Marialyce's Reviews > Every Man Dies Alone

Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada
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's review
Dec 30, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: february-2011

I have to say I was looking forward to reading this book greatly. It was a most enlightening book on what a person(s) can do even up against the huge Nazi regime. It is a story about a couple Otto and Anna Quangel, who after losing their only son in the war, embark on a postcard writing campaign against the Third Reich. There are so many elements of courage defined in this novel as half of Germany seemed to be watching the other half for activies against the Nazis. In many ways the book had shades of 1984 where Big Brother was always watching and waiting for a chance to turn someone in to the Gestapo.

There were a host of characters that passed in and out of the Quangel's life and of course many of them were members of the Nazi party which the Quangel's refused to join. This campaign of postcards and eventually letters were left randomly and the Gestapo were lead on a merry chase trying to finding the perpetrators. They became so frustrated that they changed the man who headed up the case (Escherich) midstream to another who chose to ignore clues (thankfully) to capturing the culprits. There is a monstrous Obergruppenfuhrer Prall, who overseas the activities. The first postcard read "Mother! The Fuhrer has murdered my son. The Fuhrer will murder your sons too, he will not stop till he has brought sorrow to every home in the world"

The story is about courage in a country where "Every man may die alone, but nobody lives alone, or entirely unobserved." Scary, frightening, yet ever so true this story awakens the reader to the fact that individual brave people do have a voice and can make a difference.

The only objection I had was to the writing. This is a long, laborious novel written more like a police report. It was factual and gave little of the author's feelings. Mr Fallada wrote the massive book in twenty-eight days but died before he could edit it and see it published. The book is also translated from German and that might have caused some issues with the reading for me.

So the three stars are given for the writing, but in my heart I would give a million stars to the Quangels or anyone else who tries in their own way to speak out against oppression and villainy.
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Reading Progress

December 30, 2010 – Shelved
February 15, 2011 – Started Reading
February 15, 2011 –
page 53
February 16, 2011 – Shelved as: february-2011
February 17, 2011 –
page 107
February 20, 2011 –
page 168
February 21, 2011 –
page 300
55.25% "very slow going"
February 22, 2011 – Finished Reading

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