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At Leningrad's Gates: The Combat Memoirs of a Soldier with Army Group North [Hardcover]

William Lubbeck , David B. Hurt
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

19 April 2007
This is the remarkable story of a German soldier who fought throughout World War II, rising from conscript private to captain of a heavy weapons company on the Eastern Front. William Lubbeck, , was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1939. As a member of the 58th Infantry Division, he received his baptism of fire during the 1940 invasion of France. The following spring his division served in Operation Barbarossa. After grueling marches, Lubbeck's unit entered the outskirts of Leningrad, making the deepest penetration of any German formation. The Germans suffered brutal hardships the following winter as they fought both Russian counterattacks and the brutal cold. The 58th Division was thrown back and forth across the front of Army Group North, from Novgorod to Demyansk. In September 1943, Lubbeck earned the Iron Cross First Class and was assigned to officers' training school in Dresden. By the time he returned to Russia, Army Group North was in full-scale retreat.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military; 1st Edition edition (19 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844156176
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844156177
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 848,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I cannot do anything other than recommend this book to all Eastern Front enthusiasts, particularly those with an interest in the life of the ordinary soldier in the Wermacht.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By Gisli Jokull Gislason VINE VOICE
I found this book to be a very warm recollection of terrible times. As a reader I felt I had shared in Lubbeck's experience. His story is told at a late age so it is interesting to see what memories stand out, I also followed his post war life with interest, both because Lubbeck comes out as a likeable man and because post war Germany was a troubled land in dark times, the war was over but the hardships were not.

Lubbeck served with the 58th Infantry Division in Army Group North on the Eastern Front. His is the tale of a ambitious infantry soldier that was promoted to an officer in the crucible of war. The story provides a satisfactory explanation as to why German soldiers fought in 1944 and 1945, it also tells less glamorous stories of lice and dirt and how soldiers travelling home changed trains on the border and deloused before going further. This is also a story of an infantry man, who didn't ride a Tiger and walked into Russia while the baggage train and artillery were drawn by horses and R&R was a good bath and latrine.

It is the humanity of the story and the personality of William Lubbeck that stand out in the story. There is also a love story between Lubbeck and his future wife Annelise, their relationship while he was at the front, his worries about her during the allied bombings and her uncertainty of his fate at the front.

All in all a rewarding book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate memoir from Army Group North 29 May 2007
An excellent firsthand account of combat in northern Russia. As a former infantryman, I appreciated his detailed descriptions of life at the front and the remarkable sequence of events that enabled him to survive the last few weeks of the war. The section describing life in East Germany right after the war, including a close encounter with a Soviet patrol, was also interesting. As an aside, I was impressed by the number of personal wartime photographs included with the narrative. Given the campaigns in which Lubbeck participated, it's remarkable that they survived. They're helpful in visualizing the situation within Lubbeck's unit.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping account of WWII Eastern Front 16 April 2007
I just finished William Lubbeck's At Leningrad's Gates. It was fantastic. I have read several good memoirs of the Russian Front, but Lubbeck's stands out as truly remarkable. His account of his experiences was refreshingly candid and provided great insight into the horrors suffered on both sides of the line. I highly recommend this book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 13 Jun 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I got this after reading The Forgotten Soldier and Blood Red Snow, both brilliant books which I couldn't put down capturing the horrors of the actual fighting. It is a good book in its own right and the author is obviously a decent man. However, it is a long way away from those other books in terms of capturing the stark reality of the combat situation. If like me you've read those other books and are looking for more of the same then I don't think you'll find it in this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather bland given the epic titile 11 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Although rather a sanitised version I always got the feeling this could have been written so much better especially as he spent so much time at the front.

The information of his family life as a child goes into minute detail at tmes,
and his epiloge to, is very cogent why not the bit in between?

I bought the book to read about his life at the Gates at of lenningrad
But lots of it was glossed over in phrases such as "after two weeks hard fighting we moved back"

I think his ghost writer could have got so much more
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great ostfront memoir 13 Sep 2009
This is a well written memoir which is a page turner. The author gives a very frank and honest narrative of his experiences on the eastern front. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in the area of operation during the Second World War.
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