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With Our Backs to Berlin [Paperback]

Tony le Tissier
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 Mar 2005
Based upon interviews with a wide-range of former German Army and SS soldiers, these unique personal episodes vividly depict the extraordinary circumstances of the Third Reich's final days as armies closed in from all sides. LeTissier's interviews link the brutality of combat with the humanity of the desperate battles.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; New Ed edition (24 Mar 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750937513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750937511
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 67,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Lt-Col Tony Le Tissier MBE served with the British Army's Royal Corps of Military Police intil 1977. He was British governor of the infamous Spandau Prison in Berlin from 1981-87. He lives in Frome.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good till the very last chapter 13 Dec 2005
Format:Paperback
I have just read this book in the paperback version and was impressed by it's presentation of the events leading to the fall of Berlin through the eyes of the (mainly)German soldiers. I particularly liked the way some of the accounts overlap and present differing perspectives of the same event, for example the attempted breakout from Berlin to the west in early May and the fighting for the Seelow Heights. For me it puts faces on those that are, for many accounts of the battle for Berlin, merely targets.
It is a shame therefore that chapter 12 blows the whole book out of the water with a yarn that makes The Old Lady Who Lives In A Shoe look like a hard hitting documentary on urban overcrowding.
In it, Sgt. Major Willi Rogmann of the SS begins his tale in February 1945 by telling Hitler, in the bunker, that the war is long since lost. Instead of being strung up from the nearest lamp post like most defeatists he is returned to his barracks.
Come April and the Russian offensive, his battalion commander begs him to join in the fight as he has an order from Hitler not to join in. Our heros' sense of duty gets the better of him and is assigned a group of bandsmen and told to form a mortar platoon. Unsurprisingly his men have no experience of heavy support weapons but off they go anyway. The newly formed section retire for a pre battle drinking session in their quarters only to have the party gatecrashed by an SS Brigadier who gets drunk and fills them in on the true situation in the bunker making our Willi the best informed squaddie in town.
In the morning they march up to the Reichs Chancellery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film-worthy Stuff! 6 Feb 2009
By Tony H
Format:Hardcover
This is an amazing book of accounts written, with one exception, by members of the small percentage of German soldiers who emerged relatively unscathed from the final battle for Berlin in 1945. Their stories sometimes seem to show unbelievable luck, until one realises that most of their comrades were not so lucky and were killed; a few survived and these are their stories.

As stated in the other revues, Willi Rogmann's account seems incredible. Yet he received medals for actions which were equally incredible and were fully documented. Writing as someone who spent 11 years in Germany and therefore has some understanding of the German psyche and social interactions, I believe Rogmann's story. The description is heavily flavoured by his opinions, of course, but it's clear that he was a uniquely positive-minded individual who simply never gave up trying 100% when most of us would have decided enough was enough. That saw him through where a great many others didn't make it.

It would make a heck of a film!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Get Distracted by the Last Chapter! 12 Sep 2006
Format:Hardcover
This is an excellent and gripping collection of first-hand accounts from former German Army and SS soldiers who were involved in the defence of their fatherland, mainly in the last few weeks of the war around Berlin. It provides many insights into the nature of loyalty, bravery and what is like to take place in desperate defence without any real hope of ultimate victory. It should be of interest to anyone interested in what is was like to serve in the German forces at that time.

It is true that the account given in the last chapter of the book "The Band of the Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler" by Willi Rogmann does seem a bit far-fetched in places. However in the Appendix the author does invite the reader to assess the credibility of his story. Rogmann's skill as a soldier and bravery are however matters of record, as documented in the Commendations detailed in the Appendix.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Depth of Knowledge 5 Oct 2008
Format:Hardcover
I have just read the book. The depth of knowledge was very impressive, and certainly tells it as it was, I can recommend this read to anyone,
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tons of short stories by German solders. 1 May 2013
By Ron
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is just a collection of German solders stories of the battle. Not too much information and some of the stories seem almost fictitious. Several of these guys make Rambo look bad. Nothing historical can be gained from this book.
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