Little Man, What Now?

Front Cover
Melville House, Mar 29, 2011 - Fiction - 345 pages
6 Reviews
This is the book that led to Hans Fallada’s downfall with the Nazis. The story of a young couple struggling to survive the German economic collapse was a worldwide sensation and was made into an acclaimed Hollywood movie produced by Jews, leading Hitler to ban Fallada’s work from being translated.

Nonetheless, it remains, as The Times Literary Supplement notes, “the novel of a time in which public and private merged even for those whowanted to stay at home and mind their own business."

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From the Trade Paperback edition.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Neftzger - LibraryThing

An interesting read that gives insight into what it was like to be a white collar worker in Berlin just prior to WWII. This is a fictional account of two newlyweds, but it should be noted that the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lilywren - LibraryThing

This is the third book by Fallada I have read following on the heels of [Every Man Dies Alone] (or Alone in Berlin) and [The Drinker]. I have enjoyed every single one. Kudos has to be given to the ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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