shot and other animals starve to death or are killed by the bombs or shelling. Sometimes one can't help but sympathize with the animals the most. For weren't they the only ones we can point to as having been truly innocent in the whole affair?But in between moments of seeming unrelenting darkness in "The Last Battle", I found myself laughing. Once at the insight that while Berlin was being shelled and its occupants were busy fleeing for their lives, eleven of the city's seventeen breweries continued making beer because the government had deemed its production "essential". Or again at the darkly comic image of some of the Soviets who, having never seen a lightbulb before, stuffed their pockets full of the bulbs thinking that they contained light. Many Soviets, having a similar lack of knowledge of plumbing, pulled the water faucets from the wall thinking they would have instant access to water whenever they wished."The Last Battle" reiterates the madness that gripped Hitler, especially in those final months, and left me asking once again - why the hell did not even his own top advisors try to stop a man who clearly had no grip on reality and fostered a growing hatred for his own people in those final mad months?Ryan has given us essential insight into an event and a war that should never be forgotten. That it is also an essential insight into the nature of man and of the potential we all have for good and evil makes it all the more valuable.

  • Pedro
    2018-10-25 22:58

    «Oh Alemania, Alemania, Patria mía», escribió Erna Saenger, un ama de casa de 65 años, madre de seis hijos, en su Diario. Y añadía: «La confianza trae consigo la decepción. Creer fielmente equivale a ser tonto y ciego… pero… nos quedaremos en Berlín. Si todos nos marchásemos como nuestros vecinos, el enemigo conseguiría lo que se propone. No… no queremos esa clase de derrota».Abril de 1945, los aliados acorralan a los Nazis en Berlín. Los rusos llegan por el este, están detenidos en el río Oder a escasos kilómetros, donde se dinamitaron todos los puentes. El resto de los aliados ya cruzó el Rin y se dirigen al Elba, a marchas forzadas, con poca resistencia. Es una carrera frenética, la última de la guerra, y el premio es la capital del Reich. En un acto de desesperación, Hitler llama al General Gotthard Heinrici, veterano de la batalla de Leningrado, impopular, pero experto en defensa y retiradas controladas. Es despreciado por los jerarcas del régimen, a los que también él desprecia; no tiene tropas suficientes, ni municiones, ni blindados, ni apoyo aéreo, ni de donde obtener cualquiera de ellos. Sólo le queda una cosa, la estrategia, y es lo que usará para defender lo único que en realidad importa: la población civil de la ciudad. De las tres obras que leí de Cornelius Ryan en días pasados, una tras otra, sin descanso entre ellas; podría decir con certeza, a pesar de ser todas de una calidad tremenda, y de que la crítica probablemente esté en mi contra, que para mí ésta es la mejor de todas. Haber sido el primero en tener acceso a la fuente rusa, de manera casi ilimitada, en medio de las tensiones de la guerra fría, le da un gran plus al autor. Pero no es sólo eso, es la calidad narrativa que no decae nunca, son los variados puntos de vista (alemanes, rusos, ingleses, norteamericanos y civiles); es la profundidad con la que trata a cada personaje, como un autor de ficción consagrado, consiguiendo transmitir una vibrante empatía, realismo y vitalidad. Además, logra mantener la tensión y el entusiasmo en todo momento, haciéndole dudar a uno, que ya sabe como terminó todo, del destino final de los hechos.Imperdible para los que gustan de la literatura bélica, entusiastas de la segunda guerra mundial, y para cualquiera que sienta curiosidad.

  • Brian
    2018-11-16 04:44

    Another amazing book about WWII from Cornelius Ryan. Similar to "A Bridge Too Far," Ryan does a skillful job of weaving in personal stories with the bigger political and military picture.My only constructive critique of "The Last Battle" is that the book ends too soon on the historical timeline. Throughout the book he hints at bad things to come with the fall of Berlin transitioning into the beginning of The Cold War, but the book ends a bit abruptly before exploring this more, or providing an epilogue.

  • David
    2018-10-20 20:57

    Ryan tries the same formula that worked for him in "The Longest Day" and "A Bridge Too Far" but doesn't seem to work as well this time, perhaps because there's lots of politics and top-level scrambling involved and less "action" -- sure, there's action, but not in as great a detail as "A Bridge . . ." -- probably not as much as in "TLD," too, but I haven't read that.Ryan seems to have interviewed scads of people but there's not really a good thread running through the book. And as far as coverage of the battle for Berlin goes, it's not much of a history -- just a bunch of anecdotes. I'm much higher on Anthony Beevor's account.Will review bibliography again but probably not a keeper.

