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Wolf Among Wolves

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  318 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
This sweeping saga of love in dangerous times – the 1923 collapse of the German economy, when food and money shortages led to rioting in the streets and unemployed soldiers marauding through the countryside—is deemed by many to be Hans Fallada’s greatest work. Yet its 1938 publication made his publisher so fearful of Nazi retribution that he told Fallada, “If this book des ...more
Paperback, 816 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Melville House (first published 1937)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,109)
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Jun 13, 2014 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ll
OMG, I never reviewed this book? Bad Helen!

This was an incredibly important read for me. It's a story of life in Germany running up to World War 2, told by a master of realism.

It's shortly after World War 1. Money is worthless, being devalued by the hour; there are tales of men pushing a wheelbarrow full of money to the store to buy a loaf of bread. Whatever sum you agreed to work for at the beginning of the day won't buy you a quart of milk by the end of the day.

Wolf, one of the lucky young v
Jane Schoelkopf
Jun 05, 2009 Jane Schoelkopf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most amazing book ever. It vividly portrays unstable aura of the Weimar republic and the excesses of 1930s Berlin, but is above all a gripping story, about Wolf's fall from grace and decline into gambling addiction, and how he sets out to win back his girlfriend, who is pregnant unknown to him. Hard to describe the epic nature of this book - only to say it reminds me of the convoluted intrigue of a Dickens novel, with all the twists and turns, vivd detail and a rip-roaring story. Let ...more
Jun 20, 2010 Tim rated it liked it
Shelves: foreign-lit, fiction
In his Philosophical Dictionary, Voltaire distinguished between history and fable. The former, he said, is "the recital of facts represented as true" whereas fable is "the recital of facts of facts represented as fiction." In terms of historiography, that is a fair distinction. In terms of grasping history, though, fiction may be as effective as a history book.

The recent revival of German novelist Hans Fallada's works is a case in point. Last year, his novel about personal integrity and resistan
Cooper Renner
Mar 31, 2013 Cooper Renner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Second Reading: This is both panoramic and tightly focused. The book is, to me, slow to get started as Fallada introduces us to the lives of the large cast of characters. But his look at the characters individually is quite focused and sharp. Unlike many history books, which feel too distanced, this novel thrusts the reader right into the economic despair of 1923 Germany, with absurdly runaway inflation and a nation on the skids. Fallada's characters are distinct and individual, humanly full of ...more
John Gaynard
Nov 13, 2011 John Gaynard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Germany 1923: with exponential deflation, ever-rising poverty in the cities, and the French occupation of the Ruhr in the background, Fallada follows the fortunes of three ex-soldiers who had fought together in WWI but who now, like most of their countrymen, are struggling to make sense of the present state of chaos.

The soldiers move from hunger-, drink-, cocaine-, prostitution- and gambling-stricken Berlin to what they imagine will be a better life in the countryside, however their hopes are di
Jun 27, 2012 Courtney rated it it was amazing
I must first point out that this is the first book by Fallada I've read. I haven't read the currently popular Every Man Dies Alone, but I plan to in the near future. This is probably one of the longest books I've ever read and like other long books (Marjorie Morningstar, Forever Amber) this book tend to wander a lot. The central story revolves around Wolfgang "Wolf" Pagel ( I kept asking myself if Fallada intentionally incorporated the protagonist's nickname into the title).
Pagel starts the book
Sep 08, 2011 Rashmi rated it it was amazing
I am a slow reader; I read this 800-page novel in ten days. It is gripping, suspenseful, powerful, painful, bleak, brutal. Fallada describes how runaway hyperinflation caused the financial and moral collapse of post-WWI German society and demonstrates how differently people can react to extreme deprivation and hardship. He writes with both touching empathy and unsentimental clarity. I agree with the critics who hail this as Fallada's masterpiece.
Ralph Britton
Jan 16, 2016 Ralph Britton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is an ambitious and brilliant novel set in Germany of the Weimar Republic. Wolf, a young veteran of the aftermath of World War One, is trying to find a role for himself first in Berlin, then in rural Germany working on an agricultural estate. Despite his name he is no predator, but he finds himself surrounded by people who are rapacious and dishonest. The early chapters in Berlin could be illustrated by the paintings of George Grosz and Otto Dix. Wolf, a compulsive gambler looking for the u ...more
I knew very little of conditions in Germany after the armistice and it was great from historical side of things. The narrative was a bit like a soap opera but there were many passages of interesting observations of social strata and life choices.
Jan 03, 2011 Walton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book I read in 2010 - incredible narrative power, detailed character development and a comprehensive evocation of the ethical dilemmas facing people in Weimar Germany.
Charles Vella
Jun 01, 2014 Charles Vella rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book about Germany after the first world war. Some of the characters even seem to live happily ever after, which doesn't often happen with books set in that time and place. It is a huge book, and occasionally you wonder whether Fallada's forgotten about one of his characters because some of them disappear for so long, but they all show back up in the end. The German hyperinflation is almost a character in the story as everyone tries to manage in an economy where paper money essenti ...more
This lengthy novel was Fallada’s magnum opus, published during the Nazi era, 1937. Having read all of his major works, I can list my ratings as follows. Individual critiques have been posted for each title.

