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Devil's Guard Hardcover – Mar 1972


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Hardcover, Mar 1972
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: New English Library Ltd (Mar. 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0450011453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0450011450
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,420,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Tristan Martin VINE VOICE on 22 Nov. 2007
Format: Hardcover
In The Devil's Guard, author George Robert Elford has compiled the shocking testimony of an unrepentant Nazi mercenary, fighting for the French Foreign Legion in Indochina. The Devil's Guard follows SS Officer Hans Josef Wagemueller, from fighting the Russians on the eastern front at the end of World War II, through a training period with the French Foreign Legion and finally to prolonged and intense combat in the jungles of southeast Asia.

The book is in essence a confessional, though perhaps with the antagonist bearing no guilt, only a desire to reveal man's inhumanity to man, in its rawest and most unexpurgated terms. This ultimately means that the reader is confronted with chapter after chapter of how a Nazi and his platoon of fellow ideologues fought, shot, bayoneted, tortured and poisoned the Viet Minh; these scenes are depicted in their unflinching brutality in a way seldom captured by purveyors of war-memoirs, whether they be the literati of the late Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead, or Andy McNab's tale of dubious authenticity, Bravo Two Zero.

The Devil's Guard does indeed have the whiff of verisimilitude, not to mention sulphur. However, the book is an "as told to" story, whereby Wagemueller met the author in a bar in the capital city of a small, unnamed Asian country - and then dictated this testament into a microphone over the subsequent eighteen days. As such, the book is entirely uncorroborated, as far as I can determine. If it is fiction, it is an exceptional rendering. If, as this reader believes, the story is essentially true, then author George Robert Elford has succeeded in capturing a remarkable document. A book such as this is a rare artefact indeed. Bloody, uncompromising, disturbingly vicious, relentlessly compelling, The Devil's Guard is a shocking revelation, unmatched in its intensity.
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57 of 63 people found the following review helpful By S L Locker on 11 April 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I FIRST READ THIS BOOK WHILST SERVING IN THE FALKLAND ISLANDS MANY YEARS AGO. IT HAD BEEN LEFT THERE BY A PREVIOUS OCCUPANT. I READ IT TWICE AND THEN, BECAUSE OF MY ENTHUSIASM, LENT IT TO SOMEONE WHO DID NOT RETURN IT. SINCE THEN I HAVE SEARCHED HIGH AND LOW FOR THIS FANTASTIC, ENGROSSING READ. IT REALLY GIVES YOU AN ACCURATE INSIGHT INTO, WHAT SOME MIGHT SAY IS A FORGOTTEN WAR, A CHAPTER THAT SOME AUTHORITY FIGURES MAY NOT WANT TO BE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE. AS YOU READ THIS, YOU FEEL AS THOUGH YOU KNOW THE CHARACTERS, YOU FEEL THIER PAIN, SENSE THIER FRUSTRATIONS AND FEEL SORROW AT THIER LOSSES. THE BLACK HUMOUR DISPLAYED BY THE SUBJECTS IS SHARED WITH THE MILITARY FORCES OF TODAY. THIS IS THE STORY OF HANS JOSEF WAGEMULLER AND HIS FELLOW KOPFJAEGER AND I TRULY WISH I HAD A COPY, AND COPYS OF THE SEQUEL WHICH I DID NOT KNOW EXISTED UNTIL COMING ON LINE TONIGHT. CONGRATULATIONS MR ELFORD, I THOUROGHLY ENJOYED EVERY SECOND.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By History Geek on 30 Nov. 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Following the end of the Second World War, a group of SS soldiers escaped and ended up fighting in Vietnam as part of the French Foreign Legion. What follows is a brutal and graphic description of jungle warfare. This book is presented as non-fiction, the result of a chance meeting between the author and the main character in south-east Asia which led to eighteen days of interviewing. Whether that is the case, or alternatively it is all a work of fiction, is still disputed. If this book is non-fiction, it is sensationalised and exaggerated, written with the benefit of hindsight to portray the SS soldiers in the best possible light. If it is fiction, it is a thorough and well-researched account of jungle warfare. Historians are not going to use this - there are too many question marks over its reliability for this to be a useful historical record. But for a gripping tale of war and survival in Vietnam, whether true or not, there are few better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By die Kriegshund on 24 Mar. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read this book some years ago.

Reading it again I find myself unable to accept the story, as I originally did, as pure factual history. I am left trying to decide if the events re-counted ever happened or if the happened exactly as written or if a certain amount of 'artistic license' has occurred.

REgardless of the answer it is a good, well-written story and the comments regarding the reasons for the ultimate defeat of the French in Indo-china should have sounded a clarion call to the US in Viet-Nam, proving to be horrendously prophetic.
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By R. Devenney on 8 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I would suggest you take any historic fact from this book with a pinch of salt as there is several conflicting and confusing reports of former SS troops serving at that time with the Legion but once you see past this and take the work as fiction it really was a superb read and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in military history or Vietnam of that era.

The writer is very skilled in making you feel sorry at times for the evil SS which I was surprised at. He is also skilled at telling a very gripping story of jungle warfare and the various weapons and tactics used and he has clearly some personal military history himself or he has done his homework very well.

It's been a very long time since I have purchased a Kindle book that I looked forward to every night before bed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. G. Lang on 15 July 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Marketed as fact but obviously fiction. Maybe I'm cynical but some detail didn't feel right and the body count was obviously in the realms of fantasy. Couldn't help but feel there was a touch of fascist propaganda as well.
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