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Forgotten Soldier Paperback – 1 Jan 1988


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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (1 Jan 1988)
  • ISBN-10: 0722175868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0722175866
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 11.7 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (232 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,258,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Must be read. . . . An enduring indictment of the evil of war and what it does to man." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Adam on 26 Dec 2003
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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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Dave on 8 Jan 2003
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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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "smccoull" on 15 Dec 2003
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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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Oct 2000
Format: Paperback
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 on 14 Aug 1999
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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