Top critical review
12 people found this helpful
good but not the best
on 4 June 2004
I read this book after reading "Pappy" Boyington's "Baa Baa Blacksheep" and Saburo Sakai's "Samurai!". I found "The Blond Knight of Germany" a bit cold and impersonal: maybe because it has not been written by Hartmann himself, like the other two books I mentioned before. Actually, I much preferred these two books to "The Blond Knight": they are more fascinating and more "deep" in terms of digging in the pilots' life and personality.
Regarding style, I found several repetitions made by the authors, like whole concepts or sentences repeated 2 or 3 times or more, along the same chapter or in different chapters: for example, the way Hartmann came to his fighting technique, or the description of some characters, etc. That's might be due to the fact that the authors didn't coordinate their contribution in writing the book, so they both wrote the same thing, or whatever. Anyway, it was quite annoying.
I have also found some disturbing technical/historical imprecisions, such as:
- Hartmann piloting a Bf.109G-7 and G-16 (page 310). The G-7 was a proposed version in which all the successive modifications to the Bf.109 G-6 version should have been standardized, but it never entered in production; the G-16 was the last and most armoured version of the G serie, but it did not reach operations.
- The authors state that the Polikarpov I-151 and I-153 were the evolution of the I-16 "Rata" (page 121). Wrong, they were absolutely different planes: the I-16 "Rata" was a monoplane, while the I-151 and I-153 "Chaika" were the two versions of a biplane.
- It is mentioned the Yak-11 flying as bomber escort in spring 1944 (pages 170-171). The Yak-11 was developed in late 1945 as a Yak-3 conversion trainer with an ASh-21 radial engine, eventually becaming the Yak-11 Trainer.
Finally, I've found this book, expecially in the beginning, excessively "Hartmann-fan", who is almost seen as the perfect man.
I also found it somehow apologetic towards Adolf Hitler: in particular, he is shown as a poor suffering man devote to his nation and surrounded by misleading generals, rather than the cruel dictator who conceived the extermination camps and started World War II massacre in Europe.
In summary, an interesting book to know something about the life of the highest scoring fighter ace of all times and about Eastern WWII front, but not much more.