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Eyewitness To Hell (War Years) Paperback – 1 Feb 2011

1.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ryton Publications (1 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982190735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982190739
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,170,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A useful ground-level view of the campaign, but also a very moving account; the quality of the writing is so good that you feel you are present at the events. --Miniature Wargames

About the Author

Erich Stahl served as a journalist during World War II.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Actually after reading some books this type, recently started to read it a secondtime.No details, no info about where he was born, where he got basic trining ( as other writers ) , no maps, and yes the question, can a soldier fight a war and after 2-3 months can return back as reporter when he wants ? a few months of life in the basement of a house trapped behind soviet lines ? and pressing to service in an other division as a Panzerjager commander??? He should first return to his first unit and when did he get the training for a panzerjager ? I doubt if this book is real.
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Format: Paperback
Throughly recommend this as has been written by a jounalist who whilst serving on the eastern, takes the time to interview/talk to locals, on there opinions of the past and there hopes for the future,then really shows what happens when the powers to be do not listen, and gives a really in depth plain speaking account of the eastern front,would have been nice to have had just a little pre war and post war hisory of him to round it off.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a reprint/copy of an original 1951 book called `dance of death ` by ERICH KERN , they have added some pictures , and waffen ss ranks ,and a picture of Peiper on the front to sell it.I feel cheated , as I have the original .So if you have, don`t buy this!
If you have not read the original - you may enjoy it ?
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CRAP.. not what I purports to be. don't waste your money.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x99aabd80) out of 5 stars 11 reviews
66 of 73 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b865404) out of 5 stars Too many other good acounts there 29 July 2010
By James T. McGhee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read many first-hand accounts of German Soldiers and their experiences during World War II and this one ranks near the bottom of my list. The author is not writing a dramatic first person account of his experiences as much as he is using the book as an opportunity to write dialog between himself and a host of different characters. These topics just so happen to be about some of the most common discussions found throughout post war literature. I don't believe that most of these discussions actually took place during the war. His mention of those behind the "Iron Curtain" solidified this belief for me. The text that is believable is sparse, there are no maps to really track where things are happening, and even the pictures included are no more than a collection of random shots and not tied directly to his "experiences". A disappointing read at best. There are much better books out there. Try Panzer Aces or Infanry Aces, Blood Red Snow, Grenediers, or The Forgotten Soldier for example. While some of these may have questionable material according to some, at least they are very entertaining reads.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b865650) out of 5 stars Incredible material - like you are there in the Ukraine 9 Nov. 2010
By Rajdesign - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found this amazing because the author interviewed and recorded first hand the stories of the Russian (Ukrainian) people he encountered, and here they are published. It is sobering to read of the Ukrainians despair as they are caught between ideologies that could not help them. I found this book is largely about these peoples, and hardly at all about National Socialism or the Wehrmacht and SS. Because of his journalistic background, the author actually cared and got to know these people and try to understand them, even if he hoped that Germany could offer them something...after all that was his side of the conflict. It may be true that the author gathered his material from multiple sources as told or collected to him - that was part of his job, they may not be all personal accounts. Regardless, they are remarkable for their emotionally expressed depth of period nationalism - Russian and German - a period where national and political identity seemed to be a larger part of one's sense of self. This is the book for those interested in the experience of an 'occupied' people. Amazing combat accounts as well - as infantry and armor, especially if he lived through all of them! Worth every penny.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b865890) out of 5 stars eyewitness to hell 4 May 2012
By lynG - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ordinarily I'd have gave this book 5 stars because it WAS a good read. But I felt ripped off when I found it was a word-for-word reproduction of Erich Kern's 1948 classic "Dance of Death," which I already have. The author's last name was changed from Kern to Stahl, otherwise, it's the same book. Even the maps are identical. If the buyer hasn't read Kern's book, then this is definately worth the money. But if you have Dance of Death, don't waste your money.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b865a34) out of 5 stars The SS man as Journalist 7 July 2012
By M. G Watson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is among the most unusual of all the dozens of postwar accounts of German military life that I have read. The author, "Erich Stahl" (real name Erich Kernmeyer, who published his wartime correspondence under the name "Erich Kern") was a member of the Waffen-SS and served with a number of famous military formations, most notably the "Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler." But his memior is far from the usual fare of "hot lead and cold steel." Along with combat experiences and firsthand accounts, it is a crude history lesson, a philosophical treatise, and an odd mix of self-justification and disillusion, all wrapped in one package.

