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WWII #2

The End of War: A Novel of the Race for Berlin

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Berlin, January 1945.

The war draws to a close, but the fight for a vanquished city -- and for history -- is just beginning.

In the final months of the war in Europe, the last act of a five-year conflagration is about to be played out. As Allied generals surround the mortally wounded Nazi military machine, strategies are being formed on a greater scale than even generals can imagine.

While Churchill fumes helplessly, Roosevelt makes crucial decisions that will cede Berlin to Stalin and the Russians. The stakes are no less critical for ordinary men and women, fighting to live another day....

From the chaos of the eastern front, to the desperation of a single Jewish man hidden in a Berlin basement, to the burning ambition of an American photojournalist, Robbins animates the giants who shaped history and breathes life into the heartbreaking struggles of those who merely lived it.

528 pages, Paperback

First published July 24, 2000

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About the author

David L. Robbins

27 books129 followers
David L. Robbins was born in Richmond, Virginia, on March 10, 1954. He grew up in Sandston, a small town east of Richmond out by the airport; his father was among the first to sit behind the new radar scope in the air traffic control tower. Both his parents, Sam and Carol, were veterans of WWII. Sam saw action in the Pacific, especially at Pearl Harbor.

In 1976, David graduated with a B.A. in Theater and Speech from the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Having little actual theatrical talent, he didn't know what to do for a living. David decided to attend what he calls the “great catch-basin of unfocused over-achievers”: law school. He received his Juris Doctorate at William and Mary in 1980, then practiced environmental law in Columbia, S.C. for precisely a year (his father demanded back the money for law school if David practiced for less than one year – he quit two weeks before the anniversary but got Sam to agree that the two weeks' vacation David had accumulated could be included). David decided to attend Psychology school, having an affinity for people's stories and a fascination with woe. However, while waiting for admisison in 1981, he began a successful freelance writing career. He began writing fiction in 1997, and has since published twelve novels. He's currently working on the thirteenth, the third in his U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen series, as well as several scripts for the stage and screen. He has won awards for his essays and screenplays, and has had three stage plays produced.

David is an accomplished guitarist, studying the works of James Taylor and Latin classical. At six feet six inches tall, he stays active with his sailboat, shooting sporting clays, weightlifting, traveling to research his novels. He is the founder of the James River Writers (Jamesriverwriters.org) a non-profit group in his hometown of Richmond that helps aspiring writers and students work and learn together as a writing community. He also co-founded The Podium Foundation (thepodiumfoundation.org), a non-profit which brings writing and critical reasoning programs to the students of Richmond’s city high schools, as well as support programs for city educators. He also teaches advanced creative writing as a visiting professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's Honors College. David resides in Richmond, near the James River.

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5 stars
145 (32%)
4 stars
179 (39%)
3 stars
103 (22%)
2 stars
14 (3%)
1 star
7 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Vijai.
207 reviews56 followers
December 6, 2012
One of the most enjoyable reads in the recent times. The author does right to the wrongs the German people in the annuls of history were put through for what was the fault of Hitler and his henchmen. That and how he shows that the so called Titans of war were just petty men at the breakfast table.

There is this scene where (one of) the female protagonists in the story realizes the price her mother was paying to bring home black market food for dinner every day that had me put the book down for several days and resort to reading P.G Wodehouse to recuperate; Also, there is another scene where they (the mother and daughter duo) are visited by the male protagonist and misunderstand him to be one of the many Russian soldiers who visited them after the invasion and did some terrible things. I am not the emotional type but I have to say I felt my heart pinched many a times as I read the book.

In the end, the message was clear, there are no heroes in a war.
Profile Image for MG.
31 reviews1 follower
June 26, 2010
This book is a fictional account of the last days of WWII.

You see the war through the eyes of a magazine photographer, two German women struggling to survive in a doomed Berlin, and two Soviet Soldiers assigned to a penal regiment.

You also see the war though the eyes of Chrchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt.

Sometimes, you can get a birds eye view of a subject. Sometimes, you can get aa ant's view.

This book does an excellent job of giving you both.
Author 3 books4 followers
October 11, 2009
I actually heard this as an Audiobook after a friend recommended it. By the way ... the reader here was fantastic! His name escapes me, but if you find this audiobook in your library, check it out!

An awesome piece of WWII fiction that takes place in the final months of the war in Europe. Loved it.


Profile Image for David.
43 reviews5 followers
June 9, 2008
This was a great book. Robbins writing is a delight and the time he puts into research is clearly evident in the plot details. The End of War is basically a Greek Tragedy set in WWII, with the "Gods" -- Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin -- meddling into the lives of "mortals" by playing geopolitics as their armies race to take Berlin. I can't succinctly put into words the plot or the sophistication of Robbin's writing. Just trust me that this is a great read, with an amazing message.
Profile Image for Ty.
58 reviews3 followers
September 22, 2008
Okay, here's the thing. This book is a tough read because of all the different stories going on. However, there is a mastery of subject here rarely matched and in the end you are more than glad you read it through. The stories are moving and informative and the writing is terrific. It's been years since I read this book and I think of it often.

