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

Guy Sajer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (241 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 Deutchland 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


"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
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
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
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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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I am able to review this early as I have unearthed an old edition. This book quite literally lives with you from the moment you open it, to the moment you finish...and then a bit longer. The story of a half-french, 17 year-old from Alsace takes you from his misguided decision to volunteer for military service, with the Nazi-German army, through the bloodiest, most ruthless and savage campaigns of the Eastern-Front. The sheer brutality, wretchedness and loss of reasonable hope is bewildering. The close knit team that develops and the esprit de corps of the Grosse Deutschland Division is inspirational. The gore and carnage they endure and inflict is awe inspiring. Such is the fierce reality of the writing, the images of battle and of frozen death, that I ended up having to keep reading until Guy Sajer (this is autobiographical) was in relative safety and comfort. I could not "leave him". Read it, you will then know what I mean. Whatever political persuasion you belive in or stand for, no 17 year old should be made to endure this. I cannot recommend a book more highly. Forget Blitzkrieg, this is Blitz-education. It batters your senses. Thank God my 5 years in the Army never came to this.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 6 days ago by Snoops
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good book chilling story
Published 15 days ago by Biggles
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
It will haunt you like nothing you have ever read.
Published 21 days ago by Michael Arch
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! I haven't read too many WW2 books
Brilliant! I haven't read too many WW2 books, but am sure this one would be in the top ranks. Couldn't leave it for a minute.
Published 1 month ago by Sachin
4.0 out of 5 stars The authenticity of this has apparently been questioned and there ...
The authenticity of this has apparently been questioned and there are times when you wonder if it's real (maybe influenced by the rumours). Read more
Published 2 months ago by Micheal O'Connell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book - a replacement for one i lent a friend!!
Published 2 months ago by tenpin
5.0 out of 5 stars A benchmark for all memoirs to be measured against.
I have always had an interest in reading about the experiences of WW2 from the other side of the coin. Read more
Published 2 months ago by stu park
5.0 out of 5 stars You .need to read this book
If you think things were getting you down, you'll soon see just how trivial they really are. You cannot possibly imagine the horrors this man has endured.
Published 2 months ago by stuartmeikle
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by gary bates
5.0 out of 5 stars The best WW2 memoir I've read
From an avid reader of world war 2 memoirs, this is by far the best I've read. A breathtaking book; the experiences he and his friends went through are simply unimaginable. Read more
Published 3 months ago by David Ings
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