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In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier's Memoir of the Eastern Front

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In the hell that was World War II, the Eastern Front was its heart of fire and ice. Gottlob Herbert Bidermann served in that lethal theater from 1941 to 1945, and his memoir of those years recaptures the sights, sounds, and smells of the war as it vividly portrays an army marching on the road to ruin.A riveting and reflective account by one of the millions of anonymous sol In the hell that was World War II, the Eastern Front was its heart of fire and ice. Gottlob Herbert Bidermann served in that lethal theater from 1941 to 1945, and his memoir of those years recaptures the sights, sounds, and smells of the war as it vividly portrays an army marching on the road to ruin.A riveting and reflective account by one of the millions of anonymous soldiers who fought and died in that cruel terrain, In Deadly Combat conveys the brutality and horrors of the Eastern Front in detail never before available in English. It offers a ground soldier's perspective on life and death on the front lines, providing revealing new information concerning day-to-day operations and German army life.Wounded five times and awarded numerous decorations for valor, Bidermann saw action in the Crimea and siege of Sebastopol, participated in the vicious battles in the forests south of Leningrad, and ended the war in the Courland Pocket. He shares his impressions of countless Russian POWs seen at the outset of his service, of peasants struggling to survive the hostilities while caught between two ruthless antagonists, and of corpses littering the landscape. He recalls a Christmas gift of gingerbread from home that overcame the stench of battle, an Easter celebrated with a basket of Russian hand grenades for eggs, and his miraculous survival of machine gun fire at close range. In closing he relives the humiliation of surrender to an enemy whom the Germans had once derided and offers a sobering glimpse into life in the Soviet gulags.Bidermann's account debunks the myth of a highly mechanized German army that rolled over weaker opponents with impunity. Despite the vast expanses of territory captured by the Germans during the early months of Operation Barbarossa, the war with Russia remained tenuous and unforgiving. His story commits that living hell to the annals of World War II and broadens our understanding of its most deadly combat zone.Translator Derek Zumbro has rendered Bidermann's memoir into a compelling narrative that retains the author's powerful style. This English-language edition of Bidermann's dynamic story is based upon a privately published memoir entitled Krim-Kurland Mit Der 132 Infanterie Division. The translator has added important events derived from numerous interviews with Bidermann to provide additional context for American readers.


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In the hell that was World War II, the Eastern Front was its heart of fire and ice. Gottlob Herbert Bidermann served in that lethal theater from 1941 to 1945, and his memoir of those years recaptures the sights, sounds, and smells of the war as it vividly portrays an army marching on the road to ruin.A riveting and reflective account by one of the millions of anonymous sol In the hell that was World War II, the Eastern Front was its heart of fire and ice. Gottlob Herbert Bidermann served in that lethal theater from 1941 to 1945, and his memoir of those years recaptures the sights, sounds, and smells of the war as it vividly portrays an army marching on the road to ruin.A riveting and reflective account by one of the millions of anonymous soldiers who fought and died in that cruel terrain, In Deadly Combat conveys the brutality and horrors of the Eastern Front in detail never before available in English. It offers a ground soldier's perspective on life and death on the front lines, providing revealing new information concerning day-to-day operations and German army life.Wounded five times and awarded numerous decorations for valor, Bidermann saw action in the Crimea and siege of Sebastopol, participated in the vicious battles in the forests south of Leningrad, and ended the war in the Courland Pocket. He shares his impressions of countless Russian POWs seen at the outset of his service, of peasants struggling to survive the hostilities while caught between two ruthless antagonists, and of corpses littering the landscape. He recalls a Christmas gift of gingerbread from home that overcame the stench of battle, an Easter celebrated with a basket of Russian hand grenades for eggs, and his miraculous survival of machine gun fire at close range. In closing he relives the humiliation of surrender to an enemy whom the Germans had once derided and offers a sobering glimpse into life in the Soviet gulags.Bidermann's account debunks the myth of a highly mechanized German army that rolled over weaker opponents with impunity. Despite the vast expanses of territory captured by the Germans during the early months of Operation Barbarossa, the war with Russia remained tenuous and unforgiving. His story commits that living hell to the annals of World War II and broadens our understanding of its most deadly combat zone.Translator Derek Zumbro has rendered Bidermann's memoir into a compelling narrative that retains the author's powerful style. This English-language edition of Bidermann's dynamic story is based upon a privately published memoir entitled Krim-Kurland Mit Der 132 Infanterie Division. The translator has added important events derived from numerous interviews with Bidermann to provide additional context for American readers.

