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Every Man Dies Alone
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Every Man Dies Alone

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  8,846 ratings  ·  1,422 reviews
"The greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis." -Primo Levi

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
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Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1946)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Elijah Kinch Spector
[Cross-posted on my blog, with some great pictures!]
Well holy fuck that was one of the best books I've ever read.

When I started Every Man Dies Alone, I had two fears: one, that it would be too dark and do too good a job of taking a depressing look at how terrible humans can be, and I wouldn't want to keep reading it; or two, that it would show the main characters' personal rebellion -- a series of postcards with anti-Nazi slogans dropped around Berlin -- as a regime-changing act of genius that
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Tony
Loved this.

But first, some context:

Hans Fallada is the pen name of Rudolf Ditzen. At the age of 18, Ditzen and a friend went out in the countryside and, in the manner of duellists, fired guns at each other over some adolescent sexual rutting. The friend missed, but Ditzen's aim was true. Taking his friend's gun, Ditzen shot himself in the chest, but survived. For the first of many times, Ditzen was committed to a sanatorium for the mentally ill. Released, Ditzen turned to alcohol and narcotics.
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brian
after losing their son to the war, berlin residents otta and anna quangel launch a mini-revolt against the reich and fuhrer in the form of postcards around the city which speak subversive messages directly to the people. read in the age of twitter and viral videos, this seems, at once, awfully quaint and particularly profound. there was a time, i gather, when words mattered; when there didn't exist a barrage of partisan wingnuts flooding the zeitgeist with nonsense. but lemme skip the cranky old ...more
Melanie
Some books make you work for it. They're not easy, they're difficult, they're sprawling and slow and undecided. Until they're not. Until you feel the gigantic heart beating at its nervous center, its unabashed humanity and intelligence.
It took me 250 pages to fully get into this one, and suddenly it took a turn and I was hooked like never before by its vital urgency. The characters were full-fleshed, fully realized, flawed and magnificent at the same time. The novel rushed towards its inevitabl
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Praj
I should express thanks to Gudrun Burwitz, for if it was not for her ruthless news, I would not have found a brilliant book that stands for every belief which Ms. Burwitz expels from her very survival. Couple weeks ago, a news article describing Burwitz as the new “Nazi grandmother” made me explore further for its validity. Ms. Burwitz who at the ripe age of 81, still strives hard to support and nurture the most modern breed of Nazis ,keeping alive the malicious work and memory of her father Hei ...more
Mark
After having started 2011 with a couple of disappointing novels this one blew me away. Written in 1947 but set in the middle years of the war it follows a number of different characters ranging from the noble and kind through the naive and tragic to the utterly loathsome making a few stops at the fairly disgusting. All emotions are here and this reader certainly experienced quite a few of them himself.

The hero and heroine,(Fallada speaks of people in their fifties or even late forties as being
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Esteban del Mal
Nazis: history's equivalent to that team that always gets trounced by the Harlem Globetrotters, the Washington Generals.

Every time you see Nazis in a movie or read of Nazis in book, you know that they're gonna get theirs in the end. It's akin to something like culturally accepted wisdom to dismiss them as caricatures. But they aren't caricatures (Godwin's Law notwithstanding) -- they existed (DO exist), and for a while there it looked like they might even run things. The period of their ascenda
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Whitaker
I read this while I was also reading Robert Fisk's The Great War for Civilisation The Conquest of the Middle East . Bad idea. Very bad idea. Note to self: Reading two depressing books at the same time does not do good things to one's mood.

There has been a surge of interest in the German experience of World War II, particularly the experience of those who tried to resist the war mongering. This novel joins works like The Song Before It Is Sung A Novel , Valkyrie The Plot To Kill Hitler , and So
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Meaghan
This has got to be the best book I've read in months, at least. Certainly the best novel. I had been waiting for it for months (the library had only one copy and others were ahead of me), and it was worth it. I sat down and read the whole book in a single day.

The premise is excellent -- a perfectly ordinary, working-class German couple carries on their own private campaign of resistance by dropping postcards with anti-Nazi messages. I knew this was going to be a great story. But even more impres
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Hadrian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cara
If I could have given this six stars, I would have.

Maybe it was because I read it in a day, or maybe because it was based on a true story, I know I will not forget this book for a long time.

Much WW2 literature is written from the view point of the English during the blitz, the French heading up the Resistence or the Nazi's wreaking evil. I think there is only Alone in Berlin and The Book Thief that I have read, which has given an insight into the dire situation that the ordinary Germans lived t
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Erik Simon
Riveted.

W.G. Sebald has written at length that German writers, for the most part, simply did not write about the time in Germany at the end of the war and the five or ten years after the war. Similarly, it seems to me that not many have novelized life under the Third Reich. I'm no expert of German lit, so I don't know that for sure, but other than THE TIN DRUM, I can't recall having read a German novel about regular German citizens under Hitler.

