Every Man Dies Alone

Every Man Dies Alone

Book - 2010
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Now a Major Motion Picture - ALONE IN BERLIN

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year

"To read Every Man Dies Alone , Fallada's testament to the darkest years of the 20th century, is to be accompanied by a wise, somber ghost who grips your shoulder and whispers in your ear: 'This is how it was. This is what happened.'"
-- The New York Times Book Review

"I very much enjoyed the rediscovery of Hans Fallada ... a wonderful novel. Compelling."
--Ian McEwan

This never-before-translated masterpiece--by a heroic best-selling writer who saw his life crumble when he wouldn't join the Nazi Party--is based on a true story.

It presents a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis and tells the sweeping saga of one working-class couple who decides to take a stand when their only son is killed at the front. With nothing but their grief and each other against the awesome power of the Reich, they launch a simple, clandestine resistance campaign that soon has an enraged Gestapo on their trail, and a world of terrified neighbors and cynical snitches ready to turn them in.

In the end, it's more than an edge-of-your-seat thriller, more than a moving romance, even more than literature of the highest order--it's a deeply stirring story of two people standing up for what's right, and for each other.


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.

Publisher: Brooklyn, N.Y. : Melville House Pub., 2010
ISBN: 9781935554042
Branch Call Number: FICTION Fal
Description: 539 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Hofmann, Michael
Wilkes, Geoff


From the critics

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Feb 06, 2019

book club kit available

tomato Jul 30, 2017

I couldn't finish this book, although most of the reviews said how wonderful it was. I found it laborious to read.

May 04, 2017

I listened to this on audio cd, read by George Guidall. If I were on a desert island and could only have 5 books, this would be one of them. It is absolutely brilliant. If I could only have three, this would be one of them. There are intersecting stories: the couple who decide they must take a stand against Hitler, neighbors who drift in and out, the SS obsessively out to learn the identity of the traitor. It's tense and suspenseful. I see there are a lot of reviews, excellent reviews and I am glad to add my two shekels.

Feb 27, 2017

It took me a long time to finish this. It's more than 500 pages, I knew how it was going to end (as it's based on a true story) and in some respects it's one of the most depressing books I've ever read (I'd put it in the same group as 1984 by Orwell and A Spark of Life by Remarque). Having said that, the novel also has its funny moments and grains of hope, because in Fallada's words “we don’t want to end this book with death, dedicated as it is to life, invincible life, life always triumphing over humiliation and tears, over misery and death.”

The author finished the book in less than a month - a real feat, having in mind its impressive scale. I still find this hard to believe, but I can't help but feel really thankful that he managed to do it, even though, sadly, he didn't live to see it published. (Fallada died a few weeks before its publication in 1947.) The other thing that's even harder to believe is that it wasn't translated into English until 2009. When it was finally released in the US and UK, it was received surprisingly well.

Primo Levi calls it "the greatest book ever written about the German resistance to the Nazis." For me, it also shows very well how miserable the life of most Germans was during that time, even those who believed unconditionally in their Fuhrer. Fallada brilliantly depicts the constant fear, suspicion, violence and brainwashing that led to the rapid desensitization and dehumanization of the common Germans. But of course, there were also the ones who refused to accept the Nazi doctrine in their hearts, the ones who risked their lives in order to remain decent. And this novel is an ode to them as well.

Every Man Dies Alone might not be the finest example of literary mastery, but it's a novel of great importance. It has to be read, now even more than ever.

Oct 19, 2016

An interesting historical document from the period immediately following WW II about the struggle to maintain decency. It illustrates Hannah Arendt's "banality of evil".

Jul 03, 2016

Based on a true story, this masterpiece is a gripping, fascinating historical novel of German citizenry resistance to the Nazi regime that was difficult to put down. Rich in suspense and detail of the times within Berlin, Fallada's engrossing tale illuminates a part of WWII history not readily found. I rate it as joining Koestler's Darkness at Noon as one of the great political historical novels of the 20th century.

Feb 19, 2016

What makes this such an interesting story is that it is based on real life circumstances. A very human look at the insanity of Hitler's control over Germany.

Nov 04, 2014

A story of a Berlin couple's great courage in planning a clandestine protest again the Reich during WWII.

Nov 01, 2014

A Berlin couple take a stand against the Reich there cunning and courage bewilder the Gestapo. A journey through sorrow, strength, and the brutality of dictatorships. Deeply moving and memorable.

Aug 18, 2012

This is an intriguing novel that presents a different type of Nazi resistance story. As someone who has read quite a bit of fiction and non-fiction work on the topic, I highly recommend it!

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