30 review for In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier's Memoir of the Eastern Front

  1. 5 out of 5

    'Aussie Rick'

    Firstly, before launching yourself into this excellent book please take the time to read the introduction by Dennis Showalter as it will help explain the style of writing to be found in this book. The book was originally written for the survivors of Bidermann's regiment and division, not for the general public. Bearing this in mind you will have a better understanding and feeling for the author's account of his experience of fighting on the Eastern Front during WW2. At times you might find the n Firstly, before launching yourself into this excellent book please take the time to read the introduction by Dennis Showalter as it will help explain the style of writing to be found in this book. The book was originally written for the survivors of Bidermann's regiment and division, not for the general public. Bearing this in mind you will have a better understanding and feeling for the author's account of his experience of fighting on the Eastern Front during WW2. At times you might find the narrative old fashioned and even cliched but this is definitely not the case, it has to be taken in context of when and why this book was first written. This is a great story, on par if not better than Guy Sajer's Forgotten Soldier. This is a combination of a combat history of the 132nd Infantry Division and the author's role and experiences in the fighting on the Eastern Front. The author, Gottlob Herbert Bidermann, won two Iron Crosses, the Crimea Shield, the Close Combat Badge, the German Cross in Gold, the Gold Wound Badge (wounded five times), the Honour Roll Clasp and the Tank Destruction Badge. What is remarkable is that the author survived five years of combat on the Russian Front fighting in Crimea, Leningrad and later in the Courland Pocket. I found his stories about his early years fighting with an anti-tank section using the Pak 37 "doorknocker" very interesting, I had always believed these weapons to be next to useless on the Russian Front however I was surprised. You can trace the change in the author from a novice who still cared about human beings, even his enemy to one whom has been brutalised by warfare to a point past indifference to death and destruction. I have taken the liberty to include below a short section of the text from the first chapter to give you an idea of the author's style of writing: "The NCO was grasping one of the wheels of the Maxim carriage, his sightless eyes peering forward at the ammunition belt where it fed into the chamber of the weapon. Another held his rifle clenched in cold fists, his head resting against the ground as if asleep, the olive-colored helmet secured tightly under his chin. Hartmann slipped past me and slowly approached two other figures lying closely together, side by side. One of the figures had draped an arm across the other in a last embrace, as if attempting to comfort a dying comrade. As Hartmann neared, a cloud of flies rose in protest, breaking the deadly silence and I moved forward to join him in surveying the ghastly scene. Moving silently among the carnage, Hartmann suddenly turned and slipped past me without speaking, heading in the direction from which we had come. Carefully avoiding the eyes of the dead, I quickly followed him. In this abode of death, only the trees, still and quiet, appeared to be survivors and witnesses to the struggle that had occurred, hidden within this wooded glade". I found this book to be a very fascinating account of the fighting conducted on the Eastern Front from the perspective of a young German soldier. It offers some very interesting insights into combat and its affect on men who in the end just tried to survive against immense odds. There is a number of absorbing black and white photographs supplied from private sources that give the book a human touch. The only real problem that readers may find with this book is the lack of maps detailing the movements and combats of the 132nd Infantry Division. Overall this is the sort of book that should be in the library of every serious reader or student of the war on the Russian Front during World War Two.

  2. 5 out of 5

    April

    The memoirs are of a WW2 German soldier who spent almost four years on the Eastern Front. He gives an honest account of the action and horror while being on the front lines during the war. He actually wrote this book for the other survivors of his Army regiment and not for the general public. As for the Eastern Front, Bidermann describes the enemy in great detail. At the beginning of the German invasion, Russian troops ran from the front lines due to fear of poison gas use since the German soldi The memoirs are of a WW2 German soldier who spent almost four years on the Eastern Front. He gives an honest account of the action and horror while being on the front lines during the war. He actually wrote this book for the other survivors of his Army regiment and not for the general public. As for the Eastern Front, Bidermann describes the enemy in great detail. At the beginning of the German invasion, Russian troops ran from the front lines due to fear of poison gas use since the German soldiers carried gas masks on their hip. The Russian troops were on the defensive and rarely attacked at night. As the war continued, Communist leaders called to sacrifice oneself for Communism as patriotic duty. As the Americans joined the war, Russia received supples and food that they desperately needed. I highly recommend this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ellie Midwood