“Little Man, What Now?” 4 stars. The futility of the hand-to-mouth existence of a white-collar worker and his wife in early 1930s Germany.
“The Drinker” 4 stars. An intense account of a successful, happily married businessman’s downward spiral into alcohol addiction, drunken altercations, infid
Jul 26, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In grand scale and intricate detail, Fallada’s epic of post-WWI, hyper-inflation 1923 Germany depicts how people from all walks of life struggle during trying times. The cast of characters is vast, containing landed gentry, house maids, farm hands, city slickers, wayward women, bitter relatives, scorned lovers, naïve optimists, and everything else possible. Fallada’s focus on the day-to-day events and problems of average citizens is quintessential “New Realism” of the early twentieth century, so ...more
Mar 29, 2015 Lester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Warning: this is an extremely depressing book! Hans Fallada has created an epic about the times just before the second world war, and builds up a mosaic of stories which depict life in Berlin at the same time as life in the countryside. The characters range from noblemen and the army down to the base life of prostitutes, prisoners, maids and those who scrape the bottom of the barrel just to get a bit of bread to eat. The book is narrated through the eyes of number of these characters, and spans ...more
Jan 18, 2016 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wolf Among Wolves is the fourth novel that I have read by Hans Fallada. It was his sixth book, published in 1938 just before the outbreak of World War II. It follows on from Fallada’s attempts to deflect unwelcome attention from the Nazis by writing children’s stories and other non-political material, and because it is a critique of the chaotic Weimar Republic, Goebbels was very pleased with it. Unfortunately for Fallada, far from deflecting Nazi attention, the success of this brilliant novel en ...more
Adam  McPhee
Corruption and weakness in the German countryside.

The book treads lightly around political topics, unsurprising given that Fallada wrote it 1937 when the Nazis were in charge. The novel is set in 1923, during the Weimar Republic's period of rampant inflation, a sort of safe topic given that it was a period no one in Germany recalled fondly.

The novel is huge. Any one of the seemingly dozens of supporting characters could be the protagonist of their own novella. My favourites: Rittmeister Herr von
Jul 21, 2013 Knautiyal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like most, I came to this book through "Every Man Dies Alone", which I read earlier this year and very much enjoyed.

Though the novel is set in the Germany of the Weimar Republic, a period of history much more obscure to most Americans than the Nazi era of "Every Man Dies Alone", it deals with the same central question - how does one maintain their human dignity in a time of moral turmoil?

