Every Man Dies Alone

Every Man Dies Alone

by Hans Fallada, Michael Hofmann
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Overview

Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada

Based on a true story, this never-before-translated masterpiece was overlooked for years after its author—a bestselling writer before World War II who found himself in a Nazi insane asylum at war’s end—died just before it was published.

In a richly detailed portrait of life in Berlin under the Nazis, it 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 Third Reich, Otto and Anna Quangel 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, Every Man Dies Alone is 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 edition includes an afterword detailing the gripping history of the book and its author, including excerpts from the Gestapo file on the real-life couple that inspired it.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935554059
Publisher: Melville House Publishing
Publication date: 09/08/2009
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 91,449
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

About the Author
Hans Fallada
was the pseudonym of Rudolph Ditzen, who was born in 1893 in Berlin, the son of a superior court judge. Prior to WWII, his novels were international bestsellers. But when Jewish producers in Hollywood made his 1932 novel, Little Man, What Now? into a major motion picture, the rising Nazis began to take note of him. His struggles increased after he refused to join the Party and was denounced by neighbors for “anti-Nazi” sympathies. Unlike many other prominent artists, however, Fallada decided not to flee Germany. By the end of World War II he’d suffered an alcohol-fueled nervous breakdown and was in a Nazi insane asylum, where he nonetheless managed to write—in code—the brilliant subversive novel, The Drinker. After the war, Fallada went on to write Every Man Dies Alone, based on an actual Gestapo file, but he died in 1947 of a morphine overdose, just before it was published.

About the Translator
Michael Hofmann is the translator of many of the twentieth century's leading authors in German, including Franz Kafka, Joseph Roth, and Thomas Bernhard, and is the winner of the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize.

Geoff Wilkes (Afterword) is a Lecturer in German Studies at the University of Queensland and perhaps the world's foremost English-speaking expert on Hans Fallada. He is the author of Hans Fallada's Crisis Novels 1931-1947.

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Every Man Dies Alone 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 81 reviews.
ADogInBrooklyn More than 1 year ago
I was prompted to buy this book after reading a very provoking review by the NY Times. I am not disappointed in the least - I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE. Though this book is not a difficult read at all, it is spectacular on so many levels. First of all, the storyline is so original and refreshing. It's a story based on 2 real life people - an elderly German couple staging their own revolt against the Hitler occupation in the little way they can. The characters, from the silent Otto to the valiant Anna, the complex inspector, even to the losers like Borkhausen and Kluge, they are SO developed. The plot was so believable, and other than a good read it's an enlightening picture of the German civil society that hid behind the militant Germany of its time. The ultimate message isn't patronizing, but very real, and it will keep your brain humming long after you've read the last page. I recommend this to all.
Ronrose More than 1 year ago
This is an extraordinary book. I suppose you would classify it as historical fiction. The story is loosely based on a true occurrence in Nazi controlled Berlin during World War II. A middle aged couple, the Quangels, learn of the death of their only son in the war. The usually staid husband, Otto, is so full of grief and anger at the government for taking his son from him, that he hatches a plan, with the at first, reluctant help of his wife, Anna, to speak out against the Nazis. They decide to express their grievances on postcards and drop them in high traffic areas of the city so no one will be able to connect them with the subversive notes. This may sound like a very innocuous way to protest their feelings, but in Berlin at this time to partake in such seditious writing was punishable by death. The story flows nicely, being neither preachy nor pedantic. The lives of the Quangels hang for over a year on the words they laboriously print on their postcards. Each knows the other is in constant danger as long as a card is in their possession. Yet each is willing to give their life as the mere act of defiance has brought them a closeness and bond that has not been present before. Hans Fallada, the author, nicely balances the lives of this couple with many other elements of German society at the time. Petty crooks an criminals are contrasted with the Nazi faithful. Seemingly innocent people, who are just trying to live their lives in peace are contrasted with the vultures of society who prey on the weak and unprepared. A very moving story which can be enjoyed on many levels.
casa42 More than 1 year ago
I've read many historical works dealing with the Third Reich. None the less this novel, based on real events, brings home the underlying brutality of this regime to its own citizens more forcefully than any work of pure history that I've read. The sheer pleasure in dispensing pain and suffering characteristic of the minions of this state is convincingly demonstrated as the events of this tale unfold. The resistance of this very common couple is both banal and heroic at the same time. Perhaps that is what gives this work a convincing patina of realism. I highly recommend this novel.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
This is a book which I happened upon by chance, and I feel grateful that fate allowed me the honor of reading it. Hans Fallada captures the hopelessness of Nazi Berlin, bringing us into the lives of everyday people caught up in something too big for any one individual. Fear rules everyday life as the privileged lord it over the rank and file, and Fallada takes us into the darkest hearts of modern man. Some keep trying to hold onto some slight remainder of their soul in a battle that can't be won, and it is these stories that grip the reader and force a look into one's own soul.
CoopCR More than 1 year ago
This is a superb novel of "resistance," in this case a middle-aged couple's resistance to Nazism after their son dies in the German army. Though the resolution is arguably depressing--their battle can't help but lose--the novel is not pessimistic, but spun through with their determination to do what seems best to them. First rate.
teacher47 More than 1 year ago
This is an extraordinary book loosely based on a true story. It takes place in Berlin during the Nazi reign. If this time in history interests you, then this is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good read.
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