    It was a great Eastern front memoir but I admit, there were things I liked and didn’t like about it. First of all, if you’re looking for a highly detailed account of events (with the names of the companies, regiments, their commanders, dates, fronts etc.) this book is certainly for you! Bidermann does an amazing job in providing valuable information which is accurate and presented with meticulous precision. However, for me personally, it killed the whole “feeling” of the memoir, which was so cha It was a great Eastern front memoir but I admit, there were things I liked and didn’t like about it. First of all, if you’re looking for a highly detailed account of events (with the names of the companies, regiments, their commanders, dates, fronts etc.) this book is certainly for you! Bidermann does an amazing job in providing valuable information which is accurate and presented with meticulous precision. However, for me personally, it killed the whole “feeling” of the memoir, which was so characteristic of Guy Sajer’s “The Forgotten Soldier.” Reading Sajer’s memoir, I felt like I was actually there, in the thick of the events, feeling every emotion of the author: the terror, the angst, the agony of the collapsing front… In Bidermann’s book, I sometimes got lost in all the technicalities, which sometimes made even the most fearsome battles lose their colors and read like something from the history book. This lack of emotion was definitely a minus for me, even though the author does have several wonderfully written passages, showing the emotional state of his comrades and him as well, but there are only a few of them. Another negative moment for me was his lack of understanding behind the whole war: he does blame Hitler and his clique a lot for the troops’ military losses and misadventures but he completely and utterly refuses to acknowledge that the Wehrmacht shouldn’t have been in the Soviet Union making that war in the first place. He complains a lot about the mistreatment of the German POWs in Soviet captivity when the Soviet POWs in German captivity were treated even worse and died in much bigger quantities. However, the positive moment in those last few chapters for me personally was to learn about the organization and the life in the GULAGs from the person who was actually there, so huge kudos to Bidermann for writing about his experience there. If you’re interested in the history of the Eastern Front, this book should definitely be on your to-read list. A truly invaluable source of information, especially if you’re doing research.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bogdan

    Until now, from all the memoirs about the WWII, I haven`t met an account about the life of the german prisoner of war in the Russian Gulag. In plus and outside the war memories this book has some tremendous & interesting chapters about that ordeal and the hard road to lasting freedom. You have to keep in mind that this was a war in which a lot of millions of innocents have died and this book has the subjective opinion of the story from the german perspective. There are a lot of discussions on you Until now, from all the memoirs about the WWII, I haven`t met an account about the life of the german prisoner of war in the Russian Gulag. In plus and outside the war memories this book has some tremendous & interesting chapters about that ordeal and the hard road to lasting freedom. You have to keep in mind that this was a war in which a lot of millions of innocents have died and this book has the subjective opinion of the story from the german perspective. There are a lot of discussions on youtube about the german (allied also,too) shaped history after the ww2, and that we know almost nothing from the russian version of things, because of the one side knowledge of the events. Anyway, the book has some a lot of aspects and elements abot the daily routine that other memoirs didn`t and this was what I was really searching for.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence

    In the hell that was World War II, the Eastern Front was its heart of fire and ice. Gottlob Herbert Bidermann served in that lethal theater from 1941 to 1945, and his memoir of those years recaptures the sights, sounds, and smells of the war as it vividly portrays an army marching on the road to ruin. A riveting and reflective account by one of the millions of anonymous soldiers who fought and died in that cruel terrain, In Deadly Combat conveys the brutality and horrors of the Eastern Front in d In the hell that was World War II, the Eastern Front was its heart of fire and ice. Gottlob Herbert Bidermann served in that lethal theater from 1941 to 1945, and his memoir of those years recaptures the sights, sounds, and smells of the war as it vividly portrays an army marching on the road to ruin. A riveting and reflective account by one of the millions of anonymous soldiers who fought and died in that cruel terrain, In Deadly Combat conveys the brutality and horrors of the Eastern Front in detail never before available in English. It offers a ground soldier's perspective on life and death on the front lines, providing revealing new information concerning day-to-day operations and German army life. Wounded five times and awarded numerous decorations for valor, Bidermann saw action in the Crimea and siege of Sebastopol, participated in the vicious battles in the forests south of Leningrad, and ended the war in the Courland Pocket. He shares his impressions of countless Russian POWs seen at the outset of his service, of peasants struggling to survive the hostilities while caught between two ruthless antagonists, and of corpses littering the landscape. He recalls a Christmas gift of gingerbread from home that overcame the stench of battle, an Easter celebrated with a basket of Russian hand grenades for eggs, and his miraculous survival of machine gun fire at close range. In closing he relives the humiliation of surrender to an enemy whom the Germans had once derided and offers a sobering glimpse into life in the Soviet gulags. Bidermann's account debunks the myth of a highly mechanized German army that rolled over weaker opponents with impunity. Despite the vast expanses of territory captured by the Germans during the early months of Operation Barbarossa, the war with Russia remained tenuous and unforgiving. His story commits that living hell to the annals of World War II and broadens our understanding of its most deadly combat zone.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elh52

