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Dresden: A Survivor's Story (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Victor Gregg
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In 2011, Victor Gregg published Rifleman about his time on the front line in World War II, but the experience of writing this memoir sparked long buried memories of his experience in Dresden.

In four air raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 772 Lancaster bombers of the British Royal Air Force and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on Dresden. The resulting firestorm destroyed 15 square kilometres, or 6 square miles, of the city centre. 25,000 people, mostly civilians, were estimated to have been killed. Post-war discussion of whether or not the attacks were justified has led to the bombing becoming one of the moral issues of the Second World War.

An established soldier turning his uniform to the 10th Parachute Regiment in 1944, Victor Gregg was captured at Arnhem where he volunteered to be sent to a work camp rather than become another faceless number in the huge POW camps. With two failed escape attempts under his belt, Gregg was eventually caught sabotaging a factory and sent for execution.

Gregg’s first-hand narrative, personal and punchy, sees him through the trauma and carnage of the Dresden bombing. After the raid he spent five days helping to recover a city of innocent civilians, thousands of whom had died in the fire storm, trapped underground in human ovens. As order was restored his life was once more in danger and he escaped to the east, spending the last weeks of the war with the Russians.

Harrowing and vivid, Gregg draws us in to the heart-wrenching, often futile attempts to save lives, and the tentative friendships and near-misses along the way.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2765 KB
  • Print Length: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Reader; 1 edition (13 Feb. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #23,206 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Any of my words are inadequate 13 Feb. 2013
This is only the equivalent of 36 print pages in length, but the brevity is part of what makes this account so stunning. The product information sets the scene. Mr Gregg describes the destruction of Dresden in straightforward terms. This is very, very disturbing stuff - but it should be read. I can only imagine that Mr Gregg had the mental fortitude to get through these experiences because six years of war had hardened him to sights of appalling horror. 68 years ago today the Allies launched their attack that killed 25,000 civilians in an inferno that was planned to be totally devastating - and was. Despite Mr Gregg's assertion that he is not a pacifist, this is the most powerful piece of anti-war writing that I have ever read.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and shocking 14 Feb. 2013
By HamishS
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This is a truly shocking first hand account of the events of that terrible night during which Dresden was reduced to ashes. I like the rather naive style of writing, it made me feel as if I were sitting with the author, listening to him first hand. Having read several accounts of the bombing of this city, this certainly is the most disturbing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important memoir 9 Feb. 2015
Dresden: A Survivor's Story is the brief memoir of Victor Gregg, a British soldier who, at the time the firestorm was ignited, was being held prisoner in Dresden. Managing to escape both the bombs and the prison by sheer good fortune, he then remained for the next few days helping as much as he was able with the immediate rescue efforts. This memoir is written very much as I think it would have been spoken. It is not great literature and there is a sprinkling of typos, but I think it has a far more immediate power through being so direct. I would be interested to learn if an audio version is also to be made available.

Gregg's memories encompass both the mundane and the horrific. He describes scenes that are almost impossible to comprehend and for him and the other witnesses to have lived with the memories of such sights without losing their sanity is incredible. We were taught about WW2 at school, but I don't remember Dresden getting a mention. It doesn't fit with our British view of ourselves as the conquering heroes. Gregg addresses this paradox at the end of his memoir calling for some law to prevent any reoccurrence of such civilian slaughter. In common with my thoughts after having read The Rape Of Nanking, I am left bewildered and horrified at the capability, seemingly existing in all humans, to destroy each other.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dresden a survivor's story 1 Mar. 2013
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This is a startling piece of humane, autobiographical writing from the perspective of a British army Prisoner of War who was being held in Dresden when the bombing occurred in 1945. Through the experience of being required to assist in the rescue and recovery of civilian victims, the compassion and humanity of the soldier surges into life.The credibilty of the writer's experience is both sobering and inspiring and raises important questions about the nature of war and it excesses.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing!! 17 Feb. 2013
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This brief account of the bombing of Dresden gives an insight into the horrors of war. In my opinion it should not provide an opportunity to judge, as war on any scale is far too complex for such determinations. But the reader will be left with a glimpse of both the suffering and indeed the camaraderie that emerges from these dreadful situations. Everyone should read this. Well done Victor your actions make proud to be British.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hell remembered 26 Feb. 2013
Simply essential reading for all with any touch of humanity, this heartbreaking bag of memories wields a great deal of power. His conclusions are so obvious - would that more of those in power would take them to heart.
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By x6gas
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What can you say about this account?

As a schoolboy I studied the bombing and almost total destruction of Dresden - an historic city with little military value - with horror and shame that my own country - the good guys - had orchestrated such a heinous terror attack.

I share the authors respect for the brave airmen of the RAF and USAF; this was not their crime. But "Bomber" Harris should have been investigatedg for war crimes. Too late for that, but not too late for the UK to issue a formal apology for the destruction of Dresden and the mass slaughter of tens of thousands of innocents.

This short book is a sobering and horrific first hand account of that terrible event. I would suggest that it should be mandatory reading for every school child, but perhaps it is simply too horrific....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Short and sharp 7 Feb. 2015
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
This is a short and sharp account of the Dresden bombings told by a British POW held in a camp just outside the city. While it's a clear-sighted re-telling of this controversial action which targeted a civilian population to intentionally cause terror amongst the Germans, it's barely more than a serious magazine article in length (27 pages).

Definitely worth reading but do make sure you know what you're getting - this is the length of a short story not a book.

(T received a review copy via Netgalley)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
quite shocked by the amount of carnage. well written
Published 23 days ago by old girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Remarkable review of experiences.
Published 23 days ago by Mavis Howard
5.0 out of 5 stars Very clear account.
I saw Vic on the BBC talking about the anniversary of Dresden, not once did he plug his books, I googled his name and saw that he had released several memoirs, this book tells... Read more
Published 24 days ago by harry hamlin
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this horrifying story of being under the nightmare bombing ...
Read this horrifying story of being under the nightmare bombing of Dresden. Short but bitter. If you think any bombing of civilians is justified, read this and judge whether the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Robin
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
This 'book' is only a dozen pages long. Not worth buying or reading.
Published 1 month ago by Mr K G Baddley
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating
Opened my eyes to my grandfathers suffering(I read it on the 13th feb 2015) respect to all and rip to those lost in the war
Published 1 month ago by fiona
5.0 out of 5 stars A shocking yet essential read
A well written and thought provoking narrative - also somewhat disturbing.
Published 1 month ago by Anthony P
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Chilling that we were able to inflict such inhumanity to our fellow man in my lifetime!
Published 2 months ago by Tam O' Shanter
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant.
Very thought provoking indeed from the perspective of an eye witness. Also shows the futility of War in many respects, the killing of innocents and the ease to which combatants... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Armchair Explorer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very interesting terrible devastation
Published 3 months ago by Millicent Goode
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