  • Jack
    2018-11-07 03:41

    Berlin, 1945 – the Allied forces were pushing into Germany. US and British forces from the West and the Russians from the East. “The Last Battle” describes in detail the military commanders, as well as the civilians, caught in the final drive to Berlin.Although the outcome of this battle is widely known (Berlin falls to the Soviets), there are a few surprises in the book for those who may not be experts on WWII history. For myself, it was interesting to discover friction between the Anglo-American forces, not just between the British General Montgomery and Supreme Commander Eisenhower, but also between the US and British governments on the occupation zones of Germany after the war. Of the German defenders, I got the impression that had Hitler not been overcome by delusions in the final weeks, Berlin may have put up a stiffer resistance, or perhaps, been spared some of the more brutal convulsions. Of note, there was apparently no plan to evacuate the women and children civilians, and much of Berlin's forces consisted of old men and young boys.The book, while long at 500+ pages, is written in a dramatic fashion with some attempt at fleshing out the personalities and the urgency of the moment. There are also a few photographs, although it is worth noting that this book was written around the 1960's so the contemporary photos of some of the survivors may no longer be accurate.

  • Steve
    2018-10-22 03:41

    Terrific history and sublime story-telling - there is a reason this books has stood the test of time - I only wish I'd read it earlier.There's not much point in reviewing a highly regarded, commercially successful book that, after nearly 50 years, is still widely accessible on library and bookstore shelves. But, if you're unfamiliar with Ryan, his genius lies in taking the grandest (or the most terrible) of events - here, the fall of Berlin and the Third Reich at the end of WWII - and introducing the reader to an enormously broad range of personal, or, more accurately, intimate vignettes and anecdotes, without letting the reader's attention wander from the primary story line. It's all here - German, Russian, American, and British armies, from the civilian leaders (dictators, presidents, prime ministers) and generals to the junior officers and privates to the prisoners of war and the populace/residents, to, and I could not make this up, the most exotic of animals in the Berlin zoo. And you can't help but care about all of them.Oh, and the icing on the cake is a generous dose of photos, which makes this brilliant web of human interest stories even more, well, human.The book represents an epic achievement, and I'm glad I finally took the time to read it.

  • Chris
    2018-10-31 22:34

    In The Last Battle, Ryan not only writes about the Battle of Berlin, but thoroughly covers the last few months of the war in Europe from the end of the Battle of the Bulge through May of 1945. His narrative writing style makes history come alive as he switches back and forth between the viewpoints of the Anglo-Americans, Soviets, Nazi High Command, and citizens of Berlin. Ryan's account is just the right level of detail to get a good understanding of how the end of the war in Europe unfolded. He does an excellent job of explaining the events that led to VE Day, including the Anglo-American debate about whether to race the Soviet army to Berlin; Stalin's scheming to beat US and British forces to the city; The day-to-day life of ordinary citizens of Berlin; The meetings of German high command in Hitler's Berlin bunker; The Allied planning for the invasion of Germany and their advance from the west after the Battle of the Bulge; and, of course, the Battle of Berlin itself.I would highly recommend this book if you are interested in understanding the events that led to the conclusion of the war in Europe.

  • Thomas
    2018-10-19 20:47

    I thought that the last battle did a good job of telling the battle of Berlin from different viewpoints and not the American or the Soviet or the Nazi but rather a combination of all the sides. I also liked how it not only dealt with the political and military leaders but also about the common man. I especially enjoyed the parts about the battle's impact on the Berlin Zoo. Overall it was a well written book about the final battle of the European theater.

  • Greg Coplans
    2018-11-10 01:32

    It was hard to put this book down. Ryan captures your attention in the first pages and your attention never wanes. It was the first non-fiction that I felt read like a novel. Well written, very informative and conveyed the atmosphere on all sides German, Russian, and the Western Allies, that prevailed in the last days of Berlin.

