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on 9 May 2017
This is a very good personal account of this man's endeavours. Even though he drifts off point quite occasionally can sometimes be distracting. I personally would have liked to read a bit more of the lives and experience of the tankers as they actually fought each battle, not just snippets here and there. I do recommend this book though.
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on 13 April 2017
An enlightening account of life on the Eastern Front as a tank commander. I found Carius's narrative appropriate, it neither glorifies or delves into the horrors of war too much detail. The appendices contribute to Carius's experience and provide valuable information for hobbyist. Enjoy.
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on 30 April 2017
A very good book, plenty of detail interesting background on regular soldiers
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on 24 April 2017
A fascinating look into an otherwise barely acknowledged side of WW2.
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Otto Carius, who died, in his 90's, as recently as January this year, was the last of Germany's tank aces. What he wasn't was an historian, or even an especially good writer. Nor is this a history, rather it is a memoir, which is not quite the same thing. In his introduction to the original German version, he states clearly that when he originally wrote down his experiences, it was for his former comrades. That then evolved into this book which was (I quote) "an attempt to vindicate the German frontline soldier."

Therefore, if you're expecting apologies, or even acknowledgements of what the Nazis got up to, you're going to be disappointed. Much of the criticism in the negative reviews & comments here, some of it vitriolic, seems to be centred on this lack. From Carius' point of view, he wasn't a Nazi, didn't care for the Nazis, and was fighting a war in defence of his country. Whatever the rights or wrongs of that, this book is the account of what one man saw & did, and no more than that; he offers no views on the politics or the whys & wherefores.

He makes few references to the Nazis, but it's obvious he didn't like them. He met Himmler; in recounting that meeting, he makes no judgements about him, but simply recounts, in the same matter-of-fact style as the rest of the book, what he saw of the man that he met & the conversation that took place (he even turned down a personal invitation to join the Waffen-SS!), without ever touching on his reputation. Similarly, he makes the very valid point that, at the front, no-one gave a damn about ideology. What mattered wasn't whether you were a Nazi or a non-Nazi, but whether you were a good soldier & a good comrade. They were, after all, fighting for their lives.

The notion of comradeship and its value is the one thread that runs throughout the book. The book itself is written very colloquially - you can easily imagine him saying exactly the same things that he wrote down in exactly the same way. It's not always exactly PC, either. He obviously respected the Russians as enemy soldiers, but speaks slightingly of the Americans. The English of the translation is idiosyncratic, to say the least. For example, towing vehicles, whether they're recovery vehicles or artillery tractors, are almost always referred to as "prime movers". I presume that is a literal translation of whatever word the Wehrmacht commonly used, and if the text is a literal translation of the German, it would explain a good deal about some of the clumsy English. That's never mind that the memoir itself is rather disjointed at times in the way it suddenly changes topic, or throws in random comments not connected to what you've just been reading about. As I've said, very colloquial!

Nevertheless, the plain style is readable, giving a frontline soldier's view of things. If he knew anything of atrocities & the like but chooses not to speak of them, that doesn't make the book less interesting or valuable as an eye-witness account. You just have to accept that, if you wanted to know what he thought or saw of that, you are told very little, even by inference. Not least, he has written one of the very few accounts of the use of Jagdtigers. His account is rounded off by half-a-dozen battle reports, the last of which he wrote himself, and the book is then rather padded out with 50 pages of certificates, news clippings, and letters of congratulation on medals & promotions (all translated, obviously).

If you think you're going to be upset by the fact that he more-or-less ignores the unacceptable side of WWII Germany, then this is not the book for you. If you're looking for an insight into the life of a panzer soldier in WWII, then this is well worth reading.
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on 25 February 2010
Otto Carius was a hugely successful Tiger commander, principally on the eastern front and this is his story.

As other reviewers have said, he can come across as matter of fact at times, rather than excited and emotional when in highly stressful encounters. However, this doesn't spoil things for me and I find that he comes across as authentically highly professional and coolly collected, for the level of experience and the huge success he had.

This is a really enjoyable read if you have any interest in tank combat in ww2 and the translation gives a really good account of the original. In a similar way to "The Forgotten Soldier", Carius leaves you with the same sense of panic from his few troops facing down the Russian hordes, although in his case it his hordes of tanks ! What is also good to see in the back of the book is lots of copies of his various decorations, awards, certificates etc and their english translations. This is a fantastic resource and the best personal account of the Panzer corps yet written.
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on 14 February 2015
I know it is written from experiences 60-70 years ago but I found it rather vague and lacking any real detail. often I couldn't tell if the author was in a tank, on foot or in his kubelwagon. I was expecting detailed accounts of what it was like to live and operate in a tiger not just going from battle to battle.
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on 9 April 2015
Good book as a little insight on how the Tiger tanks operated but some aspects of the author thoughts on the german crimes of war and the american soldiers are disgraceful.
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on 2 December 2016
Great read. A personal account, and the Tigers, it seems, were his lucky charm.
Somewhere in the book is mentioned that when german soldiers were personally decorated by Hitler they were allowed to carry their personal weapons and stood mesmorised by the man. Only later did I learn that Hitler was awarded 5 medals for bravery (one hardly ever given to a grunt as himself) volunteered for the toughest missions and requested to go back to battle when he was wounded and recovering at hospital.
Unlike Churchill, who wasn't even elected to Prime Minister, and was personally responsible and to blame for the British defeat at Galipoli, against Turkey.
That ladies and gentlemen, speaks volumes.
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on 23 November 2007
Ok I noticed when I gave this 3 stars it was the worst score this book got .... So I feel I need to justify this clearly. Firstly let me say I am a fan of Historical war novels and books. I've read a number of them from the German's point of view and I can't recall too many I didn't like. The trouble with this book is it's hard to get engaged. I read books at a fair old rate of knots and normally I've have read this in 2-3 days max. However a week later and I'm a hundred pages in. Why ? well simply put this translation is very poor and lacking details. It's frustrating as hell. The transaltion itself is clinical and lacks any colour. There's no sense of a story, nothing to draw you in. It's like a clinical set of observations. Let me give two example. In the book he mentions they are billeted in a house overnight near the front lines. That night the house is hit by incendaries from the Russians. He goes on to say 'We fought our way out of the burning house and escaped'. That's it !!! Nothing about what happened no details ... nothing. Another example... 'We used a crypt in a graveyard as a bunker...in peace times this would be an outrage but this is nothing to what we saw the Russians do in a graveyard' That's it...nothing more...nothing about what the Russians did, what he saw...zip. It's really frustrating as hell. It feels like the whole book was made up of combat reports that ware sterile facts on paper. When one of his crew is killed it literally is reported as 'We took a hit and one of the crew died' then it moves on.... there's just no sense of a story whatsoever. :( I don't know...perhaps if you want a clinical objective report then this book will suit you well, but I wanted a story and this certainly wasn't it. Sorry. 3 stars=It's Ok according to the rating guide.
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