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The Forgotten Soldier [Paperback]

Guy Sajer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 1 Nov 2001 --  

Book Description

1 Nov 2001
This book recountsthe horror of World War II on the eastern front, as seen through the eyes of a teenaged German soldier. At first an exciting adventure, young Guy Sajer s war becomes, as the German invasion falters in the icy vastness of the Ukraine, a simple, desperate struggle for survival against cold, hunger, and above all the terrifying Soviet artillery. As a member of the elite Gross Deutschland Division, he fought in all the great battles from Kursk to Kharkov.His German footsoldier s perspective makes "The Forgotten Soldier" a unique war memoir, the book that the "Christian Science Monitor" said "may well be the book about World War II which has been so long awaited." Now it has been handsomely republished as a hardcover containing fifty rare German combat photos of life and death at the eastern front. The photos of troops battling through snow, mud, burned villages, and rubble-strewn cities depict the hardships and destructiveness of war. Many are originally from the private collections of German soldiers and have never been published before. This volume is a deluxe edition of a true classic.

Product details

  • Paperback: 476 pages
  • Publisher: Brassey's US (1 Nov 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574882864
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574882865
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,376,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
58 of 59 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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23 of 23 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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37 of 38 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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13 of 13 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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12 of 12 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars they loved it.
Bought this as a gift, they loved it.
Published 3 days ago by Progressive
5.0 out of 5 stars The forgotten soldier
Brill book could not put it down. Good to read war story from a German point of view. Opened my eyes
Published 2 months ago by Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read.
I have read thousands of books and this is one I always remember...I never complain about having to do certain things in life now...due to this book !!!!
Published 2 months ago by Tex Brave
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book.
It is a great pity I can not find other books by Guy Sajer.This is the fourth time I have read this true account written by a soldier "Who was actually THERE". Read more
Published 3 months ago by keith s sterling
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing
I love the book. It is really a first account from participant in East Front golgotha. It is almost unbelievable what human being can endure. Read more
Published 4 months ago by mtufo89
5.0 out of 5 stars The Russian front at it's most graphic
This book is about a german soldier's personal story on the Russian front in WW2. It does not try to explain the campaign, it just follows his experiences. Read more
Published 4 months ago by David Dobson
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good first person story about coping with war
This is the story of a young 17 year old recruit to the German army in 1942, until he left the army in 1945. Read more
Published 4 months ago by TVR-Andy
5.0 out of 5 stars There's always another side
I like to read the German side of events many innocents caught up in the machinery of one man's obsessive compulsive megalomania. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Andrew
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best
I found this a less than enthralling read. I often wonder when I read this type of book how the authors seem to remember the tiniest almost insignificant details of conversations... Read more
Published 5 months ago by metswedi
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't think you'll ever forget
A very bad war what a waste of young people a good read about life on the other side we don't hear much about the eastern front goes to show what governments can hide from us
Published 5 months ago by David Stevens d Stevens
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