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The Forgotten Soldier: The True Story of a Young German Soldier on the Russian Front Paperback – 2 Oct 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 279 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2 Oct 2003
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New edition edition (2 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842127349
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842127346
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (279 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,667,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"May well be accorded equal respect with WAR AND PEACE as the masterpiece reporting war's reality." David Douglas Duncan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The powerful chronicle of a young German soldier trapped in the vast, faceless anonymity of total war ¿ hailed as the most powerful indictment of war since ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is truly a superb book, far surpassing anything in print today. The author (Guy Sajer) portrays the hopes and fears of the average soldier of the German Wehrmacht during the most epic and hostile conflict in human history. Unfortunately our soldier joins the struggle during mid-1942, the turning point of the war. As the vision of victory slowly subsides into the realisation of defeat, the author’s interpretation of modern warfare as desensitisation separates him from the sufferings of others. The comradeship of his unit and the immense acts of bravery by fellow soldiers offer a truly inspiring scene. This piece of literature gives a clear insight into the mind of those who continued to fight regardless of knowledge that the war was already lost. The account of the battle of Memel is horrifically illustrative. For anyone with the slightest interest in the war on the Eastern Front, read this book.
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Format: Paperback
If like me you are a little nervous picking up books about war and think that they may only glorify the great scale of battles, victories and tactics then I would recommend the Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer. This book is a first person account of life on the eastern front from the perspective of a young, naive man, which simultaneously depicts the fall of nazi Germany and the destruction of the illusions of the German people.
When, as the teenage son of a French father and a German Mother Sajer signs up to join the German army, his enthusiasm for war is unbounded. However, three years of experience in the either scorched or frozen desolation of wartime eastern Europe reveals an unremitting crushing of his idealism. From the cruel army regime and its sometimes deadly training approach, through frostbite, starvation and the slaughter of friends, enemy and innocents, this account graphically reveals the true horror of war.
Many of the scenes in the book will haunt the reader for days afterwards. The sense of futility and the suspension of reason in the mad world of war grows throughout the book and the reader is drawn in deep; to the extent that you genuinely feel like you are sharing in the experience.
This book deserves to be compulsory reading for anyone who is interested in twentieth century history. It is worth a hundred dry historical accounts and demonstartes above all the power of the individual as a witness to a world and circumstances out of his control.
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Format: Paperback
This account of the war on the Eastern Front from 1942-45 by the Alsatian, Guy Sajer, is quite simply one of the most powerful, disturbing and brutally honest accounts of warfare published in the 20th Century.
Charting as it does Sajer's personal journey from an enthusiastic volunteer with dreams of becoming an aviator, to his capture at the hands of British soldiers on the banks of the Elbe, his book takes us on an odyssey of despair and is a reading experience that haunts the memory long after you have finished reading. It contains far too much detail for a normal book review to do justice to it, suffice to say it is a MUST READ for all those who would like to know what the Eastern Front was really like for the soldiers who fought and died on it.
Not a Shakespeare or a Mishima, Sajer nonetheless manages to convey in great detail and with startling honesty his travails as first a member of the 'rollbahn', struggling to re-supply the German front line through the truly frightening Russian winter and then as a member of the Gross Deutschland, fighting a desperate and constant rearguard action across the plains of Russia and the Ukraine against the relentless onslaught of the numerically superior Soviet Red Army, whose cries of 'Ourrah Pobieda !' chill the bone as much as the cold.
Sajer describes with great clarity the Battle of Belgorod, when his group experience for the first time the full horror of war. They try to shut their minds to what they see; mangled bodies, rotting corpses, a devastated town and the sheer terror of a Soviet artillery bombardment during which they accept that they will die. Sajer doesn't die, but survives, to continue his terrifying journey and to experience the side of war not normally found in the history books.
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Format: Paperback
I am able to review this early as I have unearthed an old edition. This book quite literally lives with you from the moment you open it, to the moment you finish...and then a bit longer. The story of a half-french, 17 year-old from Alsace takes you from his misguided decision to volunteer for military service, with the Nazi-German army, through the bloodiest, most ruthless and savage campaigns of the Eastern-Front. The sheer brutality, wretchedness and loss of reasonable hope is bewildering. The close knit team that develops and the esprit de corps of the Grosse Deutschland Division is inspirational. The gore and carnage they endure and inflict is awe inspiring. Such is the fierce reality of the writing, the images of battle and of frozen death, that I ended up having to keep reading until Guy Sajer (this is autobiographical) was in relative safety and comfort. I could not "leave him". Read it, you will then know what I mean. Whatever political persuasion you belive in or stand for, no 17 year old should be made to endure this. I cannot recommend a book more highly. Forget Blitzkrieg, this is Blitz-education. It batters your senses. Thank God my 5 years in the Army never came to this.
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