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on 30 March 2016
An easy and short book to get into and read - providing your stomach can handle it. Most pages are filled with horrors which made me feel squeamish - from tanks crushing the wounded to a sniper being torturted with a saw to a poor woman being repeatedly raped then killed in a grotesque fashion.

The book does a good job of making you feel 'there' (of course a book can only do so much to actually put you in such a terrible place as the eastern front, 1943-45, but this book gives you the idea).
The focus of the book is quite narrow, as you might expect from a sniper's memoir, but there's some good narrative of the camaraderie and the hatred, as well as the sheer madness.

My main criticism of the book is that completely vilifies the Russians but hardly ever the Germans. It seems like the Germans only ever did bad things in retaliation or out of sheer necessity, whereas the Russians were just savages. Maybe Allerberger's regiment was fairly innocent, but an afterword might have mentioned the brutality perpetrated by the Germans during Barbarossa, which might have gone some way to explaining why the Russians were so brutal as well.

Anyway, it's worth a read, but don't expect to be in a happy mood at the end of it - it's full of the actions of humans at their very worst.
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on 15 February 2014
The life of the foot soldier is full of horror and death. This more than most. Quite difficult to read but no where near as difficult as it must have been to live.
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on 10 February 2017
I've read many many books about the war on the eastern front including personal accounts. Something about this just doesn't ring true and is more of a gore and blood fest written by a novelist. When I was young I read war fiction that wasn't remotely serious and to be honest if I hadn't seen the cover I would have guessed that this had been written by Sven Hassel. The short cut by which the author claims the subject of this book received the Knights cross seems highly improbable and I can find no record of this man in a book I have of knights cross holders. If this story is any way true then I apologise but for now I must dismiss it as a poor work of fiction.
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VINE VOICEon 19 December 2013
This is a good military memoir. No PC nonsense or apologies. Just what he experienced and what the poor German people endured. A good read I highly recommend it. Opened my eyes I must say
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on 20 August 2014
Very interesting, with some facts to throw light on the futility of war. The world could do with people like this to explain to the young of to-day just haw difficult war can be.
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on 18 March 2007
It is a mirracle the author has come across a living German sniper with 2 years experience in the Eastern front. He apparently appreciated what he found and put a fair amount of sweat into this book as it is brilliant.

I don't know why the publishers reduced English version to a half of the original. But not being fluent in German I'm still greatful to have got a chance to read at least that much. Many good German books never get translated into English at all. Buy it!
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on 10 January 2016
If Sepp Allerberger is to be believed . . . no - snipers can be categorized in only two ways, those who survived and those who didn't. Sniping is seen by some as somehow ungentlemanly, or unsportsmanlike.. War is not a sport, to be played by gentleman and contrary to what some people think, it doesn't come with rules and umpires. Sniping is a tool, a battlefield tactic - one chooses sniping just as one chooses artillery or air support, as a means of advancing or defending your position. Allerberger's story, recounted in such a simple, matter-of-fact way, makes that argument most eloquently.
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on 25 January 2016
Fascinating and horrific. As someone who is very interested in the end of WW2 I found this a great read and finished the book in 2 days. The author as a 19 year old has seen and done things that are chilling and I cannot imagine the effect that had on his later life. Nor did I understand the life of a sniper and the effect that had in the war. The book does not touch on that and is his experiences from the time he was posted to the Russian front just as the Germans started to retreat out of Russia. Some of his experiences are shocking. If you are interested in WW2 buy this book.
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VINE VOICEon 8 October 2009
..Put this aside after fifty pages of the most outrageous comic-book fantasy horror which is nothing more than page after page of the most ugly and pathetic violence imaginable. There is little or no military information, or even a coherent narrative of events on the Eastern Front as faced by this so-called Wehrmacht sniper. Alarm bells had already started to ring as soon as the 'compiler' of this work writes, " Allerberger was not his real name" as though this was some sort of fantasy allegory, but passages such as the following left me shaking my head in disgust that a mainstream publisher such as P&S could even remotely entertain putting trash like this out; " a horribly mutilated limbless torso landed at my feet, its head a bloody mass of gore. However the mouth was open and unharmed and kept screaming; " arrgghh, where are my arms, where are my legs .." I kid you not. Worthless as an Eastern Front memoir. Not to put too fine a point on it, utter rubbish!
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on 28 January 2008
Great story but the narrative is very poor. The book has been translated into English by a German speaker, therefore there are many instances of appalling grammatical errors and some comments which only make sense when read in the German original. A point to note for the Publishers; a good translator can be hired cheaply and would make an immense improvement in the quality of this shoddy product.

Unfortunately, the author's powers of writing have failed him in this endeavour despite the impression in the cover notes of him being a leading expert in the field as all he has achieved here is the cobbling of individual interviews about the subject meshed into a kind of mish-mash pulp book. There is no attempt to put the narrative into an overall framework of the unit in which Allerberger served nor any information about the campaign/situations it was placed in other than a brief & inadequate map at the beginning. There has been no additional research or "value add" by the author. The book contains some glaring mistakes such as the Author's glib statement undervaluing the knights cross which he claims were given away like sweeties even although a great deal of research has been proven otherwise.

There were only 7000+ of these medals issued to an army/Navy/Airforce at war for over 6 years and which comprised many millions of people..so it wasnt an easy medal to win, in fact research shows that it became tougher to win as time went on, although there were some other awards given out easily for morale sakes the Knights Cross was not one of them.

The action in which Allenberger was supposedly awarded his knights cross for reads like something from a comic story, unfortunately the author confuses the facts and changes the figures throughout the passage, the kill figure so emphatically stated in the narrative is reduced from a very large figure down to a more manageable one by contradicting what he has just described and then choosing to ignore the inconsistancy. A great disappointment is that there is no actual evidence that Allerberger was awarded the Knights Cross and the Author has done NO research whatsoever to try to show if this was a problem based on the circumstances in which his subject supposedly received the award(in late 1945 this was a possibility) or whether it was because it wasnt actually awarded, everything is taken at face value. There are no interviews with any member of Allenbergers unit or the other named parties to determine if this was the case, nor has the author made the trip to the extensive archives relating to the German servicemen of WW2 held in Germany, USA & other countries..in doing so he devalues the story of Mr Allerberger and does the reader a great dis-service. This is further compounded by having no references, bibliography or links to any confirmation sources, surely the author must have done some research other than getting poor old Mr Allerberger to sit in front of the tape for hours at an end, for without that research hes merely a transcriber and Not an Author at all.

incidentally, Allerberger is meant to be a pseudonym for the real person and for those non German speakers among you, it roughly means "any mountainer" which is a quaint way of saying that it stands for any member of the German Mountain(Gebirgsjaeger) troops of the war. However if he really came from the 3rd Division and was awarded the Knights cross in 1945 and the other awards at the dates previously stated by the author then it wouldn't take too long to locate the real man's records and identity! so much for protecting his identity.

it has been said that this book is a cut-down version of the German language edition and if thats the case then it shows only too clearly in the poor linkages. I will probably borrow the German version from my local library(in Germany)and chec if this is the case but i suspect that the German version may well be worse if this is the distilled copy.

All in all the facts in the story are presented in a confusing manner and it's very clear that the biographer is not a military expert despite what the cover notes say. It's a pity that the real Sepp Allerberger didnt have a real biographer who was worthy of the challenge of telling his unique story of bravery, perserverance and incredible skill.
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