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An Excellent Read & Contribution to History
on 5 June 2017
An excellent autobiographical account of life for a German soldier on the Eastern Front in WWII.
As the saying goes "history is written by the victors", and most histories of WWII are written from the allies' perspective. If you wish to develop a balanced view, you need to read many of the relatively few accounts written by German soldiers, the vast majority of whom served their country as honourably as war permits, answering their country's call to fight the tide of bolshevism / communism sweeping west from Russia.
Albrecht Wacker's experiences, between his conscription in Austria to his safe return after the war, are quite amazing and very informative. The book is well written and, consequently, an easy read. From a military perspective, Albrecht Wacker 's service and evident skill as a sniper gave him a relatively unique role, that almost certainly helped him survive the war, when vast numbers of his comrades were killed in action. He relates his on-going personal conflict with the morality of sniping, and the horrific treatment of other snipers captured by the Russians, which is understandable but unjustified: the Russians used far more snipers than the Germans, and sniping is a legitimate element of modern military conflict.
Albrecht Wacker also relates his direct experiences of the extensive atrocities committed by Russian troops against captured military personnel and civilians. As he himself states, it is perverse that history rightly condemns the Nazi regime for its atrocities, yet there is little public acknowledgement or detailed analysis of the horrors perpetrated by the Russians army as it moved east.
In my view this book thoroughly deserves 5 stars, as an excellent read and a valuable contribution to history.
I cannot account for some of the absurd, factually inaccurate comments in the one and two star reviews.