The action follows a large cast of characters through a few months of 1923, a year in which the Reichsmark r
3.5 more likely. This is the third Fallada novel I've read, and for me it is not as good as Alone in Berlin or Iron Hans. I did still enjoy it and would recommend it. The difference for me was that the protagonist, Wolfgang, in the end didn't interest me as much as some of the other main characters, who dropped out of the narrative at various points. The last 100 pages did have real spark to them, though, as the various strands of the story came together.
Mattia Pascal
Feb 01, 2016 Mattia Pascal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1920'lerin sonrasındaki -2. Dünya Savaşı'nın öncesi- Almanya'nın anlatıldığı, tekinsizliğin olduğu gibi anlatıldığı bi' roman. Sayfa sayısı kesinlikle ürkütmemeli, klasik tarihi roman hacminin biraz üzerinde olduğu kesin fakat tarihi romanların, kurgudan ziyade insanlık tarihini etkileyen boktan savaşların çok fazla olmasından dolayı kantarda ağır bastıkları da bir gerçek.

Birinci Dünya Savaşı'nın hemen ertesinde Almanya'da günden güne büyüyen belirsizlik, orta sınıfın yok oluşu, sadece zenginli
Apr 04, 2014 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
I don't think I could ever write anything about this epic novel that would do it justice, amazing, profound. The writing is journalistic and matter of fact in style with few breaks for proselytizing, which makes Fallada's revelations about his characters that much more illuminating. A great eye for human nature, human flaws and human triumphs. It's not surprising that Fallada never fell victim to Nazi propaganda, although he suffered for his dissent.

A pure writer, a necessary book. In my opinio
I've read 420 pages and with some 300 plus to go, I'm pulling the plug. Fallada is a great writer but the multiplicity of ever increasing characters dealt with in rotation, some interconnected with others and some not was just too much. I didn't see where it was going. This novel is set in 1923 Germany and it's easy to see how the underlying money problems of this society are creating uprootedness but I think I'd just rather read a history of it. So often reading fiction I find myself wondering ...more
Steven May
Jan 25, 2015 Steven May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book tells about life in Germany after WW1 both in the urban and rural setting. The people are multigenerational which brings in different perspective. Everyone is flawed and fails at something in the story, but Wolf growers from the struggle.
I struggled with this book a bit at first, especially with so many characters to keep track of. I eventually got into it a bit, but with mixed feelings. I was interested enough to finish the book, but I'm not sure I enjoyed the whole experience. The many typos and poorly edited translations in this edition didn't help either. Just ok.
can't say I love it, but didn't hate it either, took along time to read, sometimes difficult due to wording and language and switching almong characters. But just felt enough interest to finish. Interesting view and information about the average person trying to survive in the chaotic economy after WWI
Josh Trapani
Apr 02, 2012 Josh Trapani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
This saga of hyper-inflationary 1920s Germany is a major undertaking for the reader, but a worthy one to understand the people and the time. It's not the place to start with Fallada - go with "Every Man Dies Alone" - but for the fan, it is a must and will not disappoint.
Mar 30, 2011 Janet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hard core literary readers
As much as I wanted to learn more about Germany and Hitler, I just coudn't get through this book. I'm feeling quite UNintellectual...especially since I'm thoroughly enjoying the book I picked up after this one. I Love You, Nice To Meet You is much more my style these days...
Lewis Weinstein
Published in 1938 ... depicts the catastrophe in Germany caused by hyper-inflation by showing its impact on several interesting characters. I plan to have my major German character (in the novel I'm writing) read this book and reflect on his own experiences in 1923.
James Coon
Aug 12, 2013 James Coon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This excellent saga takes places during the period of hyperinflation in Germany, mostly in 1923. Do not be put off by the book's length of nearly 800 pages. It goes very quickly and maintains the reader's interest throughout.
Karlo Mikhail
Mar 15, 2013 Karlo Mikhail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
felt the conclusion did not give justice to the entire novel. still a masterpiece in terms of depicting the lives of ordinary people during times of economic crisis and political unrest
Jane Rocks
Aug 04, 2012 Jane Rocks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The adventures of a young man in Germany during the hyper inflationary times between the 2 world wars. It took me a while to get into this story but it was well worth reading.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 36 37 next »
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  • Lotte in Weimar: The Beloved Returns
  • Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider
  • A Legacy
  • The Weimar Republic: The Crisis of Classical Modernity
  • The Butcher's Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town
  • Professor Unrat
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...

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