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The Last Battle Audiobook, by Cornelius Ryan Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Cornelius Ryan Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2012 ISBN: 9781483072845
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,388 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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The classic account of the final offensive against Hitler's Third Reich

The Battle for Berlin was the culminating struggle of World War II in the European theater. The last offensive against Hitler's Third Reich, it devastated one of Europe's historic capitals and marked the final defeat of Nazi Germany. It was also one of the war's bloodiest and most pivotal battles, whose outcome would shape international politics for decades to come.

The Last Battle is Cornelius Ryan's compelling account of this final battle, a story of brutal extremes, of stunning military triumph alongside the stark conditions that the civilians of Berlin experienced in the face of the Allied assault. As always, Ryan delves beneath the military and political forces that were dictating events to explore the more immediate imperatives of survival, where, as the author describes it, "to eat had become more important than to love, to burrow more dignified than to fight, to endure more militarily correct than to win."

The Last Battle is the story of ordinary people, both soldiers and civilians, caught up in the despair, frustration, and terror of defeat. It is history at its best, a masterful illumination of the effects of war on the lives of individuals, and one of the enduring works on World War II.



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Quotes & Awards

  • “A rare accomplishment…Will be of interest to generations to come.”

    James A. Michener, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 2/14/2014

    " Ryan was able to interview the key players; something today's authors cannot. Very nice read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steve | 2/9/2014

    " Pretty OK Book about the battle of Berlin. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bazbal666 | 1/22/2014

    " I loved this book, I could have read 300 more pages. Great lines like "as she took shelter from the air raid in the basement of her Kreuzberg apartment" or "then the russians tanks were at Unter den Linden". The Generals and troop movements were easy to understand and a ton of the book was devoted to the civilian population that had to endure the chaos. Entertaining to read about how all the politics of high command operated back in that era - Eisenhower would send "cables" to communicate with the other generals and the politicians in DC. They were time consuming to draft and send, so it appears that the total work output for a man that's running a whole world war while working non-stop, drinking gallons of coffee and smoking 60 cigarettes a day totaled to about 8 emails a day. Definitely different times... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diana | 1/18/2014

    " Interesting book about the fall of Berlin at the end of World War II. Lots of stuff I had never heard. Read by the inimitable Simon Vance. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tony | 1/6/2014

    " I read this years ago, but as it was written prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union it may be a bit dated now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cade | 1/5/2014

    " Another amazing WWII book by the late Mr. Ryan. He does a masterful job of interweaving the lives the civilians in Berlin, the Nazis, and Allied forces. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 12/28/2013

    " To me, the lesser of the three Ryan books, but still an excellent history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ray | 12/28/2013

    " the politics behind the fall of berlin, why we let the commies get there ahead of us, despite Patton's impatience. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Crow | 12/15/2013

    " Great mix of a narrative and history, Cornelius Ryan was one of the best military history authors I've ever read even if it did take me a while to finish reading it. I'd suggest it to anyone wishing to learn about the Battle of Berlin especially the politics and stratagems leading up to it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 John | 12/15/2013

    " I would not recommend this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mark | 12/2/2013

    " Enjoyed this immensely. Ryan once again threads incidents into a very readable tale about the race to Berlin between the Allies. I wish history was this interesting when taught in school! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 11/25/2013

    " Enjoyed this one. More about the people involved and the reasons behind why the race for Berlin turned out the way it did than the tactical aspects of the battle itself. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 11/19/2013

    " Incredibly thorough. Reads like a novel. Terrific book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aaron | 8/20/2013

    " A classic. Great detail and narrative makes it read more like a novel than military history. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ben | 6/26/2013

    " This was a recommendation by Dan Carlin on one of his recent Hardcore History podcasts. Great book and great narration. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 5/22/2013

    " Not as good as "A Bridge Too Far" but still excellent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rae | 3/24/2013

    " Details the fight for Berlin in the last days of WW2. Very well written. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Claudio | 3/5/2013

    " Very good accout of the last days of Berlin, their people, the soviets, the amis. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tim | 10/22/2012

    " Outstanding, my best WW II read in a long time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shelby | 9/17/2012

    " very good book on the last battle of WWII. Ryan's other books on D-Day and Operation Market are very good as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 George | 8/8/2012

    " The same formula as his previous two books.what the population of Berlin suffered was harrowing but it was brought upon them by their mad leader and his henchmen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 6/13/2012

    " After reading "The Longest Day" about a well-covered topic like D-Day, it was interesting to read Ryan's account of the Battle for Berlin, something I knew far less about. Ryan was a master story-teller. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Todd | 5/9/2012

    " I'm into the ww ii thing but I think I may be reaching my limit. The perspective from Berliners is interesting to a point, but even I'm getting a little tired of the straight up historical nonfiction. I think I have just read too much of it lately. "

About the Author

Cornelius Ryan (1920–1974), born in Dublin, Ireland, became one of the preeminent war correspondents of his time, flying fourteen bombing missions with the US Eighth and Ninth Air Forces. He is the author of numerous books, including several classics of military history, which have appeared throughout the world in nineteen languages. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government in 1973.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and narrator. He has earned more than fifty Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie Award for best narration thirteen times. He was named Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008 and has been named an AudioFile Golden Voice as well as an AudioFile Best Voice of 2009. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London. He is also an actor who has appeared on both stage and television.