  • Maanasee Deshmukh
    2018-11-09 22:37

    Ready your helmets men and don't forget to avoid the shells. Because it is about to get a little bit Hitlerish in here. Cornelius Ryan, author of the gripping book, The Last Battle, narrates the dark and politically grim tale of WWII, perhaps one of the more horrifying battles in American history. The book doesn't start from the beginning of the war, but instead skips to the more climatic part of the battle; the last three weeks of WWII, commonly known as The Battle of Berlin. This book, seemingly non-fictional, actually fits in the realistic-fiction genre of literature. And we will see why later on. But for now, arm yourself to dive into WWII.As aforementioned, The Last Battle details the ending three weeks of WWII, starting on A-Day. A-Day marked the beginning of the Battle for Berlin. The exact date: Monday, April 16th, 1945; the commonly typed date on typewritten telegrams across Europe, as a dark day fell upon Germany. At this time, three armies were battling for Berlin. The Allied Forces, which consisted of the U.S, Britain, France, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, and Yugoslavia. The second army and enemy to the Allies, Germany, was fighting to claim its own Nazi-ridden town. And finally the third army consisted of the Russians, who were part of the Allies, but had their own cruel mastermind plan. These three battled it out, as Berlin was constantly bombed and ripped to shreds. Alongside that, the book details two sides to the story; the German generals feeling hopeless with their Fuhrer as he contemplates more ridiculous plans to capture Berlin, and the U.S President and generals, as they discover the horrors of the Berliners, foreigners,the German society, and the concentration camps. Bring these stories to light and you have a grim tale about WWII. Coupled with action and truth of reality and war, this book surely pleases those who want more insight on something much larger than life.Out of all the non-fiction and realistic fiction, this one has got to be the most memorable so far. Previously stated, this book is a realistic fiction novel. The event of WWII was most definitely real. But what makes this book amazing is the use of dialogue. Ryan himself interviewed generals and staff working with Adolf Hitler, and coupled with plenty of research, recreated what may have been conversations between these dictators and their armies. Though many famous lines are in fact documented, such as General Guderian spewing at new appointed General Heinrici about replacing Heinrici Himmler, "Himmler. That was the biggest problem. Getting rid of the man you're to replace-Himmler!" (Ryan, 82). Such harsh words to the man who was responsible for leading the Fourth Army of Germany to victory in WWI. But nonetheless, it is what keeps the book's charm. And it isn't just dialogue among the army. The dialogue can be found as it retells the city folk's many stories of simple everyday survival on black-mailed rations and bombing shelters. And the unique part about Ryan sharing these Berliners' stories are through actual photographs. Yup, pictures in an adult book! It's actually quite interesting to study Hitler's neatly groomed mustache on such high-def images. But selfies aside, the pictures tell even grimmer stories. A supplied death list at the end of documented dead families to honor those who were killed mercilessly. Stories of bombings that rip families apart, and a soldier's lust for women. And the most common death among them all; suicide. Not something you want to read about, but Ryan keeps the horror at bay. It is just enough to mentally torture you for the moment, but not forever. The most significant part of the novel and what drives Ryan's point home is the inhumane concentration camps. We learn through the book that Hitler was not actually responsible for all the deaths. In fact, Hitler just vaguely ordered to round up and kill all non-Aryans and Jews. It was his Reichfuhrer, Heinrici Himmler, that was responsible for the cruel plan of concentration camps. Showers that emitted cyanide upon release of the handle, the foreign prisoners disease-ridden, used as human experiments, shot, beaten. Even skinned alive. Buchenwald, commandent of one camp, had lampshades of human skin. Yes, even the commandant's wife, Ilse Koch, had shrunken heads, along with book covers, gloves, and other assorted clothing and material made of inmate skins. Horrifying and something many should be told during Halloween, but this was no trick-or-treating for the many captured. As Ryan interviewed surviving prisoners, many would have preferred the camps after escaping and seeing the bomb-torn cities; a sick way to think. But we will never know what they went through, as this book is a mere looking glass into what happened. And Cornelius proves a major point in the novel; that war comes with a price. A price of experience. Cornelius himself was a journalist who accompanied an air raid in Europe, flew for fourteen bombing missions of the Eighth and Ninth U.S. Army Air Force, and joined the famous George S. Patton's Third Army to cover their story. So he has seen enough to know the tale, and he reiterates it all with The Last Battle. Ryan strongly dictates his view of war as something not at all fun and games. As we can see with the retellings of camps and bombings, Ryan wants the readers to point towards a better world without these catastrophes called wars. And I can relate to this book with full-hearted honesty. After reading this, I've learned so much more about WWII. Ryan managed to balance his opinions with history in such a way where even a high-schooler could take a crash-course with this book. I learned that Hitler wasn't even responsible for the death toll. And then learned that the Russians didn't actually support the Allies, and they rather used them as a pawn to destroy Berlin. These two facts especially made me want to shake my fist at the dead Hitler and Stalin even more. His descriptions are enough for me to recoil and not support war at all. I would want peace too, seeing what the human mind can go so far as. If we instilled peace into the world, books like these would instead be fiction and rather a horror novella for the midnight reader. You do indeed have to read Cornelius Ryan's The Last Battle to fully understand the plea for peace in the world.The final verdict: 5 stars, though decimals should be appropriate. I absolutely loved the history, it truly is a different world. And with Ryan's unique style of pictures of the people, maps, and a huge eulogy of those who died, you can certainly find a place in your heart to honor this book.

