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83 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling and moving autobiography
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...
Published on 31 Jan. 2011 by J. Gibson

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars non fiction? more like fantasy
Are we really meant to believe this fairytale? What a disappointing book, as an ex member of the Royal Green Jackets I had hoped for more.
Published 3 months ago by Scaramouche


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83 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling and moving autobiography, 31 Jan. 2011
By 
J. Gibson (Somerset) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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19 of 19 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 "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rifleman, 30 Oct. 2011
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EMOTIVE MEMOIRS, 12 April 2012
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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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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars radio interview, 26 Feb. 2011
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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
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This review is from: Rifleman: A Front-Line Life from Alamein and Dresden to the Fall of the Berlin Wall (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book about war and its personal effects., 2 April 2012
By 
M. Roberts - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rifleman, 25 Nov. 2011
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The Reality of War, 13 Feb. 2015
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I actually read this book some 3 years before writing this review but have just had my memory jogged after hearing Victor being interviewed on Radio 5Live. The reason for the interview was the 75th Anniversary of the Dresden Bombing,which Victor as a P.O.W. witnessed first hand.This book,and Victor's description,stunned and horrified me.The interview,during which he didn't mention his book incidentally,was even more powerful and the Broadcasters delayed the news report by 7 minutes so powerful and emotional were his words.
The bombing is only part of the book,the fascinating and moving story of Victor's life as a P.O.W.but inevitably it's the part that will stay in most people's minds afterwards,not least Victor showing the good side of many of "the enemy" and his views on those who send others to war.
This is a book that really affected me and every time I hear the usual 5 second soundbite about the latest bombing raid by someone,somewhere over some perceived grievance,fight over lines on a piece of paper or a disagreement over which way of worshipping the same God might be best.At those times,usually after 3 minutes on Beckham's latest hairstyle or something really important about some reality tv show, I think of Victor's
description of the reality and brutality of warfare and I share his views of those who profit from it in any way,politically or financially.
A very important book as well as an interesting one.I had no idea Victor Gregg was still alive but his radio interview was powerful stuff and attracted a lot of positive comment from listeners,many of whom I suspect don't think past the headlines from various parts of the globe every time our glorious leaders see bombing everything as the answer.
Fascinating book by a fascinating man.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rifleman: A Front-Line Life, 21 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Rifleman: A Front-Line Life from Alamein and Dresden to the Fall of the Berlin Wall (Paperback)
I recommend this book, (difficult to put down). My uncle was in the 8th army in North Africa and seems to have had a similar route as Vic Gregg from North Africa to Europe, Arnhem then on to Palestine. One can read the history of the campaigns written by the Generals, very interesting, but for me `Real History' like `Real Politics' is written by regular Men and Women such as Vic Gregg. He painted a vivid picture, I began to understand better the terror and at the same time the irony that he and other brave men had to face in the `Front Line Life', at one time exchanging English cigarettes for bottles of snaps with German soldiers, during night patrols - then later machine-gunning German soldiers that had been ordered to attack over open desert knowing that next time it could be him and his comrades attacking over open desert and then the hand-to-hand fighting. At Arnhem the German soldier, whom no one shot at, sat in the middle of the road calling for his mum, against the brutal carnage of killing that was Arnhem, the humour of mixing cement in with the soap during his captivity working at a German soap factory and then bombing of Dresden, his bravery in helping to save some of the victims and his comments about the bombing. A salute to Vic Gregg for his courage, the sacrifices made for his country and for sharing his story.
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