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I found this book to be a very warm recollection of terrible times. As a reader I felt I had shared in Lubbeck's experience. His story is told at a late age so it is interesting to see what memories stand out, I also followed his post war life with interest, both because Lubbeck comes out as a likeable man and because post war Germany was a troubled land in dark times, the war was over but the hardships were not.

Lubbeck served with the 58th Infantry Division in Army Group North on the Eastern Front. His is the tale of a ambitious infantry soldier that was promoted to an officer in the crucible of war. The story provides a satisfactory explanation as to why German soldiers fought in 1944 and 1945, it also tells less glamorous stories of lice and dirt and how soldiers travelling home changed trains on the border and deloused before going further. This is also a story of an infantry man, who didn't ride a Tiger and walked into Russia while the baggage train and artillery were drawn by horses and R&R was a good bath and latrine.

It is the humanity of the story and the personality of William Lubbeck that stand out in the story. There is also a love story between Lubbeck and his future wife Annelise, their relationship while he was at the front, his worries about her during the allied bombings and her uncertainty of his fate at the front.

All in all a rewarding book.
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on 29 May 2007
An excellent firsthand account of combat in northern Russia. As a former infantryman, I appreciated his detailed descriptions of life at the front and the remarkable sequence of events that enabled him to survive the last few weeks of the war. The section describing life in East Germany right after the war, including a close encounter with a Soviet patrol, was also interesting. As an aside, I was impressed by the number of personal wartime photographs included with the narrative. Given the campaigns in which Lubbeck participated, it's remarkable that they survived. They're helpful in visualizing the situation within Lubbeck's unit.
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on 16 April 2007
I just finished William Lubbeck's At Leningrad's Gates. It was fantastic. I have read several good memoirs of the Russian Front, but Lubbeck's stands out as truly remarkable. His account of his experiences was refreshingly candid and provided great insight into the horrors suffered on both sides of the line. I highly recommend this book.
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on 13 June 2009
I got this after reading The Forgotten Soldier and Blood Red Snow, both brilliant books which I couldn't put down capturing the horrors of the actual fighting. It is a good book in its own right and the author is obviously a decent man. However, it is a long way away from those other books in terms of capturing the stark reality of the combat situation. If like me you've read those other books and are looking for more of the same then I don't think you'll find it in this book.
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on 11 February 2013
Although rather a sanitised version I always got the feeling this could have been written so much better especially as he spent so much time at the front.

The information of his family life as a child goes into minute detail at tmes,
and his epiloge to, is very cogent why not the bit in between?

I bought the book to read about his life at the Gates at of lenningrad
But lots of it was glossed over in phrases such as "after two weeks hard fighting we moved back"

I think his ghost writer could have got so much more
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on 13 September 2009
This is a well written memoir which is a page turner. The author gives a very frank and honest narrative of his experiences on the eastern front. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in the area of operation during the Second World War.
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on 26 June 2013
Slow to start, it is a humbling life story centered round the 2nd world war. He does not glorify war but merely mentions his activities and points of view. Clearly he was a brave intelligent man of honour and integrity which comes through in this book. I enjoyed this book and found it informative and interesting.
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on 3 November 2013
I read this book in one sitting. Once I had read it, I sat in contemplation and reached the following conclusions:-

1.) All soldiers are the same and, apart from place names, I am sure there are ex-Allied soldiers out there from WW2 who could have written the same story. It is a sad fact of life that the innocent and the youth do the fighting when the old and wiser citizens have cocked up - just look in one of the WW2 cemeteries. This situation is made worse, and more regrettable, when you consider that most wars are started by big egos wanting to feel more important - Blair being a case in point.

2.) I can not understand the negative comments to this book - saying is its not realistic, it is too sanitised, it does not cover the full story etc. The author was older than 80 at the time of writing and has probably, not unnaturally, erased some of the more unpleasant stuff from his mind. Plus, if he spent so much time at the front, it is possible he was not aware of other more unsavory activities taking place elsewhere. Perhaps the reviewers making these points should join their respective armies and try war for themselves. It is usually those that talk about blood and gore who run first.

3.) My overwhelming feeling at the end of this book is to wonder how such an honourable and decent human being could have come through six years of almost constant front line fighting. It does not bear thinking about and Mr Lubbeck's story probably applied to most soldiers in most nations.

I salute Mr Lubbeck and his type.
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on 15 July 2014
I enjoyed reading book. Very well written and I recommend the book to anyone interested in east west conflict during 2 word war.
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on 11 July 2013
Very interesting read. Pre and post war bits too. Details authors service in one of the best divisions in army group north.
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