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Jackboot Paperback – 20 Nov 2003

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; New Ed edition (20 Nov. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0750934786
  • ISBN-13: 978-0750934787
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,429,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

John Laffin, a veteran writer on war, wrote over 70 books on most aspects of military history. He is a well-known and respected military author.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Arrived as ordered and a really good (but long winded in parts) book
Would recommend to anybody with an interest in german(PrussIan) military through the ages
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, but what happened? 20 July 2000
By Kevin Corvus - Published on
Format: Paperback
Laffin has a great idea. He wants to examine the characteristics of German soldiers and German militantcy since Prussian times. He tells us early on that he wants to overcome steretypes and "tell it like it is." What the reader gets is a history light version of the German military over the course of two hundred years, full of generalizations, and stereotypes. Unfortunately, some of Laffin's favorite rhetorical crutches are comments like "in typical German fashion", "...having the typical methodical Prussian mind...", and "They set about planning it at once, in typical Germanic style..." The French army is in one case defeated because of "effeminacy." Some of the ideas presented seem to be more opinion than carefully researched analysis. Finally, Laffin's conclusion (writing in 1965) is that German officers are intentionally making the Bundeswehr look bad in NATO exercises as part of a conspiracy which will see German soldiers on the march again to dominate Europe. Well, even in 1965 that was laughable. Anyone familiar with Germans today is well aware that it would take decades of militant socialization for Germans to ever again march on a neighboring capital... unless it was a protest march on Brussels.
The best parts of this book, and those worth reading, were written by someone else. The chapters on WWI and WWII are full of excerpts from soldier diaries and letters and are absolutely fascinating. So, if you read this book, realize you will have to wade through a lot of opinionated garbledy-gook on your way to the good stuff. And, in Laffin's favor, he does make some effort to portray the German soldier as a patriot, instead of simply a Nazi stooge as too many historians are likely to do. On the other hand, he does at times lapse into all kinds of steretypes about Germany and Germans.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seeking the Death of Heroes 2 April 2007
By P.K. Ryan - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'Jackboot' is at once a history of German militarism and a deep look into the mind and spirit of the men who constituted it. Laffin's stated goal is to give the much-maligned German soldier his proper due, and in this, he succeeds. Initially, he seems to have a deep admiration for his subjects, but as the book continues it becomes clear that his attitude toward the German soldier is more of a grudging respect: "I am no apologist for Germans and especially not for the Prussianistic of them; they are fundamentally a hard race, but it is wrong to allege that the entire army was one of sadists." With that said, he prefaces his book by asserting his belief that all soldiers are "the most genuine and worthwhile people who have ever existed." Laffin spends a significant amount of time examining the German armies of old, namely the Prussians and their immeasurable influence on German militarism. Among the influential personalities covered in depth are; Frederick the Great, Clausewitz, Scharnhorst, Moltke, and Hitler. Although most of the book concentrates on military leaders and campaigns, Laffin does also offer some valuable insight into the lot and mentality of the ordinary soldier "from the ranks."

Some reviewers have criticized Laffin's use of generalizations to describe certain aspects of German militarism and it's soldiers. I would argue that if there was ever a case for generalizations to be legitimate, the German military would qualify. For centuries, the German was bred for war, and the single-minded warrior spirit was drilled into them from an early age. They were an honor-driven and martial society that had essentially one way of doing things, and individualism was not a trait that was encouraged. And while there are exceptions to every rule, it seems evident that the average German readily accepted his soldierly fate and eagerly sought the glorious "death of heroes."

Previous reviewers have also criticized Laffin's conclusions that the Germans will one day march again. And while I agree that this seems unlikely at the moment, I wouldn't dismiss it arbitrarily. In another book I've recently read; Fuhrer-Ex:: Memoirs of a Former Neo-Nazi(1996) the author claims that the Bundeswehr is still trained in terms of "racial enemies" and is particularly indoctrinated with fear of a "yellow flood" from China. Just some food for thought. On a side note, am I the only one that thinks its funny that the soldier on the front cover looks like a black guy? Anyhow, I found this to be a solid look into German militarism and the German soldier. Definitely worth the read for anyone interested in the subject.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars read this book or else 14 Jun. 2006
By Der Hammer des Kuchens - Published on
Format: Paperback
When I saw this book I knew I had to read it because it was going to be about the true history of the German Army and not full of anti German propaganda. After the intro there are quotes from some famous germans, mostly from the military, who glorify war. Then the book starts with the Prussian king Frederick William's lust for building up his army in the early 18th century and from there it talks about Pruissa's army conquests and losses all the way up until the 1950's. The book is full of little interesting tidbits about the German military like how they came to look at war and how they trained which is what helped them become the world's best military time and time again through it's history. The book is very easy to read through and you'll be done in no time.

I did have some problems with the book like how they only talked about the Prussian army and not the other german armies out there like Austria's. Another thing that really bothered me is that the author wants you not to think about the Germans as Jew hating Nazis but as a war loving people. The author goes on about how all the Germans love war and that's all they want in life, including todays Germans. It is true that the Germans loved war but that was a long time ago and I think that things have changed after all a lot of Germanic cultures also loved war a long time ago but you don't hear anything about the Scandinavians still wanting to go on Viking raids or about the English trying to takeover the seas again.

This book might turn people off to the Germans if they think that they all love and want war until each and every one of them is dead, but if you can ignore the author's personal beliefs about Germans loving war then I'm sure that you'll enjoy this informative book.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Non-propagandist history of German fighting men 21 Jan. 2000
By Ryan Anderson - Published on
Format: Paperback
Finaly! An author who has the courage to give the lorals (and expose the pitfalls) of German soldiers from the 18th century, through WWII. I was aghast to find that in my college senior level WWII history class, our sole text on the Whermacht was written by a former Israeli solidier! As a grand-child of soldiers of Germany, I applaud this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in a realistic, soldiers view, of the German Armies.
4.0 out of 5 stars Laffin goes out of the usual box to look into the mind of the German soldier. Well worth reading, unusual. 27 Oct. 2015
By Andy McKinney - Published on
Format: Paperback
John Laffin has over a hundred books to his credit. “Jackboot” tells the story of the German soldier over a period of more than two centuries, from 1713 to 1945. The heavy hand of Fredrick the Great continued to influence German military affairs and the minds of the Prussian officer class long after his death. He did have the virtue of success, something that his would be imitator, Adolf Hitler, cannot claim.
Author Laffin brushes over the campaigns and battles, the tactics and weapons to focus on the mind of the German soldier and of his leaders. I found the sections on modern day psychological evaluation to be fascinating. The Germans did not evaluate future combat leaders in the same way that other nations do, not by a long shot.
If you are looking for a different sort of a look at the German Army, a long hard look that goes a long way to explain how it was able to withstand the whole of Europe and America in World War II, take a gander at “Jackboot”. You will not be disappointed.
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