Every Man Dies Alone

Every Man Dies Alone

4.21 (14,456 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 McEwanThis 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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 539 pages
  • 139.7 x 203.2 x 45.72mm | 498.95g
  • Melville House Publishing
  • Brooklyn, United States
  • English
  • 1935554042
  • 9781935554042
  • 40,942

Review quote

"The greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis." --Primo Levi "Hans Fallada's "Every Man Dies Alone" is one of the most extraordinary and compelling novels ever written about World War II. Ever. Fallada lived through the Nazi hell, so every word rings true-this is who they really were: the Gestapo monsters, the petty informers, the few who dared to resist. Please, do "not "miss this." --Alan Furst "Grim, powerful epic portrait of life in Gemany under Nazi rule, published shortly after the author's death in 1947 but never before available in English. Fallada was a bestselling novelist before the rise of the Third Reich, but during World War II he was hounded by the Gestapo and psychologically brutalized by Joseph Goebbels, who unsuccessfully tried to force him to write an anti-Semitic book. Sinking into alcohol and drug addiction, he was a broken man by the end of his life, and his final novel is shot through with his despair. Written in a 24-day rush, it was inspired by the real-life case of a working-class husband and wife who conducted a covert three-year propoganda campaign against the Nazi regime. Fallada's fictionalized version centers on Otto and Anna Quangel, who are driven to protest after learning that their only son has died fighting at the front. The protest is small and timid: Otto writes anti-Hitler messages on postcards that he distributes around Berlin, and the Quangels are never certain if they influence any hearts or minds. Nonetheless, they provoke the Gestapo. Fallada reveals a deep understanding of the agency's chain of command, its grisly abuses of power and the culture of fear it cultivated among German citizens. Hishefty novel includes a host of characters, from hard-drinking reprobates and factory workers to judges and, in a poignant early passage, an elderly Jewish woman in the Quangel's apartment building who lives in a perpetual state of terror. Most of these people are archetypal to a fault: Otto Quangel rarely strays from a stance of of stoic nobility, and the drunken, proud bloviations pf Gestapo brass occasionally border on the absurd. The characters' fates are clearly telegraphed, yet Fallada keeps readers engaged with passionate prose that rushes events along at a thriller-like pace. And there's stark grandeur in the closing chapters, featuring a Nazi trial, an execution and death in prison. A very welcome resurrection for a great writer crucified by history." --KIRKUS "A signal literary event of 2009 has occurred. Rescued from the grave, from decades of forgetting, ["Every Man Dies Alone"] testifies to the lasting value of an intact, if battered, conscience. In a publishing hat trick, Melville House allows English-language readers to sample Fallada's vetiginous variety [and] the keen vision of a troubled man in troubled times, with more breadth, detail, and understanding than most other chroniclers of the era have delivered. 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 arm and whispers in your ear: 'This is how it was. This is what happened.'" -- New York Times Book Reviewshow more

About Hans Fallada

Before WWII, German writer Hans Fallada's novels were international bestsellers, on a par with those of his countrymen Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse. In America, Hollywood even turned his first big novel, Little Man, What Now? into a major motion picture.Learning the movie was made by a Jewish producer, however, Hitler decreed Fallada's work could no longer be sold outside Germany, and the rising Nazis began to pay him closer attention. When he refused to join the Nazi party he was arrested by the Gestapo--who eventually released him, but thereafter regularly summoned him for "discussions" of his work. However, unlike Mann, Hesse, and others, Fallada refused to flee to safety, even when his British publisher, George Putnam, sent a private boat to rescue him. The pressure took its toll on Fallada, and he resorted increasingly to drugs and alcohol for relief. After Goebbels ordered him to write an anti-Semitic novel, he snapped and found himself imprisoned in an asylum for the "criminally insane"--considered a death sentence under Nazi rule. To forestall the inevitable, he pretended to write the assignment for Goebbels, while actually composing three encrypted books--including his tour de force novel The Drinker--in such dense code that they were not deciphered until long after his death. Fallada outlasted the Reich and was freed at war's end. But he was a shattered man. To help him recover by putting him to work, Fallada's publisher gave him the Gestapo file of a simple, working-class couple who had resisted the Nazis. Inspired, Fallada completed Every Man Dies Alone in just twenty-four days. He died in February 1947, just weeks before the book's publication.show more

Review Text

Now a Major Motion Picture - ALONE IN BERLINA New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year "The greatest book ever written about the German resistance to the Nazis." -Primo Levi"One of the most extraordinary and compelling novels ever written about World War II. Ever.... Please, do not miss this." -Alan Furst"It has something of the horror of Conrad, the madness of Dostoyevsky and the chilling menace of Capote's In Cold Blood .... In the quiet Quangels, Fallada has created an immortal symbol of those who fight back against 'the vile beyond all vileness' and so redeem us all." -Roger Cohen, The New York Times "An unrivalled and vivid portrait of life in wartime Berlin." - Philip Kerr, author of the "Berlin Noir" novels"Has the suspense of a John le Carré novel ... visceral, chilling." - The New Yorker"One of the most extraordinarily ambitious literary resurrections in recent memory." - The Los Angeles Times"A one-of-a-kind novel ... Fallada can be seen as a hero, a writer-hero who survived just long enough to strike back at his oppressors." - The Globe and Mail "Stunningly vivid characters ... gets you inside Nazi Germany like no other novel." - The San Francisco Chronicle"Essential, thrilling." - The St. Petersburg Times"This is a novel that is so powerful, so intense, that it almost hums with electricity ." - Minneapolis Star-Tribuneshow more

Rating details

14,456 ratings
4.21 out of 5 stars
5 43% (6,281)
4 39% (5,637)
3 14% (1,977)
2 3% (426)
1 1% (135)
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