Every Man Dies Alone

by Hans Fallada,

Subject categories
  • 1935554050
  • 9781933633633
  • 9781935554059
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.
  • Melville House; September 2009
  • ISBN: 9781935554059
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: Every Man Dies Alone
  • Author: Hans Fallada; Michael Hofmann (trans.)
  • Imprint: Melville House
Subject categories
  • 1935554050
  • 9781933633633
  • 9781935554059

In The Press

A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

“The greatest book ever written about the German resistance to the Nazis.”
—Primo Levi

“One of the most extraordinary and compelling novels ever written about World War II. Ever. ... Please, do not miss this.”
—Alan Furst

“I very much enjoyed the rediscovery of Hans Fallada, the German writer ...  a wonderful novel. Compelling.”
—Ian McEwan

“An unrivalled and vivid portrait of life in wartime Berlin.”
Philip Kerr, author of the "Berlin Noir" novels

“To read Every Man Dies Alone, Fallada’ s testament to the darkest years of the 20th century, is to be accompanied by a wise, somber ghost who grips your shoulder and whispers in your ear: “This is how it was. This is what happened.”
New York Times Book Review

“Has the suspense of a John le Carré novel … visceral, chilling ….”
The New Yorker

“One of the most extraordinarily ambitious literary resurrections in recent memory ....”
The Los Angeles Times

“A one-of-a-kind novel … Fallada can be seen as a hero, a writer-hero who survived just long enough to strike back at his oppressors.”
The Globe and Mail

“Stunningly vivid characters … gets you inside Nazi Germany like no other novel.”
The San Francisco Chronicle

“Essential, thrilling.”
The St. Petersburg Times

“A masterpiece.”

“This is a novel that is so powerful, so intense, that it almost hums with electricity.”
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"It has something of the horror of Conrad, the madness of Dostoyevsky and the chilling menace of Capote’s 'In Cold Blood.'... In the quiet Quangels, Fallada has created an immortal symbol of those who fight back against 'the vile beyond all vileness' and so redeem us all."
—Roger Cohen, The New York Times

About The Author

About the Author
Hans Fallada
was the pseudonym of Rudolph Ditzen, who was born in 1893 in Berlin, the son of a superior court judge. Prior to WWII, his novels were international bestsellers. But when Jewish producers in Hollywood made his 1932 novel, Little Man, What Now? into a major motion picture, the rising Nazis began to take note of him. His struggles increased after he refused to join the Party and was denounced by neighbors for “anti-Nazi” sympathies. Unlike many other prominent artists, however, Fallada decided not to flee Germany. By the end of World War II he’d suffered an alcohol-fueled nervous breakdown and was in a Nazi insane asylum, where he nonetheless managed to write—in code—the brilliant subversive novel, The Drinker. After the war, Fallada went on to write Every Man Dies Alone, based on an actual Gestapo file, but he died in 1947 of a morphine overdose, just before it was published.

About the Translator
Michael Hofmann is the translator of many of the twentieth century's leading authors in German, including Franz Kafka, Joseph Roth, and Thomas Bernhard, and is the winner of the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize.

Geoff Wilkes (Afterword) is a Lecturer in German Studies at the University of Queensland and perhaps the world's foremost English-speaking expert on Hans Fallada. He is the author of Hans Fallada's Crisis Novels 1931-1947.

Subject categories
  • 1935554050
  • 9781933633633
  • 9781935554059