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Rifleman: A Front-Line Life from Alamein and Dresden to the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Rifleman: A Front-Line Life from Alamein and Dresden to the Fall of the Berlin Wall [Kindle Edition]

Rick Stroud , Victor Gregg
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Completely fascinating. This feels like one of the last voices of a vital generation. For the first-hand account of the Dresden fire-bombing alone, this is gripping reading. It has an immediate power throughout that makes war fiction a pale shadow of the real thing' (Conn Iggulden)

'Second World War memoirs are commonplace, but very few soldiers had Victor Gregg's breadth and depth of experience. Rifleman is a thrilling story of a young man in extraordinary circumstances. Yet what makes Gregg's story so enthralling is how he was shaped by his wartime experiences and primed an eventful - and dangerous - life behind the Iron Curtain. Rifleman is an outstanding book that deserves to become a classic' (Lloyd Clark, author of Arnhem)

'Many people performed extraordinary feats of bravery and lived through an astonishing array of campaigns during the long years of the Second World War, yet few can have seen more action than Rifleman Victor Gregg. His hugely entertaining and often moving memoir is as action-packed as any fiction, and yet this is no novel - Gregg's adventures were real. His is truly an astonishing story' (James Holland, author of The Battle of Britain and Fortress Malta)

'Gregg's description of the bombing of Dresden is possibly one of the most shocking accounts of warfare you will ever read ...his memoir is a gripping life-story: an incident-packed account of heartache, violence and cunning by a man whose will to survive and unbreakable optimism are a true inspiration' (Independent)

Book Description

The astonishing life of a young working-class man who fought throughout Second World War from Alamein to the invasion of Sicily, was captured at Arnhem and as a POW survived the Allied bombing raid on Dresden

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 633 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing; 1 edition (7 Feb 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TSCAB6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,707 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
81 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling and moving autobiography 31 Jan 2011
This is a first-rate autobiography by a working class man, born in 1919, who became a soldier and experienced war in North Africa, Italy and Germany. His description of the firestorming of Dresden makes you feel as if you are part of it with him and it is, truly, a miracle that he survived to tell the tale. He was then taken prisoner of war and liberated by the Russians. After the war, in chapters worthy of John le Carre, he worked for the Soviets in London. This is not, however, a mere recounting of facts, however ironic - nor does Victor Gregg seek to blow his own trumpet. He does not see himself as any kind of hero. Nor was he, although he undoubtedly had guts. I think what I like most about this book is how the author's voice comes through loud and clear, often laughing at himself, often tinged with remorse. At the end of the book, you feel that you have met this man - he is real.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Persoanl history on a global scale 25 April 2011
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Life as they say can be stranger than fiction and that's exactly what occurs within this autobiographical story by Victor Gregg who tells of his life experiences during the Second World War, from marching in Africa through Italy as well as being an eyewitness to the devastation of Dresden.

It's beautifully written and brings a human personal look to events that are pretty static and impersonal in the history books. Add to this a good understanding of pace, a solid comprehension of keeping it linear and it's a tale that should be passed on to others to read. With so much of recent history being lost with the elderly generation we need to get these stories down so that when the last one passes the stories are there otherwise we'll be left with a history that has no connection, cold and sterile.

Add to this events in his life after the war and it's a tale that will have many an author scrabbling to create an equally large as life character.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rifleman 30 Oct 2011
By Ofah
This is a fascinating, enthralling and compelling book. I read it in pretty much one sitting. Victor Gregg has done and achieved so much in his lifetime that it is almost impossible to believe, but it is all true.
There is enough material in this book for a television series, let alone a film. He showed compassion, courage, grit and determination. A humble man who was at the epicentre of so many notable events. I urge anyone to read this book.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars radio interview 26 Feb 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This review is a slight cheat, as I am buying the book on the strength of a remarkable interview with the author on today's "Saturday Live" programme [26th February 2011]. He comes across as an extraordinary person - he says himself that some of the things he did [such as [for fun] substituting cement powder for the powdered pumice being made into 'soap' in the factory where he worked as prisoner of war in Germany - and which naturally set solid, and caused all the electrics to blow in the absence of fuses... this earned him the death sentence] were 'mad'. But his vivid re-telling of events including the Dresden firestorm, don't allow us ever to imagine that war was just another story.