    Boy, that Gottlob, he was one lucky guy to live through the war. There must be 50 memoirs by Germans of life on the Eastern Front, but they're probably the only ones who survived it. This is a good, no-nonsense view of the Eastern Front. It is very clear-headed, militarily speaking. Morally, less so. Herr Bidermann insists no atrocities were committed by his unit or by anyone he knew. Well, maybe. I read it together with another first-hand account, that one by an Alsatian who fought in Russia fo Boy, that Gottlob, he was one lucky guy to live through the war. There must be 50 memoirs by Germans of life on the Eastern Front, but they're probably the only ones who survived it. This is a good, no-nonsense view of the Eastern Front. It is very clear-headed, militarily speaking. Morally, less so. Herr Bidermann insists no atrocities were committed by his unit or by anyone he knew. Well, maybe. I read it together with another first-hand account, that one by an Alsatian who fought in Russia for Germany, and that one will really knock your socks off. The two books make a great pair. But I can't remember the other's name and Google isn't helping. I think Beverly loaned it to me. ...I found it - The Fogotten Soldier, by Guy Sajer. Read these two together.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    One of the better German memoirs of war on the Eastern Front.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Devy

    One of the best firsthand accounts of the Eastern Front. Much heavier on troop dispositions, divisional placements, and strategy than The Forgotten Soldier. His observations about the average landser's view of the Third Reich and Nazi government is very insightful. Must read for anyone interested in WWII, especially, in my opinion, as what is often overlooked as the real theater of that struggle.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John Thompson

    Incredibly gripping account of a horrid, horrid war.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rob Shurmer

    In the end what it is not the horrifically intense and close-up glimpse of combat on the Eastern Front that stand out, but rather the brief reflections and personal details that Bidermann shares Attending advent Mass in the Tatar mosque in the Crimea or sharing with pals the warmth of a Christmas candle and gingerbread from home on Christmas Eve during the assault on Sebastopol: "we had become old together and had developed a brotherhood between us, a closeness of spirit and trust that those who In the end what it is not the horrifically intense and close-up glimpse of combat on the Eastern Front that stand out, but rather the brief reflections and personal details that Bidermann shares Attending advent Mass in the Tatar mosque in the Crimea or sharing with pals the warmth of a Christmas candle and gingerbread from home on Christmas Eve during the assault on Sebastopol: "we had become old together and had developed a brotherhood between us, a closeness of spirit and trust that those who live in safety throughout their lives cannot know." Or upon hearing that the United States had entered the war and realizing -- by late 1941! -- that Germany could not win the war: "Despite the knowledge that the bulk of the world's industrialized strength was turned against us, never did we realize the full extent of the defeat that was to befall us." Also notable, Bidermann reveals that in the final months of the war German line infantry knew of the Morganthau Plan which convinced them to fight to the death rather than suffer the coming defeat. Unfortunately, there are few seriously self-reflective passages about what he experienced, fascism, war, the Holocaust, captivity in the Soviet Union.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Excellent account Great account given by the author of his units activities during the war and his personal experiences. Somewhat devoid of emotion and reads. Ore like a military chronology in places but that’s to be expected

  12. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    Any soldier that fought on the Eastern front in WW2 is going to have some jaw dropping stories to tell of their experience. This book is a great example of the bravery of a soldier in the face of such adversity.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Doug

