Armageddon - Leon Uris
== About the Author and the Book ==
Ever since Leon Uris burst upon the literary scene with his magnificent novel about the American marines ' Battle Cry ', he has been regarded as a supreme writer about significant events of our times.Following Battle Cry came 'Exodus' and MILA 18, both portraying holocaust as no other.His next mega novel Armageddon is a novel of Berlin and of the invincibility of free men when they stand defiant..
It is the story written about the origin of the cold war in the strife ridden post-war Germany.It is a historical fiction based on facts.
== The Story in Brief ==
It is very difficult to make this brief, as there is so much covered of equal interest and importance.
The story is set in the year 1944, in the war torn Germany and Berlin.The country and the people coming to terms with the war and its losses, with insights and accounts of the past actions of the Nazis, The Russians and the Allies.
It is the story of Sean Sullivan, a young American Commanding Officer, who has lost both his brothers fighting the war against the Germans, and who has developed a bitter hatred towards the Germans.He is sent to Rombaden (Germany) to investigate the horrors of Schwabenwald camps, where 1,116,000 deaths certified natural by the Nazi authorities ,were recorded in a single week.
He realises this as an uphill task as all those connected with the camp feign ignorance,and, in turn had taken it on themselves to exploit the American Soldiers with sex and disinformation.Sean feels that de-nazification, planned by his authorities ,in reality would not work however hard he tries.
He is sent to Berlin, where power struggle was on between the Allies and the Russian forces, who were keen to have a Russian Berlin..
It is the story of the other side, of Igor Karlovy of Soviet Red Air Force with his own disturbed past , spent fighting the war and of his lost love .Now he waits on the other side of Brandenburg gate to claim Berlin for the Russian people.
Amidst all this unrest Sean meets Ernestine, a German girl with a Nazi background and connections, trying to survive and live in the aftermaths of war and its new horrors, now unleashed by the Russian, Mongols,Allies and practically everyone , on the defeated Germans.Sean falls desperately in love with Ernestine , and she with him ,not knowing what the future holds for them.
The Russians in the meantime working on a secret plan detailing the harassment of the Western Allies in Berlin, all leading up to the final historical moment ' The Berlin Airlift'.
== My views on this novel ==
Once you begin reading this book, it is impossible to put it down.
Although this book has been with me since the past 6-7 years, i never attempted to read it, mainly because of its size.
I got down to reading it only , after my entire family had read it and discussed it ,with myself, having nothing to contribute to the discussion lol.
Now having read it i sincerely regret not having done so earlier.
This is without any doubt a Superior novel written by a Supreme writer.It is like going through pages of history books, only a lot more interesting, real and human .
Talking about history, the author highlights the nature of German people and insights into their nature, that has been formed through history, and as Sean discovers more about this his loathing for the Germans increases.At some stage Sean begins to feel that the longing to be the supreme race, the strange elation at the moment of death is so prevalent in the German culture.
The interactions between Sean and General Andrew Haisen, his superior sharing a turbulent yet a strange kind of rapport , the superior ever critical of his junior, but at the same time trusting him above all the others in his hour of need.Leon uris's insights into human emotions and behavioral patterns is truly amazing.
It is lovely going through the pages covering Sean and Ernestine's early meetings, the impact they have on each others personality, with Sean learning a more sensitive and human side of Germans through Ernestine.The slow build up of Igor and Sean's camaraderie, and their growing respect for each others views , though being on opposite sides - very well portrayed.
Everything's fair in war and after the war.
The building up of events leading to the final victory of The western World over West Berlin and the Berlin Airlift, which is one of the most important events of history, gave me a bit of history lesson that i was not thorough with.
What shines through all this is the tender love story of Sean and Ernestine that unfolds amidst all the unrest and hatred.While Uris's portrayal of the atrocities committed around Berlin is violent and graphic, here , when he writes about the touching love story of Sean and Ernestine he is ever so sensitive and gentle in his observations.
The accounting of the horrors committed on the German people by the rest of the world after the end of the war leaves one cold, where life has little value and the victors exhibiting their brutal side, almost like the Nazis did, and enjoying it too like the Nazis did!!
But again there are people like Sean, Igor,Ernestine who all come from the same background, yet feel the prick of conscience and try to make amends where they can.
Leon Uris has touched upon all nuances of human emotions that came to the fore front in probably what was the most horrifying period ever in the recent past .He tells us a tale of a war torn country being ravaged by the four power occupations with utter disregard and respect for its people and their lives.
A superb book in all respects , leaves you with such an impact as never to be forgotten.
Anything i write about this mega novel seems too little.This book is like a rare experience that leaves one asking for more.
I highly recommend this novel as a must read for all book lovers.
To sum up, some innocents paid a heavy price for the atrocities committed by others of their kind, and, a lucky few were able to fight their wars pack up and go home....