  • Beverly
    2018-10-27 03:58

    So well written!I never really enjoyed reading about the World War Battles in a non-fiction format until I had read Vimy by Pierre Berton! This historical account of the the events leading up to the Last Battle for the fall of Berlin was written in the same style. I love how each side was introduced: The Allies (Britain, the US and Russia) and the Germans (civilians, soldiers, SS and the Reich). Because the author used journals, documents, letters and personal interviews of the surviors, this book came close to reading like a novel. It kept me engaged and I was able to follow the stratgies and manuvers and personal concerns as they were described. I also came to have a better understanding where some of the "ledgenary" figures of the US forces who have had movies made about their escapades got their reputations.I recommend this book to anyone wanting to have a better understanding of the last few months that lead up to the end of WWII.

  • Brian Skinner
    2018-10-17 23:36

    This book was like a novel with hundreds of characters. It shows the dread the germans felt as the Red Army was closing in on Berlin. They really wanted the Americans to conquer them first because they knew they would be treated civilly. Instead the red army came in and enacted vengeance on them for what the German army had done to their people in Stalingrad and Moscow. It truly was horrible. It was a great book though. After he committed suicide Hitler’s body was doused with gasoline and set ablaze. What did Hitler’s burning body smell like? According to a witness it smelled like burning bacon.

  • Quinby6696 Frank
    2018-10-25 03:44

    Totally riveting. Ryan is a master at painting both the broad picture of allied and German armies colliding as the allies approach Berlin as well as the telling individual detail. He includes myriad anecdotal accounts of what faced Berliners - hidden Jews and communists as well as the general civilian Berlin population. The tragedy of ordinary citizens sacrificed to Nazi incompetence and hesitation as no evacuation order was issued and the administration of the city fell into total chaos. He also describes in detail the last days of Hitler and the inhabitants of the fuehrer bunker.

  • Dale
    2018-11-02 00:35

    This book was intense. The thing that I most like about Ryan's book is that they are stories of individuals. Battles are fought by individuals, and this seems often to be lost in narratives of wins and losses. It's often forgotten that the biggest impact is often on the noncombatants. It is important the war has a human face, which hopefully makes it all seem less glorious.

  • Mark Prince
    2018-10-18 03:59

    The last 100 pages of the book are really good. This is where the Red Army begins its final assault on Berlin and everything goes belly up for the Reich.However, like most non-fiction books, the beginning part of the book is very detailed and can get long. A lot of that information is good, but it is also what makes reading non-fiction difficult for me.

  • Mark
    2018-11-15 02:49

    Superb. Meticulously researched and skillfully written, it conveys the broad scope of the battle but especially the personalities and experiences of people of all ranks and walks of life. The barbarity and heroism of endless situations are adeptly described. Ryan is a superb storyteller and chosen a very compelling subject.

  • Santosh Kumarpandey
    2018-10-27 22:48

    It was the one book that ignited the fire to read books in me, I really love the book. The description of Pongavaska or the Naval officer whose leg was blown but still there was calm on his face description are really great..... I love this book.

  • S.
    2018-11-17 04:38

    classic, canonical work on the Battle of Berlin by former newspaper correspondent and embedded military journalist Cornelius Ryan. reads well, with a nice pacing and good attention to detail. 4/5 solid.

  • Todd
    2018-11-14 22:01

    I read much about WWII and this is one of the better books I've read. It's easy to read and tells a story without filling pages with unnecessary details. There's a nice balance among the topics of military, civilians, POWs, US Army, Russian Army, etc...

  • William
    2018-11-16 00:38

    I really like this book. It was as good as the author's book The LongestDay.

  • Julien Saint-Clemente
    2018-11-11 22:52

    Very good book , Cornelius Ryan interviewed most of the people himself , with the general .. !! Im a fan of his work ... A must read for all ww2 fanatic !!

  • John
    2018-11-12 21:53

    Good at the beginning but dragged in the second half.