It gets 3 stars for the read and the fourth star for the moving stories. It gets the final fifth star for affecting my life.
Profile Image for Jbsfaculty.
766 reviews2 followers
July 23, 2010
I loved this book. This fictionalized accouint of the fall of Berlin looks at the months from the combined perspectives of a German female cello player whose mother is hiding a Jew, of two russian soldiers, of an American Life photographer, as well as Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt.
Profile Image for Will.
29 reviews1 follower
June 2, 2015
Interesting read although the writing was weak. Graphic depiction of the destruction of Berlin at the end of the war. Shows what appears as the skill of the Russians and naiveté of Americans such as Roosevelt and Eisenhower in grabbing position as the war winds down.
111 reviews1 follower
March 9, 2016
Really great historical fiction. You can hear Churchill disucssing the war with Anthony Eden. And the rivalry between Churchill and Roosevelt. ANd how Stalin tricked them both.

Great read. Makes the political figures come alive.
49 reviews
November 5, 2012
It was like looking through a prism at a time in history which I thankfully didn't have to experience first hand.
6 reviews
April 29, 2012
I just couldn't get into this book. Right from the start I found it dry and uninteresting.
4 reviews
February 27, 2018
This was an ok book, it wasn't boring but it also wasn't like "I neeeeeed to keep reading." But what i felt like was keeping this book back was the switching, it's trying to tell 5 stories at once, the stories are of diff people throughout the war like the first one which is about a man called Charley and how the war affected him. Then there's another of a German woman who is a cellist and how the war is affecting her, this is for all of the 5 stories told in the book and it can get quite confusing when you transition from a story being told 4 chapters back and then continue after the other stories. All in all the stories were good they had lots of action when they are in war and get pretty intense. But thats about the only major major downfall. I've never read a book that tells 5 completely different stories at the same time in one book that aren't like kid horror stories.
Profile Image for P.
276 reviews
October 29, 2021
An excellent work of World War II historical fiction. Robbins narrates January through May 1945 (the months leading up to V-E day) through the eyes of 1) a LIFE Magazine photographer embedded with U.S. troops; 2) a mother and daughter trying to survive in Charlottenburg, Berlin; 3) two Soviet infantry officers on the Eastern Front; and 4) Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin in various locations. The author’s extensive research on the subject is evident and the writing is compelling. In the end, we are reminded once again that, despite honorable heroes, war is hell—and World War II was a particularly bad one for all involved. I applaud Robbins for the limited profanity (in a war novel) and lack of graphic and disgusting details of violence.
Profile Image for Peter.
781 reviews5 followers
January 27, 2018
Based on the race for Berlin in 1945 with four parallel stories, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt, and more successfully and naturally an American photographer determined to be the first to Berlin, a female cellist in Berlin and two Russians in a penal battalion. Moving, fast-paced and with fine characterisation this is an exceptionally convincing and believable account of the last four months of the War.
Profile Image for Bill.
330 reviews6 followers
December 3, 2017
This was a very interesting approach to depicting the climax of the war in Europe. Robbins' treatment of the FDR-Churchill-Stalin was particularly intriguing, providing me with an insight into their dynamic that I hadn't really thought about before. I would recommend this novel to anyone interested in WW II and its aftermath.
9 reviews1 follower
December 17, 2019
Horrifyingly real glimpses of German, Russian, and American people whose lives are ruined by the war. Impossible to grasp 80 million deaths, 200 million wounded and hundreds of millions of people with devastated lives. Horrifying.
Perhaps someday a similar book will present the Japanese theater of war.
Profile Image for Pete.
656 reviews10 followers
February 6, 2018
This is an excellent follow up to Robbin's 'War of the Rats' novel. The writing is very strong with excellent characterizations. The story deals with the final months of Hitler's Reich and the race to capture Berlin. The author presents this from four different perspectives and each is memorable.
Profile Image for David Linzee.
Author 11 books4 followers
February 2, 2022
Exhaustively researched and well written. Robbins has fictional characters with the two armies racing toward Berlin, the Allies and the Russians. He boldly ventures into the minds of FDR and Stalin, so it's surprising he doesn't do the same for Hitler, the author of all this woe.
36 reviews
October 25, 2017
Not a great historical exploration. Characters weakly drawn. But quite a page turner.
Profile Image for Jon-Paul Bibeau.
5 reviews1 follower
March 19, 2018
Amazing book the encompasses the end of World War 2.
Tremendous stories about those that lived thru the final days of the war. Both sides are represented. One of the best fictional accounts.
Profile Image for Simeon.
191 reviews
August 6, 2017
A/un - Poetic - 4.7/5 12/23/2008 Finished - "The End of War" - David Robbins - Excellent story on advance and capture of Berlin - 5/5 good research and character development and lyrical writing - Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, US war photographer, mother and daughter in Berlin, two Russian soldiers- also interesting interview at the end with author - theory of writing is to put characters in situation and let them evolve vice recollective theory of just writing what happens to him
Profile Image for ⚔️Kelanth⚔️.
1,038 reviews154 followers
January 29, 2016
La fine della guerra è un libro di David L. Robbins, in originale "The end of war" del 2000. Fa parte del filone storico "World War II novels", gli altri titoli di questo filone sono: "Fortezza Stalingrado", "Operazione cittadella" e "La strada della libertà".

