on 3 December 2012
The "rarity" of such titles, memoirs of Waffen SS foreign Volunteer's, make this book by Verton all the more appealing. Though lacking the "flair" of fellow Volunteer Leon Degrelle and his "Campaign in Russia", Verton describes his wartime experiences with great clarity, and importantly with refreshing honesty! His continued post war allegiances with former Waffen SS comrades portray a man with comradely virtues and a firm sense of honour. Of interest to both military historians and European history too, Verton's book is very worhty of my 4 star rating.
on 22 November 2015
I've read a few books written by foreign volunteers in the waffen SS and although it follows a familiar pattern it still has enough to distinguish itself from other accounts. The author is very much an apologist for the Germans and seeks to justify his enlistment into the SS by giving his version of history concerning the start of both the first and second world wars. Whilst I have some sympathy with his veiw that the conditions of the versailles treaty were so harsh that another war was inevitable I think his reasons behind the start of WW1 are completely incorrect. He does ask one important question that had always mystified me , if Britain declared war on Germany for invading Poland why didn't they declare war on Russia at the same time ? The authors pride at serving in the SS in what he saw as a crusade against communism shines through the text continually , and in the context of the times I can understand that. Even Churchill had declared that the greatest threat to western democracy was communist Russia , how ironic then that we ended up as allies for the duration of the war even if this this did end abruptly after WW2. What I found a little strange was when at a certain point he describes the red army as being the "largest army of aggression the world had ever seen " pitched against the " defenders of the Reich " . Bearing in mind that the German army was still firmly planted in Russia at the time ( ie not their own country ! ) you would have to question who exactly had an army of "aggression " and who was defending their homeland. The author would no doubt counter this by pointing out that Russia was poised to attack Germany but the Germans got in first. Of course the Russians showed plenty of aggression once over the German border and whilst they did behave very badly I still find it difficult to beleive that the author thinks the Germans wre entirely innocent . The author goes into great detail about the brutality displayed by the Poles after the war and had I not read "savage continent" before this book I would have found it hard to believe , however I think he paints an accurate picture even if it is , at times , at odds with the version pushed by the victors. Clearly a man of his convictions who had tried to lead his life in accordance with the motto of the SS " my honour is loyalty " and in the end I couldn't help admiring him. All in all an important historical document well worth a read