Top positive review
One person found this helpful
on 18 July 2017
Good if albeit hard going in places account of an ordinary German soldier's experience fighting the Russians on the ground as an infantryman. It underlines how by no means were all the Germans bad people, they just found themselves in a situation in which it was fight or die. They would never fire on an unarmed foe, or on women or children, that was the code in this particular group, one of them even closed his eyes when he fired as he couldn't bear to see what his bullets were doing, presumably he missed most of the time anyway. Of course there were as the author says the sadists who were able to use war as an excuse for their vile behaviour, and I have read an excellent book by a German Sniper who pulls no punches on the total brutality of both sides, describing scenes that make the start of saving private Ryan look like walt disney. Can't remember the title the surname was Albrechter an Austrian that is definitely worth reading. This is gentler in details than that, but even so one definitely gets the atmosphere of the conditions that they fought and died in.
If I took one thing away from the book it was that in a different life probably most of the ordinary soldiers, not the units like the SS were just doing their job and had no choice and would have led peaceful lives and been caring towards others.
My father who lived through the war, toured southern Germany by train with his wife in his 70s and he returned with huge praise for the German people, he told me that not once did he have to lift his suitcase onto a train or escalator, a member of the German public would offer to do it for him despite him obviously being British and not able to speak a word of German. I think sometimes that needs pointing out.