La trama è presto scritta: siamo all'inizio del 1945 e l'esito della guerra appare ormai deciso; Berlino è ormai circondata, da una parte le forze alleate con in testa gli americani e dall'altra l'armata rossa sovietica, ma oltre alla sconfitta di Hitler, l'importante è ormai capire chi arriverà per primo a issare la propria bandiera sulla capitale del Terzo Reich. Ma la gente comune che abita la capitale tedesca ormai distrutta e in ginocchio, lotta solo per la propria sopravvivenza, ed è qui che si muovono i personaggi creati dall'autore: Lottie, giovane violoncellista berlinese decide di rimanere fino all'ultimo in città rifugiandosi nella musica; sua madre Freya nasconde un ebreo in cantina; Charles, reporter e fotografo, segue le truppe americane nella loro avanzata in Germania, deciso a testimoniare gli orrori di cui è testimone anche a costo della propria vita.

Personalmente mi piace molto questo autore, e aggiungendo che sono sempre stato affascinato e incuriosito dalla storia della seconda guerra mondiale, non posso che dare un giudizio più che positivo a questo romanzo, anche se "Fortezza Stalingrado" rimane per me l'apice di scrittura raggiunta da Robbins.

L'autore fa sempre delle ottime operazioni: ricostruisce in dettaglio un momento della seconda guerra mondiale, descrivendolo attraverso gli occhi di protagonisti fittizi . In pratica romanza la storia attraverso gli occhi dei protagonisti che la vedono dal basso. E' molto interessante la lettura, vista da vari fronti, con stacchi continui dall'uno all'altra; soldati russi che vivono le feroci battaglie in terra tedesca, fino alla conquista di Berlino, il fotografo Usa che documenta l'avanzata degli alleati e raggiunge Brandeburgo, alle porte di Berlino, le donne tedesche, che vivono l'ulteriore follia dell'occupazione, in particolare lo stupro di massa.

Io l'ho trovato un romanzo epico che fa luce su un pezzo di storia che difficilmente viene riportato alla luce, soprattutto tra i banchi di scuola. Se siete appassionati di storia della seconda guerra mondiale e volete vedere in maniera romanzata qualche spaccato di questa tragedia immane, vi consiglio di leggere tutti i romanzi di Robbins.
Profile Image for Shubham.
2 reviews
September 26, 2014
Berlin, 1945.The war advances to a exit.the work half done is more worse than nothing. The defeat of the Nazis is just the beginning for this 'RACE'- race to control the monopoly of the defeated city, race to mark a sign in the world history of 20th century, RACE TO PROPAGATE THE INFLUENCE OF ONE'S OWN IDEOLOGY AND TRADE IN THE SUCCESSIVE YEARS OF THE WORLD WAR. .Berliners living in abysmal condition rolled as a football between the Nazis and the allied forces. NAZI'S volunteer organisation also conscripting them in their forces. lives of one jew,two Berliners- mother and her sister,paves the way to a very heart-touching,informative story. The trio world power(Stalin,Roosevelt and Churchill) were playing their cards on the board of Berlin. dying for burning news to expose the situation of army men and ordinary men on the battle-ground,an american journalist caught up in mess.Wife of the journalist stayed back in america kept looking on the way he would come. This all gives a melange of politics,history,emotions and, in particular, the nature of human beings who always butchers innocent people.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
31 reviews14 followers
August 30, 2010
Gives great personal context to the events of the end of World War II. I enjoyed learning more about a few of the real people that participated. Gives a good feel of the emotions and opinions of several sides. I'm sure it will be more interesting for people that know a lot about World War II; I don't know enough of the history and got lost from time to time because the author doesn't often step back and give the larger context for the detailed stories. It's a little slow and I found it hard to get into and ended up not finishing.
Profile Image for amanda.
200 reviews1 follower
March 16, 2012
this was not bad and i love books about world war II.
71 reviews
August 13, 2012
Engrossing story of the final days of WWII in Europe. Told masterfully from different point of view. Five stars - -
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews

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