Courtesy of Caro, here’s my contributory few lines from The Lives of the Great Composers by Harold C. Schonberg, page 123, three sentences from the fifth one on:
And, indeed, the coda of the first movement, with its slippery, chromatic bass and the awesome moans above it, remains a paralyzing experience. That is the way the world ends. It is absolute music, but it clearly represents struggle, and it is hard to hear so monumentally anguished a cry without reading something into it. The trouble is that face with such music, all of us tend to become sentimentalists, reading into it the wrong message.
So he sums up the Ninth Symphony of that “Revolutionary from Bonn” as the chapter title has it. A pretty decent book on the whole. And yes I realise that was four sentences.