    This is a straightforward, nearly stoic memoir. As its foreword points out, it was written for an audience of fellow veterans, and has a distinct matter-of-factness of events to it. The translator has skilfully left a lot of German infantry slang in the text (knobelbechers, sanka, spiess, etc.), but helpfully provides a glossary. It bogs down in places with names and numbers of units, and language less emotional and more formal than one might expect from such harrowing experiences. But don't let This is a straightforward, nearly stoic memoir. As its foreword points out, it was written for an audience of fellow veterans, and has a distinct matter-of-factness of events to it. The translator has skilfully left a lot of German infantry slang in the text (knobelbechers, sanka, spiess, etc.), but helpfully provides a glossary. It bogs down in places with names and numbers of units, and language less emotional and more formal than one might expect from such harrowing experiences. But don't let that put you off - this story has some riveting moments, and even comic ones, and its special value is painting a rare picture of the Wehrmacht's long slog into the USSR and its ultimate defeat, with the author stuck in the infamous Courland pocket. It's miraculous that Bidermann survived to recount the story. This long account is well worth reading, and should be tackled in combination with Guy Sajer's The Forgotten Soldier and Vasily Krysov's Panzer Destroyer: Memoirs of a Red Army Tank Commander. I wish Bidermann had more to say about the disconnect between Berlin and the common soldier, but this is his story for his audience. I don't doubt he had much more going on internally than he put down on paper.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chris Leader

    Eyeopening Very interesting book with clear descriptions of what it meant to be an infantryman during the Nazi invasions and then retreats into and from Russia.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Msaout

    Very dry and impersonal

  16. 5 out of 5

    Faisal Khan

    Great

  17. 4 out of 5

    William G Shope Jr

    Well written and easy to follow. The book was very interesting. I learned a great deal about the Eastern Front warfare in Russia. The Author gives a good account of the fighting and life of the German Soldiers. I was able for the first time to understand why the Russians were able to defeat the German Army. I also learned to appreciate the fighting skill of the German Soldiers.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sean Chick

    The first part is compelling. The middle has a kind of deadening monotony as the Germans fight off attack after attack. The book becomes less personal and more like a unit history with anecdotes. The final 70 pages though were superb, as he deals with imminent defeat while fighting for a horrid cause. This book was written years after the fact, but is perhaps the best version of the "clean Wehrmacht" myth you will encounter. The 132nd Division commits no atrocities. They are portrayed as victims The first part is compelling. The middle has a kind of deadening monotony as the Germans fight off attack after attack. The book becomes less personal and more like a unit history with anecdotes. The final 70 pages though were superb, as he deals with imminent defeat while fighting for a horrid cause. This book was written years after the fact, but is perhaps the best version of the "clean Wehrmacht" myth you will encounter. The 132nd Division commits no atrocities. They are portrayed as victims of a barbaric government, fighting for comrades and out of a hatred of communism. That take on motivation played well before 1989 but has since lost its potency, although it certainly was a motivation. All of that said, this is a flawed but powerful book by a man who survived it all from the invasion of Russia to the gulag.

