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4.3 out of 5 stars173
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on 19 November 2006
A very good read, well written and fascinating. Follows a German sniper's war from the eastern front to the end of the war and his homecoming. A great insight into the thoughts and fears of German soldier and the horrors of any conflict. A well researched and factually rich account that isn't disjointed like so many accounts. There are a few horrific accounts of atrocities committed by the Soviets and an acceptance that such acts occurred on both sides. A very human account that made me hope, as I read that Sepp's storey would have a happy ending for him. Highly recommended.
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on 16 January 2006
The sniper is one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood figures in warfare, and this vivid first hand account helps to give an important insight into the role they play and the reactions they evoke amongst comrades and enemies. The Eastern Front was the scene of some of the most vicious fighting of the war, with the Russians and Germans each losing millions of soldiers, not to mention the countless civilian casualties, and in these conditions humanity and ethics were often abandoned in favour of survival.
Sepp Allerberger, a self-taught sniper specialist in the German Wehrmacht, fought for over a year against the Russians, from inside Russia back to the Reich, and his memoirs give a brutally honest and compelling view of this conflict.
Following his life from the time he was conscripted to when he finally arrived home after the war ended, it tracks the friends he made and lost, and the battles he fought in during which he was wounded numerous times and won several medals. It is a rare example of an account of war, not only because the accounts of snipers themselves are so rare, but also because German soldiers from the time rarely publish accounts outside their own country. The book is important in this respect for dispelling the ideas held about german soldiers fo the time, and German snipers in particular. While Allied snipers, especially in the Russian Army, are often held up as glorious heroes and heroines, their German counterparts are often depicted as sly, evil assassins, and this book demonstrates that the truth was nothing of the sort.
There is nothing left out for fear of being too candid; from the torure and rape of civilians and wounded soldiers by the Red Army to the ad hoc executions of suspected spies by the SS, death is a constant and defining feature of the book. Make no mistake; this is not for someone who is easily upset or squemish, but without the poignant examples witnessed by Allerberger, this would not be the same book.
A unique and thoroughly enlightening book, it is not exactly relaxing, but was never meant to be. A view of war through the eyes of a sniper on the losing side is such a rare thing, and this is so vividly written that it cannot fail but leave an impression.
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on 17 February 2006
Ok so this book was a must buy when I saw it on, I was however disapointed. To start its a very very short read 146 pages which hardley seems enough for one of the German Army's top snipers memoirs, further more this book is NOT written by Josef Sepp Allergerger but Albrecht Waker who interviewed Mr.Allerberger and wrote a book that is titled "Im auge des Jägers" which is double the size of this English translated edition (why cut the book in half?) All of this aside you would imagin that it could still be good, but really its just 146 pages of the most vile and descriptive violence imaginable, very little military information, or even a realistic narrative of what Soldiers on the Eastern front faced, just vivid descriptions of what someones head looks like after Herr Allerberger puts a 7.9 bullet through it. There are also a few attrocious recollections witnessed by Allerberger by the hands of Russians that are akin to the crimes you read about in books about the Holocaust. I have read many many memoirs and the fact the book is very cruel almost makes it feasible, but Im still unsure too much dosnt add up with this title, and in comparison to the likes of "Grenadiers - Kurt Meyer" "Forgotten soldier - Guy sajer " and "Black Edelwiesse - Johann Voss" this book really does not compare in anyway, nor does it stand out as a example of how to do a German memior differant. I have never heard a veteran describe shooting somone in the head as "Like wathching a ripe melon explode" regardless of the savagry of the fighting I think A.Waker add-libb'd a little too much.
Only read this book if you are dead set on doing so, otherwise hope that they re-print "Im auge des Jägers" which is apparently the full story, not half of the story as the english readers seemed to have purchased.
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on 18 March 2007
It is a mirracle the author has come across a living German sniper with 2 years experience in the Eastern front. He apparently appreciated what he found and put a fair amount of sweat into this book as it is brilliant.