The great historian of the Nazis, Ian Kershaw, disl
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Michael
Hans Fallada is the pen name of German writer Rudolf Ditzen. Starting his writing career in the 1920s, Fallada continued to write through the fall of the Weimar Republic, the Great Depression, and the rise of the Nazi Party to its rule of Germany. He stayed in Germany after the Nazis took power and managed to survive the war becoming an author of some note in Soviet-occupied Germany after the war.

Every Man Dies Alone looks at one couple's small act of resistance to the Nazis during the war. At t
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Chrissie
Having read through 185 pages and disliking every minute spent with the book, I am stopping. All of my criticisms remain. Fallada wrote this book in 24 days. It shows. IF SOMEONE WANTS TO READ THIS BOOK - CONTACT ME, MAYBE WE CAN SWAP bOOKS!

P.S. I went back and reread the Kirkus review. I should have read the review more carefully. It is clearly stated that the characters are "archetypal to a fault". I recommend that carefully read Kirkus's review. Here follows a link to that review:
http://sear
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knig
At first, I was like: Not another WWII book. Please. Just no. The horse has been flogged to bloody death, its flesh has been run through the grinder so many time even Asda won’t stock it, what more is there to say, right, and if you want to still say it, go ahead with your own life, leave me alone

But. I somehow paid £4.99 in a moment of insanity and downloaded the bloody thing and now its like: well, I have to read it to get my money’s worth (cause I’m cheap like that). (and inebriated enough.
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Sophie
A really powerful novel set in Berlin during the Third Reich, based on a true story. It's the story of an elderly couple who, after the death of their son, realize the true horror and wrongness of the Nazi regime, and as a consequence they become resistance fighters. Their resistance is a small one; there are no planned assassinations or big events. Rather, they write postcards that detail the wrongs of the regime, in order to make other people realize that what is going on is wrong. They leave ...more
J.

There is good reason to skip the category of books known as Historical Fiction, and sometimes the reason is obvious. The dutiful re-imagining of epic, faraway historical circumstances, conversation intimately exchanged there, often on the dizzying verge of tragedy or sacrifice ... is the stuff of melodrama or daytime tv, not good fiction. The difficult aspect to sustain across the length of a novel is that 're-imagining' part, wherein the author privately has no idea of the world he's busy orche
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kit
A wonderful, absorbing book detailing the small, personal rebellions and resistances against Nazi Germany by a handful of its citizens, at the forefront Otto Quangel and his wife Anna. One of the reasons I enjoyed Alone in Berlin is that Fallada does not attempt to elevate the Quangels' resistance to an importance it does not deserve - while Otto is hopeful that his postcards are having an effect, it is later revealed his efforts have been largely futile. In this way, the novel is largely unforg ...more
Helen
It is not possible to recommend this book highly enough. It is a literary phenomenon, a tour-de-force written in 24 days in 1947 by a man already broken by the regime he was indicting.

After the death in combat of their only son, Otto and Anna Quangel, an ordinary working class couple, begin a surreptitious campaign of rebellion; they drop postcards with provocative messages written on them in the hallways and staircases and corridors of busy buildings. The postcards are almost innocuous in their
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Rachel
When I was a kid, I lived for three years on a military base in Eastern Germany. And for those three years I consumed, indiscriminately, any book on the Holocaust that I could find. I read all day, all night, during recess and well after bedtime. When I ran out of fresh materials at the library, I started over.

I’m not sure why I did this to myself. It was horrible. I still remember the nightmares.

I found myself incapable of separating present-day reality from the books I was reading. The Holoca
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jordan
In our hyperbole drenched culture "important" appears so often in reference to books - in blurbs, reviews, etc - that the word has become just so much noise. Unfortunate, when a book like Fallada's "Every Man Dies Alone" comes along, by every measure deserving of such praise. While a novel, "Every Man" reads more like a memoir, a powerful view of the terror, violence, and paranoia which was the every day experience of those living in the Nazi state. While I've read many works of fiction which ta ...more
David
I must have read dozens of thrillers set in Germany during World War II, but even the best of them (possibly Marshall Browne’s Eye of the Abyss) cannot touch Fallada’s unforgettable novel of life under and in the midst of the third Reich. The death of their son in the conquest of France provokes taciturn factory foreman Otto Quangel and his meek wife Anna into an act of resistance that is no less dangerous for its smallness and ineffectuality. They drop subversive postcards around the city like ...more
booklady
Hans Fallada’s Every Man Dies Alone is the fictionalized account of Otto and Elise Hampel’s unsuccessful localized propaganda effort against the Third Reich during World War II. When the author, Fallada first read about the Hampels’ unspectacular and unsophisticated ‘postcard campaign’ immediately after the war, he was not impressed. Of the 287 hand-written and badly spelled cards, 265 were immediately turned into the Nazi authorities. Compared to (say) von Stauffenberg and his associates’ attem ...more
Ian
I was looking forward to reading this much vaunted novel, written by Hans Fallada just after the Second World War ended, the author having lived in Nazi Germany throughout that era. I assumed that it would be a devastatingly real portrayal of life under Hitler's yoke and at times it did feel like that. However, I just didn't get a sense of realism from far too many of the characters and this detracted immensely from my enjoyment. The main story of the Quangels efforts to revolt in their small, u ...more
Paola
This is a beautiful book painting the lives of common people living through the terrible years of Nazi Germany, written just after the war by somebody who actually lived in lived through those years.

