The End of War: A Novel of the Race for Berlin

David L. Robbins, Author
David L. Robbins, Author Bantam Books $24.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-553-10830-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-55935-340-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 528 pages - 978-0-553-58138-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7887-4862-2
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Sweeping in scope, this gripping, admirably researched historical novel resumes the account of WWII Robbins left off in War of the Rats. Picking up the narrative just before the stroke of midnight of New Year's Eve 1944, the saga moves skillfully back and forth between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill's cat-and-mouse games for postwar world control and the day-to-day hardships and terrors of ordinary figures caught up in the mortal conflict. Charley Bandy, a Tennessee tobacco farmer turned Life photographer, voluntarily returns to combat to be present for the German surrender. A pair of battle-hardened Russian soldiers, Misha Bakov and Ilya Shokhin, slog through the mud of Poland, pushing to take Berlin. And 26-year-old cellist Lottie (Charlota)--no last name given--the only female member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, lives in daily terror. Her mother is hiding a Jewish man in the cellar, and the Allied bombers are relentlessly pounding Berlin to rubble in an all-out effort to bring Hitler's Nazis to unconditional surrender. Eisenhower makes a cameo appearance, as do advisers to the Olympian triumvirate, architects of the history of the last half of the 20th century. Overwritten in places, the narrative frequently bogs down in trivia, and Robbins possesses a distracting proclivity for the random obscure (often ill-chosen) word. However, despite use of the third-person present tense, which essentially imposes the author as narrator/reporter and distances the reader from the full intensity of human experience, war buffs should find this an entertaining perspective on the end days of WWII. (Aug.)
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