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Frontsoldaten: German Soldier in World War II Paperback – 30 Jun 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: The University Press of Kentucky; Reprint edition (30 Jun. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813109434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813109435
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.3 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 143,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

""So readable as to be difficult to put down.... Should prove enlightening to students of German as well as military history."" -- "Virginia Quarterly Review"

About the Author

Stephen G. Fritz, professor of history at East Tennessee State University, is the author of "Ostkrieg: Hitler's War of Extermination in the East" and "Endkampf: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Death of the Third Reich."

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
Burrowed deep into the snowbound desolation of the late Russian winter, shaken and exhausted by the horrors of the "ghostly weeks of defensive battles" that had just passed, Gunter von Scheven in March 1942 nonetheless exalted the German Landser (foot soldier or infantry man). Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Feb. 2001
Format: Hardcover
I have read many books on world war 2. In most of them, you find military engagaments described on a map as advancing or retreating arrows, stylized squares representing units, dotted lines showing the front before and after, etc. Similarly, the text dwells on breakthroughs and advances, counterattacks, stubborn defence, retreat, new front established... This is the "view from above" of war, the aseptyc description of a chess game where we admire elegance of manouvre, brilliance, sometimes determination.
But what about the sweat, the blood, the fear or the men who ultimately had to climb out of their foxholes and attack? What made them stand their ground for years in conditions that defy imagination? This book gives a fantastic insight in the "view from below", on what war really was at the individual level for the average german infantryman (elite formations are excluded). The book relies mostly on letters, diary entries and autobiographical novels, and in this sense it can look fragmented or even repetitive sometimes, as it occasionally repeats some quotes or relies on a necessarily limited number of sources.
Still, the book is definitely worth reading. First, the choice of the subject is original and appropriate: the infantry represented the vast majority of the German armed forces, as opposed to the elite units (the armored divisions, the paras, the waffen SS) that have a received a disproportionate amount of attention.
Second, the book does a great job at describing the daily experience of war for the german soldier, using abundantly sources like Guy Sajer's "Forgotten Soldier" and Willi Heinrich's "Cross of Iron" (two great reads as well), but goes beyond that.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
Despite the lowered rating I gave this book (which was done simply due to the omission of the SS Landser in the historiography), Dr. Fritz wrote a book that poignantly explains the individual within the Wehrmacht, as opposed to the great leaders and poltical activists and fanatics. "Frontsoldaten" fills the gaps where any lack of understanding may exist as to who and what the German soldier was. Excellent reading.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Nov. 1998
Format: Paperback
An excellent collection of first hand accounts. Deals mainly with the traumas of the Eastern Front, and does much to dispel the myths of German Soldiers as unwilling participants in this murderous clash of competing idealogies. Also notable is the intellectual depth of the average Landser. The literary skill with which they relay their experiences makes for interesting reading. The only criticism I have of the book is the poor editing evidenced by repetition of many of the quote passages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DavyA TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 May 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an informative read & gives a vivid snapshot of the trials & tribulations of the German soldier in the second world war.
The text is punctuated with quotes from letters, diaries & other first hand accounts of life in the German army.
This is not as powerful as Sajer's "The Forgotten Soldier" (which is quoted widely throughout) but then it is not a personal recollection, in the same way as Sajer's book is.
It's an interesting attempt to describe & analyse the lot of the German foot soldier.Looking at a variety of subjects including their motivations,their training, their perspectives on the war & their recollections of lost comrades.
I did find it interesting that the author chose to quote Heinrich's "Cross Of Iron" (what next Sven Hassel ?)
An interesting read, although, if you have read any first hand accounts, particularly, as I have already mentioned, that of Sajer, it may suffer in comparison.
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