I don't know why the publishers reduced English version to a half of the original. But not being fluent in German I'm still greatful to have got a chance to read at least that much. Many good German books never get translated into English at all. Buy it!
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on 23 January 2007
Gripping read and you almost feel as though you cannot move sometimes in fear of what the russians did to captured German marksmen but having read Stalingrad I just felt as though the writer could beef up certian areas and topics and generally prolong the read. At 100 odd pages it isn't the longest book. Perhaps a better understanding of the shifting front line might have helped but overall my first word in this review is justified by the still anticipation that the author takes you through prior to this guys so many kills, this mixed in with the usual russian/german brutality makes it a worthwhile read (even if it'll only take a week or so)
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This is one of those rare biographies that are readable as a story rather than a series of chronologically tacked together events. The story is harrowing and interesting. The operations of a WW2 sniper and the way they perceive things was very interesting. It certainly gels well with many others and in fact reading the US view of combat in "If you survive" it's almost as if they were written to go together. Sepp explains why he is the merciless killer he is and what turned him into what he became (The Russian Front, and especially the brutality Partisans brought to the battle that up until they got involved still had some of the rules of war operating.) Another example of contrasts is when Cossacks butchered Medics and Red cross personnel doctors and slaughtered hospital wounded when they over ran those hospitals (born out in many recollections of WW2) so when Sepp was transferred to the Western Front they were bemused to see American troops wonder out onto the battlefield to tend to their wounded, as if on a Sunday foorball match. In some instances the germans shot the medics which the Americans viewed as Barbaric. However they never understood that the Germans had been fighting to different rules up until that point. I think not only does this book fascinate with interesting points of being a sniper but the contrast between battlefronts, behaviour and conditions is worth noting. Finally I think some of the most difficult experiences are explained in the book when it comes to self control of a sniper. Knowing when to make a difference and how and controlling anger and emotions until that moment is clearly explained in some of his recollections. Great Book. Good Read.
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on 31 March 2014
A very lively informative story - this man was lucky not to suffer the fate of Bruno Sutkus after the war.
This is very descriptive and pulls no punches describing the depths of human depravity in the eastern war.
If the English or Americans had been involved in this theatre they might have seen things differently by 1945
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on 30 March 2016
An easy and short book to get into and read - providing your stomach can handle it. Most pages are filled with horrors which made me feel squeamish - from tanks crushing the wounded to a sniper being torturted with a saw to a poor woman being repeatedly raped then killed in a grotesque fashion.

The book does a good job of making you feel 'there' (of course a book can only do so much to actually put you in such a terrible place as the eastern front, 1943-45, but this book gives you the idea).
The focus of the book is quite narrow, as you might expect from a sniper's memoir, but there's some good narrative of the camaraderie and the hatred, as well as the sheer madness.

My main criticism of the book is that completely vilifies the Russians but hardly ever the Germans. It seems like the Germans only ever did bad things in retaliation or out of sheer necessity, whereas the Russians were just savages. Maybe Allerberger's regiment was fairly innocent, but an afterword might have mentioned the brutality perpetrated by the Germans during Barbarossa, which might have gone some way to explaining why the Russians were so brutal as well.

Anyway, it's worth a read, but don't expect to be in a happy mood at the end of it - it's full of the actions of humans at their very worst.
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on 21 January 2015
great read ,first hand account of what really went on, a must for anyone who has a interest in ww2 eastern front, i just couldnt put it down and thats coming from someone who finds it hard to sit down and read a book.
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on 10 January 2016
If Sepp Allerberger is to be believed . . . no - snipers can be categorized in only two ways, those who survived and those who didn't. Sniping is seen by some as somehow ungentlemanly, or unsportsmanlike.. War is not a sport, to be played by gentleman and contrary to what some people think, it doesn't come with rules and umpires. Sniping is a tool, a battlefield tactic - one chooses sniping just as one chooses artillery or air support, as a means of advancing or defending your position. Allerberger's story, recounted in such a simple, matter-of-fact way, makes that argument most eloquently.
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