EYEWITNESS opens after the German conquest of Greece in mid-1941. Stahl is then a committed National Socialist and SS man, but by civilian trade a journalist and therefore prone to taking a long view of things and speaking his mind somewhat more plainly than was good for him. Entering Russia in '41, he sees the war, which up that point he seems to have enjoyed, taking on an entirely different character. Witnessing the primitive conditions in Russia, as well as the cruelty and diabolism of the Soviet regime, and experiencing firsthand the savage resistance of the Red Army, which far exceeds anything in his experience, he begins to see the conflict soley in terms of destroying Bolshevism. Everything else, including the war with Britain and later, America, is small potatoes; this is nothing less, in his eyes, than a fight to save Europe from what he calls "the synthesis of madness and crime" that is communism.

The first half of the book is fairly typical for this type of story - plenty of combat and plenty of hardship, carried out first in east Poland and later in the Ukraine, with the 1st SS Panzer Division. Soon, however, Stahl begins to switch his focus from his own experiences, which include reconnaissance on a motorcycle and driving a Marder III self-propelled gun, to the errors of German political policy in Russia. Tortured by the foolish policies of Rosenberg's Ministry of the East, which squandered opportunities to harness the hatred of Communism that was prevalent everywhere in the USSR by treating the Soviet citizens like slaves, he becomes increasingly disillusioned by Nazism while at the same time holding a bitter hatred for all things communist. And indeed, the second half of the book is much less about what happened to him personally than a somewhat rambling history lesson mingled with repeated, and somewhat redundant, attacks on Bolshevism.

EYEWITNESS's strengths and weaknesses are closely bound up. The translation is good, but the editing job is shoddy indeed, and Stahl's point of view shifts so often from micro to macro and back, and repeats its anticommunist screeds so often, that some readers may lose interest or become frustrated at the lack of specifics. The book lacks continuity and structure, the footnotes are largely taken from Wikipedia, and all in all is a bit of a mess. But Stahl also writes very beautifully when he wants to, and his accounts both of battle and of atrocity are vivid and heartrending. He also gives a terrific, if brief, account of the Siege of Budapest, one of the most horrible events of the 20th Century and one which has been sadly forgotten.

In regards to questions about the book's authenticity brought up by one reviewer, this is the result of a misunderstanding in regards to how combat journalism worked under the Nazi system. In Germany, journalists who were of fighting age did not cover the war as civilians; after being drafted they were trained, sent to the front, and served in whatever capacity they were ordered to serve. Their articles were filed, as it were, "between battles." [Lothar-Gunther Bücheim, who wrote DAS BOOT, was actually a Naval correspondent during the war - but unlike his Allied counterparts he actually held Navy rank and stood a watch like any ordinary Kriegsmarine officer, merely filing his stories when he had the chance to do so.] So it was with "Stahl", who originally cobbled together this mix of journalism, editorial, and memior under the name TOTENTANZE ("The Dance of Death") in 1948. All in all this is a book worth reading, if only to understand the difference between a Hollywood Nazi and the real - often very conflicted - thing.
26 of 37 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b865908) out of 5 stars Eyewitness to Hell 19 Sept. 2010
By Mark J. Weber - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a fabrication, concocted from bits of stories found in many other sources. Some of these bits are found in English language materials, while others are comments about the Eastern campaign common in post-war German sources. The dramatic action episodes are sufficiently generic to have been derived from any number of sources. There is a lack of detail, and of maps, as the otehr reviewer noted.
The author claims to have been in many hotspots, and always managed to exit from same. He allegedly had a dual role - newspaperman and soldier - , which in itself should raise questions. While it is possible that he survived the first two years fighting in Russia with SS units, it seems unlikely he was then posted to one SS unit after another, each of which was destroyed, while he managed to return home.
The best one can say about this book is that it is historical fiction, at a reasonable price for such reading.
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