The End by Ian Kershaw

The End

By Ian Kershaw

  • Release Date: 2011-08-25
  • Genre: Europe
Score: 4
4
From 22 Ratings
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Description

SUNDAY TIMES, TLS, SPECTATOR, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, DAILY MAIL and SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY BOOKS OF THE YEAR

The last months of the Second World War were a nightmarish time to be alive. Unimaginable levels of violence destroyed entire cities. Millions died or were dispossessed. By all kinds of criteria it was the end: the end of the Third Reich and its terrible empire but also, increasingly, it seemed to be the end of European civilization itself.

In his gripping, revelatory new book Ian Kershaw describes these final months, from the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in July 1944 to the German surrender in May 1945. The major question that Kershaw attempts to answer is: what made Germany keep on fighting? In almost every major war there has come a point where defeat has loomed for one side and its rulers have cut a deal with the victors, if only in an attempt to save their own skins. In Hitler's Germany, nothing of this kind happened: in the end the regime had to be stamped out town by town with a level of brutality almost without precedent.

Both a highly original piece of research and a gripping narrative, The End makes vivid an era which still deeply scars Europe. It raises the most profound questions about the nature of the Second World War, about the Third Reich and about how ordinary people behave in extreme circumstances.

Ian Kershaw is the author of Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris; Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis; Making Friends with Hitler; and Fateful Choices: Ten Decisions that Changed the World, 1940-4. Hitler 1936-1945: Nemesis received the Wolfson History Prize and the Bruno Kreisky Prize in Austria for Political Book of the Year, and was joint winner of the inaugural British Academy Book Prize. Until his retirement in 2008, Ian Kershaw was Professor of Modern History at the University of Sheffield. For services to history he was given the German award of the Federal Cross of Merit in 1994. He was knighted in 2002 and awarded the Norton Medlicott Medal by the Historical Association in 2004. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, and was the winner of the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding 2012.

Reviews

  • Captivating

    5
    By Bluenose Jay
    Having read and loved Kershaw's opus Hitler I bought this without knowing exactly the subject matter. Having read many books dedicated to WW2, the Third Reich and the Eastern Front I was delighted to see it touch a subject matter which has been relatively overlooked. Easy to read, tough to put down, Ian Kershaw is definitely my favourite n-f author right now
  • The End - interesting but...

    2
    By Titus Oates
    There is much detail that fascinates and makes one wonder at the structures and attitudes in the Third Reich. As with any work of this sort there is a tendency to put yourself in the place of each character or group and puzzle: would one react differently? It would be good to have more comparisons with Italy. I also couldn't help wanting a similar analysis of the fall of France, although I realise comparisons would be difficult. However this book is still rich enough in detail and observation from all strata of the Reich to leave one pondering on it for a long time to come. Why the two stars then? Mainly down to the tortured use of English that necessitates the reading of many sentences several times to make sense of them. In everything, bar the Conclusion, it is as if written by someone who's first language is not English. It is not just unwieldy construct, there are unusual, if not incorrect, usage of words, "down" being a particular example. The Conclusion is like the final downhill straight after several miles of tortuous slalom. A good book but far too much effort to read.

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