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The Forgotten Soldier (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) [Kindle Edition]

Guy Sajer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)

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Book Description

An international bestseller, this is a German soldier's first-hand account of life on Russian front during the second half of the Second World War.



When Guy Sajer joins the infantry full of ideals in the summer of 1942, the German army is enjoying unparalleled success in Russia. However, he quickly finds that for the foot soldier the glory of military success hides a much harsher reality of hunger, fatigue and constant deprivation. Posted to the crack Grosse Deutschland division, with its sadistic instructors who shoot down those who fail to make the grade, he enters a violent and remorseless world where all youthful hope is gradually ground down, and all that matters is the brute will to survive. As the biting cold of the Russian winter sets in, and the tide begins to turn against the Germans, life becomes an endless round of pounding artillery attacks and vicious combat against a relentless and merciless Red Army. A book of stunning force, this is an unforgettable reminder of the horrors of war.



Product Description

Review

"Must be read. . . . An enduring indictment of the evil of war and what it does to man."

Book Description

The powerful chronicle of a young German soldier trapped in the vast, faceless anonymity of total war, hailed as the most powerful indictment of war since ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Forgotten Soldier - not to be forgotten. 26 Dec. 2003
By Adam
Format:Paperback
If like me you are a little nervous picking up books about war and think that they may only glorify the great scale of battles, victories and tactics then I would recommend the Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer. This book is a first person account of life on the eastern front from the perspective of a young, naive man, which simultaneously depicts the fall of nazi Germany and the destruction of the illusions of the German people.
When, as the teenage son of a French father and a German Mother Sajer signs up to join the German army, his enthusiasm for war is unbounded. However, three years of experience in the either scorched or frozen desolation of wartime eastern Europe reveals an unremitting crushing of his idealism. From the cruel army regime and its sometimes deadly training approach, through frostbite, starvation and the slaughter of friends, enemy and innocents, this account graphically reveals the true horror of war.
Many of the scenes in the book will haunt the reader for days afterwards. The sense of futility and the suspension of reason in the mad world of war grows throughout the book and the reader is drawn in deep; to the extent that you genuinely feel like you are sharing in the experience.
This book deserves to be compulsory reading for anyone who is interested in twentieth century history. It is worth a hundred dry historical accounts and demonstartes above all the power of the individual as a witness to a world and circumstances out of his control.
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59 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Forgotten Soldier 8 Jan. 2003
By Dave
Format:Paperback
This is truly a superb book, far surpassing anything in print today. The author (Guy Sajer) portrays the hopes and fears of the average soldier of the German Wehrmacht during the most epic and hostile conflict in human history. Unfortunately our soldier joins the struggle during mid-1942, the turning point of the war. As the vision of victory slowly subsides into the realisation of defeat, the author’s interpretation of modern warfare as desensitisation separates him from the sufferings of others. The comradeship of his unit and the immense acts of bravery by fellow soldiers offer a truly inspiring scene. This piece of literature gives a clear insight into the mind of those who continued to fight regardless of knowledge that the war was already lost. The account of the battle of Memel is horrifically illustrative. For anyone with the slightest interest in the war on the Eastern Front, read this book.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I have never been the fastest of readers yet I managed to digest this book's 500 odd pages in a couple of days. I was unable to put it down and have never been so addicted to a book.
Sajer describes in great detail his hopes and dreams which desend into fear and loathing and then into nothingness after spending too many years fighting the Russians and seeing the majority of his comrades killed in a savage fashion before his eyes.
I never thought I would feel real pity for the Germans who fought for Hitler but this book has managed to bring that emotion out in me. It has made me realised that whilst Nazi Germany brought misery on millions of non Germans it also inflicted that same misery on the Germans themselves, many of whom also didn't want war. Although I am sure I will never fully understand what happens to people during war without experiencing it myself this book goes part way to explain it. I hope I never live through anything like this.
This book is a must, even if you do not normally read war based books this one makes it worthwhile. A truely harrowing, sad book that everyone should read.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is an almost unbelievable account of life at the front line on the Eastern Front from the winter of 1942 through to the retreat along the Baltic coast of Prussia in 1945. Sajer gives a strong feeling of the suffering felt by the average German solder fighting to survive in Russia. I found the book hard to put down. My only critisms would be that no information is given about the author's life either before, or after the war. In addition, a short summary of the events he was involved in would have made things clearer to the reader (although Sajer points out that German soldiers often had little idea of what was really going on during the war).
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
A spellbinding book in which Guy Sajer vivdly recalls his own personal fight for survival on the Eastern Front during WWII. Sajer, a half French Half German volunteered to serve in the German Army when he was still too young to understand what war was about, his book vivdly illustrates how he discovered over his three years on the Eastern Front just what he'd let himself in for.No punches are pulled in this masterpiece, every terrifying, gruesome agonising moment is included as he describes how the simple soldier clung to his own life. The inhumane existence of soldiers on both sides is described with all it's lice-ridden detail and the reader will be left with compassion for anyone brave enough to keep going in what must have been a living hell.I finished this book and turned back to page one to start reading it again, after sharing Sajer's experiences with him.......you'll come away feeling different...maybe even shell-shocked. Everyone should read this masterpiece!
I defy anyone to put this down once started!
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