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on 18 May 2017
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on 23 January 2016
Brilliant book. Despite the ongoing argument about whether he fought with the division or not.. As a overview for life as a 'stubblehopper' on the ostfront its hard to beat.. As an old friend who served on the eastern front said " whether he did or not he got it about right..awfull place" read it n see ..
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on 27 September 2003
Sajers book of his experiences in the German Army in Russia is one of the most moving personal accounts I have read on the subject. His book begins with the almost happy, optimistic days of his basic training in Poland in 1942 and moves to the complete terror, horror and desperation of the retreating Wehrmacht in Russia. His account of the crossing of the Dniper river and the seige of Memel in East Prussia made a particular impact on me.
Sajer was first posted as a Rohlbann solider guarding trains supplying front line troops. Later he volunteered for the infantry and was trained for the elite Gross Deutchland division. His experiences in this division, which saw some of the most brutal and merciless fighting of the war were, as the author himself often aludes to, almost beyond description.
The book is a personal account written by a common soldier and does not offer any overview of the strategy or general objectives of the German command. Rather it describes in great detail and with much empathy, the suffering, depravation and above all terror and fear which Sajer and his comrades felt throughtout the war.
The book is best appreciated if read in conjunction with a historical account of the the German-Soviet war (Barbarossa by Alan Clark is an excellent introduction to the subject). In this way Sajer experiences can be placed in an overall context.
The book is well written and extremely readable. I read the soft back edition, however there is a recently released hardback version with extensive photographs. Sajers account is an excellent example of this genre of book and in my opinion compulsory reading for anyone who is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the experiences of frontline German troops during this titanic and brutal conflict.
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on 16 March 1998
Guy Sajer's Forgotten Soldier is far and away the best book I have ever read. His account of his experiences are eloquent and touching. Never has an author managed to convey the feelings and emotions of war as how Sajer has done. I could not let go of this book and read it in the space of a day and a night....absolutley riveted to it. Sajer left me so transfixed that once I finished the book, I went-on line to find out more info about him and his book (at 4 in the morning). I only wish he would have written a longer epilogue so I could have found out more about his surviving comrades. If ever you should go out of your way to buy a book, it should be for this one. I know that for as long as I live I will never forget it.
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on 23 September 2013
There is some controversy over the authenticity of this book but whether it is a genuine autobiography, a fictionalised memoir or an out-and-out novel it's still one of the best books I've ever read. Full stop.

The author was born in Alsace of a German mother and French father and was drafted into the German armed forces. Unfortunately the exact hows and whys of this aren't explained.

Originally he hoped to fly JU87 dive-bombers but after failing to make the grade was sent to a supply battalion on the Eastern Front and quickly volunteered for front-line service in the Gross Deutschland Division. Sadly this was around the time that things were going wrong.

This is no "Boy's Own" account of daring do but a sorry tale of starving, exhausted men constantly retreating and fighting desperate rear-guard actions.

Guy Sajer has himself said that he never intended to write an accurate military history; just relate his experiences as he recalled them. The mistakes actually incline me to believe in its authenticity as a fraudster would have taken more care with his research.

Unreservedly recommended.
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on 21 June 2017
Makes for very uncomfortable reading as it describes the horrors of the Russian Front. Interesting personal conflict of the author coming from the French Alsace region.
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on 1 March 2017
Quite simply amazing. THE without a doubt, best account of WW2 I have ever read. Really wish HBO would make this into a TV series as "The German band of brothers"
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on 1 November 2004
It's not so much the horrors of explosions or shrapnel or carpet bombing that makes this young mans story so incredible. For me, it's the realisation that humanity was devoid wherever Sajer went and war made people turn into pragmatic animals who really only thought about themselves. The funny thing is though, that you can easily find yourself 'siding' with people who are intent on doing horrific deeds in the name of war.
Personally, I found myself 'siding' with the Russian Partisans at one point even though they were just as horrific as the Germans. It's not very often that a book can make you feel a range of emotions like this one can.
Even if you have a passing interest in war, this book will captivate you and give you an insight into what a hell war actually is.
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on 4 October 2017
Excellent
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on 28 October 2000
...i've read it twice in six months and was deeply moved. from the moment he was in the 19th company to the moment his mother fell into his arms.this as really brought home warfare at it's intense peak.as an ex soldier i could relate to this book and can only imagine what sajer,hals&the rest of them went through,totaly horrific but still comited to the bitter end. ireally would like to know what happend to those that survived especaily hals and paula.
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