  19. 4 out of 5

    KB

    I'm not sure why, but I was never really able to get into this book even though I was looking forward to reading it and had it on my to-read list for quite some time. It begins with Bidermann in the Crimea, and I did enjoy reading about something on the Eastern Front other than Stalingrad, but it never grabbed me. I think the best parts of this section were the Germans' interaction with the locals, although there wasn't a ton of that in here. This is pretty much what the first third of the book I'm not sure why, but I was never really able to get into this book even though I was looking forward to reading it and had it on my to-read list for quite some time. It begins with Bidermann in the Crimea, and I did enjoy reading about something on the Eastern Front other than Stalingrad, but it never grabbed me. I think the best parts of this section were the Germans' interaction with the locals, although there wasn't a ton of that in here. This is pretty much what the first third of the book covers. After being trained as an infantry officer, Bidermann is then sent to the area near Leningrad and eventually to the Courland pocket. A lot of the second third of the book felt much less personal. The writing seemed to be done more in general terms about the German troops which didn't make for the most exciting reading. At certain points in this section the writing sometimes a got to be bit much: "Our tortured world became surreal and unclear; the encroaching undergrowth, the snowdrifts, and the splintered tree trunks hung silent with the secrets they had witnessed." I can't even tell you how many times I read the term 'frozen jungle' either. I don't want to say this part was bad, but I was really missing the personal feeling that should come with a first-hand account. There is only one map, located at the front of the book. It's basically a map of part of Eastern Europe showing most of the the main locations Bidermann talks about. But readers are offered nothing more detailed which seemed a bit strange when talking so much about battles because you never get a good idea of what things looked like, or who or what was positioned where. And, of course, it's missing places Bidermann describes. This was a pretty big flaw to me. Even if all that had been included was one map per general area, that would have been much more helpful. I'm always up for pictures in books and this one has plenty, which was great. I found the way German words were presented a bit strange. There were never any umlauts over vowels, where instead the vowel+e form was used. But sometimes names and terms which should have had umlauts went without and also lacked that extra 'e'. For example, Göring was referred to as Goring, and Führer was simply Fuhrer. 'Volkssturm' was spelled wrong whenever used, as well. It might sound nit-picky, but sometimes it was just incorrect. The last two thirds of the book were, in my opinion, much more readable than the first third. The end of the war in 1945 and Bidermann's time as a Soviet POW were easily my favourite parts. Regardless, I never felt completely drawn to the story and I don't think there was a single time that I felt like I couldn't put the book down. I don't think there's anything wrong with the book, I just couldn't get into it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    He is a noble man who was drafted into the military. As was (still is?) common in the German military, smart and brave non-commisioned officers were routinely tapped to enter officer candidate training schools after serving in the front for a time. He was in charge of a 37 mm antitank gun on the Eastern Front, southern Army group. He participated in the siege of Sevastopol. He was promoted to Lieutenant, eventually higher. Afterwards, his division was sent to the (Northern Army group's) Leningra He is a noble man who was drafted into the military. As was (still is?) common in the German military, smart and brave non-commisioned officers were routinely tapped to enter officer candidate training schools after serving in the front for a time. He was in charge of a 37 mm antitank gun on the Eastern Front, southern Army group. He participated in the siege of Sevastopol. He was promoted to Lieutenant, eventually higher. Afterwards, his division was sent to the (Northern Army group's) Leningrad quagmire (literally, because it's so swampy). After the Center Army group collapsed in 1944 (operation Bagration), his Northern Army group was pressed into what became known as the Kurland Front (current day Lithuania/Latvia). There were rumors then that the Americans would come save the Germans from the Kurland front, bring them to Germany, then use them and the German army to declare war on the USSR. It didn't happen, which prompted him to respond, when invited to go aboard a US destroyer in the 1990's, that the invitation was 50 years to late. Sad.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    This is a book by a german infrantry soldier about German infantry. It is a story about dedication to those who fought and died together in a no win situation. The writing is heavy in military detail reflecting that it was really written for other German soldiers. The author makes an interesting observation about how over the course of the war on the eastern front the two adversaries switched places. At the beginning, the German army dominated the Russian army in all phases of battle from leader This is a book by a german infrantry soldier about German infantry. It is a story about dedication to those who fought and died together in a no win situation. The writing is heavy in military detail reflecting that it was really written for other German soldiers. The author makes an interesting observation about how over the course of the war on the eastern front the two adversaries switched places. At the beginning, the German army dominated the Russian army in all phases of battle from leadership to tactics to training. Towards the end of the war, the roles were reversed. Disturbing related to the loss of men, a good book to read to get a unique perspective.

  22. 4 out of 5

    James

    A strong story, told articulately by a man who survived a time and place that most in his position didn't. The author fought in the worst of the combat between the Nazi and Soviet armies in World War II, and recounts his experiences simply and in a calm tone that acknowledges the desperation and savagery of what he is describing but remains matter-of-fact. It seems likely that this stems from the same calm under stress that enabled him to keep thinking and fighting when many would have been too A strong story, told articulately by a man who survived a time and place that most in his position didn't. The author fought in the worst of the combat between the Nazi and Soviet armies in World War II, and recounts his experiences simply and in a calm tone that acknowledges the desperation and savagery of what he is describing but remains matter-of-fact. It seems likely that this stems from the same calm under stress that enabled him to keep thinking and fighting when many would have been too overwhelmed to continue.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brent Woodson

    Gave me different perspective of the war ... epic battles intense

  24. 4 out of 5

    None

    Very good German soldier memoir.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cort Ockfen

    So real... as this book is written by a survivor of the Eastern Front.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    Avery god read about a soldier serving on the eastern front

  27. 4 out of 5

    John

    Excellent personal memoir of a German soldier on the Eastern Front in WW2.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sergio

    This story, from only 65 years ago, is shocking in its total brutality, yet humble in its humanity. Stories from the eastern front add perspective to our lives.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Burtt

    Loved the part where his unit get holiday gifts in the mail package during a lull in the fighting.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cary Kostka

    A brilliant look into the life of a German soldier on the Eastern front. The book brought up many questions and allows the reader to see the events of WWII in a different light. This is exactly why I enjoy the diaries and memoirs of soldiers the most; not only do you get a first person account of the events as they unfolded, you can feel and understand the emotions surrounding them in the individual plights of survival.

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