Cross of Iron (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) Paperback – 4 Mar 2004
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A modern classic of war fiction, this is a realistic story of action on the Eastern Front in World War II ¿ famously filmed by Sam Peckinpah, starring James Mason and James Coburn.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a long novel and fairly slow in places. The opening section of the novel, where Steiner and his platoon are trapped behind enemy lines and sneak back, encountering an all-female Russian unit on the way, is probably the strongest of the novel and could even have been a a stand-alone novella.
The description of the action feels very true to real life:
- There are a lot of characters, some of which appear and disappear again very quickly. In a less realistic novel they would have been turned into a composite character.
- The initial characters are killed one by one in well described, but chaotic, military action scenes until the protagonist, Steiner, and the antagonist, Stransky, are practically the only people left.
- There are several loose ends and plot threads that go nowhere, such as one character being homosexual.
- Random events and 'deus ex machina' like stray shells kill characters, bringing their part of the narrative to a sudden halt.
Although the author has an annoying, to me at least, tendency to tell the reader the outcome of an event and then go back and show what happened, what holds this rather diary-like account of combat at the front together as a story is the feud between Steiner and Stransky which builds throughout the novel until a confrontation at the end.
Battle scenes are interspersed with scenes of the various characters discussing their philosophies of life and the fact that Germany is doomed and they personally are unlikely to survive the war (the real unit the story is based on and that the author served in had 700% casualties during WW2, i.e. it was wiped out and rebuilt seven times).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I remember reading it when I was 23, now I read it for the second time. And I found it to be even better that I thought. Read more
Surprisingly good because I prefer factual military and historical books. This novel however is a satisfying read. Read morePublished on 9 Oct. 2012 by westportsteve
I just noticed this book only has 3 stars. I can't believe two reviewers gave it 1 star!
I have a massive collection of WW1 and WW2 books both fiction and non... Read more
I've only just started reading this book and I think I have made a mistake. I am assuming that the author is a veteran and knows what he is talking about, but it just doesn't sound... Read morePublished on 6 Aug. 2010 by ryan hart