Fallada introduces us to carpenter Otto Quangel and his stay at home wife Anna in the first chapter, and we stay with these main protagonists for the whole book - but all around them many diverse specimens of humanity help paint what it was like. None of these characters is flat or stereotypical: eve
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Nigeyb
Hans Fallada was all but forgotten outside Germany when this 1947 novel, Alone in Berlin (US title: Every Man Dies Alone), was reissued in English in 2009, whereupon it became a best seller and reintroduced Hans Fallada's work to a new generation of readers.

I came to this book having read More Lives Than One: A Biography of Hans Fallada by Jenny Williams, which was the perfect introduction into the literary world of Hans Fallada.

Alone In Berlin really brings alive the day-to-day hell of life und
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Lisa
Alone in Berlin was written under the post-war Soviet Occupation and published posthumously in 1947. In the novel, Otto and Anna Quangel are the fictional counterparts of Elise and Otto Hampel, a working-class couple who mounted an ineffectual act of resistance against the Nazi regime and were caught by the Gestapo and executed. While the catalyst for resistance is slightly different in the novel, the motivation was not:

…it doesn’t matter if there’s a handful of you against many of them. Once yo
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Veeral
Also known as "Every Man Dies Alone".

This is a fictionalized account of the struggle of Elise and Otto Hampel (known in the novel as Anna and Otto Quangel), a poorly educated working-class couple living in Berlin with no history of political activity in their past against the Nazi regime. After Elise’s brother was killed early in the war, the couple commenced a nearly three-year propaganda campaign that baffled—and enraged—the Berlin police, who eventually handed the case over to the Gestapo. Th
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Lorraine
Alone in Berlin is based on the real life events of Otto and Elise Hampel, individual resistance fighters against the Nazi reign. The characters of Otto and Anna are based on Otto and Elise and whilst the story is fictional, many of the elements you find out from the afterword are based on real happenings.

I was struck by how psychological the book was - the fear, paranoia and constant vigilance of everyday German citizens is felt strongly with the introduction and viewpoint of each character. I'
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Rick
Fallada, a Berliner, wrote this shortly after the end of World War II, and built the central plot line based on two real resistors to the Nazis—this by the way is a fine antidote to the over the top revenge fantasy of Tarantino that is just out. The two primary resistors are a married couple whose only son is killed during the conquest of France. It is the event that tips them from a repressed, fearful disapproval of Hitler to an action of resistance in the name of decency. Otto, a factory forem ...more
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Bright Young Things: April 2014 - Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada 66 36 Aug 25, 2014 02:48AM  
A unique view from inside ? What did you feel? 13 114 Jan 11, 2013 09:21AM  
  • Visitation
  • The Oppermanns
  • The German Lesson
  • Transit
  • A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary
  • Defying Hitler
  • Diary of a Man in Despair
  • Comedy in a Minor Key
  • The File : A Personal History
  • Stettin Station (John Russell, #3)
  • Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-41
  • The Post-Office Girl
  • In Times of Fading Light: A Novel
  • Billiards at Half-Past Nine
  • Pavel & I
  • Mephisto
  • Berlin Childhood around 1900
  • Saints and Villains
227026
Hans Fallada, born Rudolf Wilhelm Adolf Ditzen in Greifswald, was one of the most famous German writers of the 20th century. His novel, LITTLE MAN, WHAT NOW? is generally considered his most famous work and is a classic of German literature. Fallada's pseudonym derives from a combination of characters found in the Grimm fairy tales: The protagonist of Lucky Hans and a horse named Falada in The Goo ...more
More about Hans Fallada...
Little Man, What Now? The Drinker Wolf Among Wolves A Short Treatise on the Joys of Morphinism Wer einmal aus dem Blechnapf frißt

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“Not that she's a political animal, she's just an ordinary woman, but as a woman she's of the view that you don't bring children into the world to have them shot.” 46 likes
“As it was, we all acted alone, we were caught alone, and every one of us will have to die alone. But that doesn’t mean that we are alone.” 36 likes
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