The book is set in the working-class neighborhoods near the Alexanderplatz in Berlin of the 1920s. Main character is the petty criminal Franz Biberkopf. Franz is at the beginning of the story released from prison, but is again sucked into the underworld. When his criminal mentor murders the prostitute where Biberkopf likes, realizes the last his impossible from the underworld can release.
In 1999, Berlin Alexanderplatz was elected at the 10 best German-language novels of the twentieth century. In 2002 by the Norwegian book club the book was named one of the 100 best books of all time. 
The style is reminiscent of that of James Joyce, and Döblin rewrote his story after reading Joyce's book Ulysses. The story is told from different perspectives. There also uses sound effects, newspaper articles, songs, speeches and other books so as to develop the story.
The novel was made into a film twice. The first film Berlin-Alexanderplatz dates back to 1931. Döblin worked here from, along with Karl Heinz Martin and Hans Wilhelm. Piel Jutzi directed the film, while Heinrich George, Maria Bard, Margarete Schlegel, Bernhard Minetti, Gerhard Bienert, Albert Florath and Paul Wagner meier accounted for the main roles.
Nico Rost provided the English translation appeared in 1930 Berlin Alexanderplatz. A new translation is in preparation.