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Swansong 1945 A Collective Diary from Hitler's Last Birthday to VE Day

by Walter Kempowski

Swansong 1945 A Collective Diary from Hitler's Last Birthday to VE Day Synopsis

Swansong 1945 chronicles four significant days in the last three weeks of WWII: 20 April, Hitler's last birthday; 25 April, when American and Soviet troops first met at the Elbe; 30 April, the day Hitler committed suicide; and 8 May, the day of the German surrender. Side by side in these pages, we encounter the voices of civilians fleeing on foot to the west, British and American POWs dreaming of home, concentration camp survivors, loyal soldiers from both sides of the conflict and national leaders including Churchill, Hitler and Mussolini. A monumental account of survival, suffering, hope and despair, Swansong 1945 brings vividly to life a conflict whose repercussions are felt today.

The Good Book Guide Review

This remarkable book charts life in the final few weeks of the Second World War, as Hitler’s Reich falls and shatters into a thousand pieces. Fragments of diaries and letters convey what those dark and dreadful days in April and early May 1945 were really like, lending the text an immediacy and a power. There are extracts from world leaders, but the strength of the book comes from the accounts of the ordinary people caught up in the death throes of a Europe that had come crashing down: the female Russian sergeant who smuggles food to a starving German family; the victors and defeated united in despair.

Book Information

ISBN: 9781847086419
Publication date: 7th May 2015
Author: Walter Kempowski
Publisher: Granta Books
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 384 pages
Categories: Second World War, Diaries, letters & journals, European history, Collected biographies,

About Walter Kempowski

WALTER KEMPOWSKI (1929-2007) was one of Germany's most important post-war writers. In the 1980s he began work on Echo Soundings [Das Echolot], gathering together first hand accounts of the second world war, which he curated into ten volumes published over 20 years, and which is considered a modern classic. Swansong 1945, published in Germany in 2005, is the final volume of that work.

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