It ought to be standard reading for schools, perhaps, to see what war is - not something that exists in a book, or a game on a console, but something frightening, shocking and dangerous: to be avoided wherever peace can be given the chance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Book 18 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a superb book for so many reasons.

The story itself is fascinating. It reads almost like a pulp novel but is wholly factual. Written by the author, about the author, it pulls no punches in telling his story from age 18 to age 90. It deals with his time as a soldier including his involvement in Alamein and Market Garden, his time as a POW, and his witnessing of the bombing of Dresden which left him a changed man. His marriage and the birth of his children, his divorce and remarriage, his work as a spy, his involvement in the fall of the Iron Curtain, and his feelings regarding all of these events.

It is a book that you will find hard to not read in a single sitting.

Be careful though, you may find yourself getting a little emotional at times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EMOTIVE MEMOIRS 12 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I started reading this book and felt humbled by the strength of this man's character for, without people like him, we would not have "won" the war. He comes across as an uncomplicated man [in a good way] and his attitude to the bombing of Dresden is commendable. War is ugly, there can never be an excuse to bomb places like that and his description of this bombing left me deeply sad for its inhabitants. Victor Gregg seems to be the sort of man who thrives on excitement and change and this is how his book comes across. Unfortunately for him this attitude cost him his first marriage but he felt he'd learnt lessons from that. An excellent read if you are interested in people generally [as I am]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rifleman 25 Nov 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I have met Vic as I served 15 years in the Royal Green Jackets long after he retired of course but as the association webmaster have contact with the old and bold. I never realised what a really interesting story he had to tell. Well done Vic !!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable account of a very special life.
Victor Gregg does not pull any punches, whether describing the violence of the war in which he played a full part, his disgust at what all sides in that war did to innocent civilians and children, or his own faults in his personal life.
I have read many accounts of the war actions in some of which my own father took part, as well as books about brave, lucky and cheeky chancers, such as Agent Zigzag.
I believe this is the most telling of all the books about WW2 I have read.
Truly moving. I challenge anyone to read of his final moments with his first wife, without tears in their eyes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 12 days ago by Vulcanalia
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Well informed
Published 20 days ago by Linda Mckay
5.0 out of 5 stars much like his life I suppose - war years and post ...
Compelling read. Book of two halves, much like his life I suppose - war years and post war. Even though account of front line action is so vividly portrayed, nothing will ever... Read more
Published 1 month ago by sharon brown
5.0 out of 5 stars The incredible story of a courageous man
I have just finished this most incredible story of the adventures of a very courageous individual - fortunately he was on our side - will we see the likes of men like this again? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steve Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read!
Published 1 month ago by A. G. Stout
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredible.
The best biographical WW2 story I have read. Rick Stroud is a wily Tommy with an instinct for survival, soldiering and mischief that takes him through some of the toughest theatres... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alex Harden
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Book
Just read it. You will finish this book within two days, but will remember it forever. All would-be Tony Blairs listen to this man's message.
Published 2 months ago by Les Gilbert
5.0 out of 5 stars More then just a story
this book is not about the glory of war but about survival then regret then peace. I recommend this as a really great story.
Published 2 months ago by Stephen
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational story, by an incredible man
Easily the best first hand account of a British infantryman of the war. The book is well written and thoroughly engaging throughout, and the scope of what Victor went through... Read more
Published 3 months ago by M. Paddock
4.0 out of 5 stars Soldiering from a different viewpoint
It started like many war expereince books but quickly became different in being more personal and more open. Read more
Published 3 months ago by david rogers
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