Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Antony Beevor, THE FALL OF BERLIN 1945

On page 360 (of 431), Beevor writes, "During heavy shelling, [civilians] made their way underground from cellar to cellar. 'When will this nightmare end?' German women asked her." I was asking the same thing. The book is very well written (and seems scrupulously researched) but I apparently like my history leavened with a bit of fiction (or my medicine taken with jam?) and a character or two that I can like, or at least care about. Jeff Shaara's books make me turn pages compulsively ... FALL OF BERLIN felt like one long shelling (throw in raping and pillaging, too, for good measure) after another, and the anecdotes that brought it to life for me were few and far between. I couldn't keep track of the fifty different armies, and after a while I realized I didn't care. They were too much alike. It's horrifying, the whole thing--the viciousness, the violence toward civilians, the vengefulness, the lies, the reshaping of history to suit different agendas, the posturing. It's a good book if you're interested in the topic--but it is not, shall we say, a summer hammock read. (I know, I know. What was I thinking?)

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