Walter Kempowski (1929-2007) was one of Germany's most important post-war writers. He settled after the war in Hamburg, but on returning to his home town of Rostock in the late 1940s he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for espionage by a Soviet military tribunal, of which he served eight years, in Bautzen. His first success as an author was the autobiographic novel Tadellöser & Wolff (1971) part of his acclaimed series of novels German Chronicles. In the 1980s he began work on an immense project, Echo Soundings, gathering together first hand accounts, diaries, letters and memoirs of the second world war, which he collated and curated into ten volumes published over 20 years, and which is considered a modern classic. Swansong 1945, published in Germany in 2005, and translated into English here for the first time, is the final volume of that work.