Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada & Michael Hofmann

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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.

About Hans Fallada & Michael Hofmann

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Before WWII , German writer Hans Fallada's novels were international bestsellers, on a par with those of his countrymen Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse. In America, Hollywood even turned his first big novel, Little Man, What Now? into a major motion picture. Learning the movie was made by a Jewish producer, however, Hitler decreed Fallada' s work could no longer be sold outside Germany, and the rising Nazis began to pay him closer attention. When he refused to join the Nazi party he was arrested by the Gestapo-who eventually released him, but thereafter regularly summoned him for "discussions" of his work. However, unlike Mann, Hesse, and others, Fallada refused to flee to safety, even when his British publisher, George Putnam, sent a private boat to rescue him. The pressure took its toll on Fallada, and he resorted increasingly to drugs and alcohol for relief. After Goebbels ordered him to write an anti-Semitic novel, he snapped and found himself imprisoned in an asylum for the "criminally insane"-considered a death sentence under Nazi rule. To forestall the inevitable, he pretended to write the assignment for Goebbels, while actually composing three encrypted books-including his tour de force novel The Drinker-in such dense code that they were not deciphered until long after his death. Fallada outlasted the Reich and was freed at war's end. But he was a shattered man. To help him recover by putting him to work, Fallada's publisher gave him the Gestapo file of a simple, working-class couple who had resisted the Nazis. Inspired, Fallada completed Every Man Dies Alone in just twenty-four days. He died in February 1947, just weeks before the book's publication.
Published September 8, 2009 by Melville House. 546 pages
Genres: History, Humor & Entertainment, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Literature & Fiction, War. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Every Man Dies Alone

The New York Times

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The first English version of this 1947 novel, based on a real-life German couple who mounted modest but suicidal resistance against Hitler.

Mar 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Every Man Dies Alone

BC Books

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In fact, the book includes reproductions of the Gestapo file on that case, including photos of several of the cards.

Apr 06 2009 | Read Full Review of Every Man Dies Alone

The Globe and Mail

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Hans Fallada, an outspoken opponent of the Nazis, was put into an insane asylum for his troubles but kept on writing

Mar 07 2009 | Read Full Review of Every Man Dies Alone

Oregon Live

That the resistors themselves are changed by their acts makes the book both necessary and gripping.

Jun 05 2009 | Read Full Review of Every Man Dies Alone

Seattle PI

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Jan 21 2012 | Read Full Review of Every Man Dies Alone

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