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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 25 October 2013
This book is truly absorbing. Obviously the rarity of a personal account from a Waffen SS combat soldier is something in itself and this is very well written. The shock and disbelief the young SS soldiers experience when encountering the Russians is truly believable, especially when they leave their wounded Kameraden behind to the fate of the enemy with dire consequences. I was a little surprised at the level of animosity he showed against the Wehrmacht but this becomes understandable at the end as the witch-hunt begins.

Bartmann gives us a insight of what it was like to be an SS soldier in probably the most dangerous place in the world. He does not shirk responsibility and carry`s out ordered tasks with no concern for his own well being.

The retreat westwards is truly harrowing with the Russian vengeance on the civilian population particularly hard reading.

Obviously it his personal account during war time but I would be interested to see what happened post war, particularly to his brother and parents as there is little mention.

Suggest get the hard back as this is a book to own for life. Take down from the shelf every few years. You won`t need the TV on.
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on 14 October 2013
I have just completed this long awaited title, and I must say it was well worth the wait! The Author has produced a refreshingly honest account relating to his time has a soldier in the elite Waffen SS Division Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler. There a many thrilling tales relating to his day's on the "Ostfront", culminating in his attempt to evade Russian imprisonment escaping from the Halbe pocket. His lines a sprinkled with both humour and his political viewpoint back then during his day's with the SS and in summary at the conclusion of his memoirs. I would highly recommend this book to all historians of both WW2 in general, and specifically student's of Hitler's Elite Forces
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on 1 February 2014
Wow! A truly magnificent and horrific story, which kept me engrossed, page by page. A real eye opener as to what really went on during the Battle for Berlin, and the fighting in Russia, a really gripping true life story, which captures your imagination well.
I would recommend this book to most people I know
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on 1 March 2014
Really liked the book it was a little light on details ( maps etc ) but as a personal account a great read, not the monsters we are led to believe, at least Bartmann stood by his beliefs.
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on 1 April 2016
Surprisingly well-written, this book has you sympathising fully with the author and his comrades throughout and gives a very detailed insight into the ethos of Hitler's Elite fighting unit. The accounts of training, deployment and close-quarter battle on both Eastern and Western fronts also gives an interesting perspective on the difference in attitude regarding fighting the Soviets and the Americans.
The accounts of 'barracks-life' while convalescing from injuries in Berlin will be familiar to anyone who's served in the military and further reinforces the sense that under the uniforms, all soldiers are the same.
Anyone interested in first hand accounts of the period should read this as the author's experiences closely mirror others currently published and help build a better picture of certain key events, notably the final battles around Halbe, south of Berlin in 1945.
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on 26 January 2014
Erwin Bartmann account of his war was absolutely top draw !!! i can highly recommend this book indeed a must must
read for all ww2 buffs.
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on 30 May 2014
I am passionate about reading memoirs because I believe you can only get the true flavour of the soldier's experience by reading the words of veterans. My understanding of some aspects of WW2 for the Waffen SS and the people of Berlin has been enhanced by reading this book but I'm afraid I have to class my experience as mediocre. That's not to say I wouldn't recommend the book; I certainly would, because I feel it is accurate and well written. What it lacks however is an edge. I feel that Bartmann held back on how he described some of the events he took part in and that includes everything from his experiences at Lichterfelde Kaserne right through to how he describes the fighting on the Eastern Front. Perhaps it was a natural reservation on his part, to preserve his own dignity and that of his comrades. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that's my opinion.

Still, I give it 5 stars because we will never see his like again but I'll be looking forward very much to the release in the UK of the memoirs of Rochus Misch this August which I'm hoping with be edgier.
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on 2 October 2014
Very absorbing and interesting book told from the other side. I found it fascinating and he comes across as a well grounded, honest young guy who makes no apologies for serving in the waffen SS, nor appears to need to. Lots of interesting accounts from the eastern front and Germany towards the end of the war as it slid into the apocolaypse.
A great read
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on 25 September 2014
I found this a truly excellent read. I have been reading true war books for many years but have found few books written by German soldiers. This book tells of the author's own experiences and is very graphic in places. It is interesting how the SS soldiers were both admired and feared by the German population prior to and in the early days of the war and as the allied bombing took it's toll and with two fronts closing in on Germany to the German people the SS were seen as part of the regime that caused Germany's plight, he was even stoned in the street by a crowd just for wearing the SS uniform (something that would never have happened in the early days of the war). The book covers the authors time on the Eastern front and the continued retreat back to Germany.
This was an enjoyable read which I would recommend to anyone interested in true life stories during WW2.
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on 12 September 2015
Erwin Bartmann RIP died recently in Edinburgh. He was a baker there as he had been in his youth in Berlin. An ordinary man whose ambition was to join an elite Regiment. This is his story of his fight for People and for Leader, as the title says. It's the story of his fight against Bolshevism, supported by the "capitalist" GB and USA -- an extraordinary combination never satisfactorily explained by BBC etc documentaries ... Following the triumph of Bolshevism, the "Volk" of Bartmann's title are being eradicated in all our European countries, so the absence of a possessive (like e.g. My People) may be deliberate as well as thought-provoking ...

Anyway, a "from the horse's mouth" account. Details of Uncle Joe's forces as well as his own Leibstandarte. In fact millions of Russians and Ukrainians risked everything to join the fight against Bolshevism while Americans and Britons (Aussies etc) fought for the system that would destroy their own countries ... ironic ... maybe those Russians/Ukrainians knew something that Allied soldiers did not ... perhaps if those Allied soldiers did know, the lines of recruitment for the Leibstandarte would have been very much longer ....
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