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on 28 September 2017
The best WWII memoir I have read in some time. Detailed, insightful, critical. We read of specialised combat, not the generalities of more well-known memoirs. Here is the day to day horror of killing. Wacker does not talk about politics though he may well be imbued with a particular world view. He concentrates on describing his trade, how he was able to be so successful. There are also descriptions of atrocities committed by the Russian enemy and counter reprisals by the German side. One cannot imagine what it must have been like to be either a combatant or civilian touched by this war
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on 20 April 2018
A great insight into the German army's last days on the Eastern front. Written by a biographer after having long conversations with Allerberger, an assumed named. He recounts his time as a machine gunner in the Wehrmacht and now he became a sniper after getting his hands on a Russian rifle. How he did his sniper training several months after already becaming a successful sniper on the front lines. He gives first and second hand accounts of atrocities committed by the advancing Russian forces. And there are enough gory details if you're into that sort of thing. How he once shot an unarmed soldier because he thought the Russians where taking the mick by sunbathing within sight of the German lines. Various engagements with enemy snipers are also recounted. He gives good descriptions the field craft and tactics used to hold off the Russians while his regiment, the Gebrigsjager 144, retreated. Also having the ability to see things through his telescopic sigths and not being able to intervene in some horrific events. The book also contains a few photographs, one of Allerberger and a couple of his officers. So far I would say this is the best book I have read on this subject.
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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 26 April 2017
Great book, one that I find I want to keep reading. Not for the faint hearted, some of the graphic scenes make the opening sequences of Saving private ryan look like a walk in the park. This book really does bring over the brutality of war and just how terrible it is, particularly as it is a true story full of real happenings.
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on 11 October 2016
Horrors of war? You will find it here. One hears of the Eastern Front but this book places you there (thankfully from your armchair). This is the story of one man's war, of his companions, of German and Russian war crimes and of sheer survival.
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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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on 2 March 2018
I have read several books from other soldiers from Nazi controlled countries and how these men fought in conditions which were hopeless is beyond me. This man's account is very harrowing only just escaping capture several times and still being a sniper when knowing if caught he would be shot no questions.
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on 12 August 2017
A fascinating book on war from the German side, telling you how he survived against the odds while explaining how to be the best and not be killed yourself, some very interesting accounts of the war itself.
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on 7 May 2016
Good read,and the only criticism is the false name used of "Albrecht Wacker".
He was a brave man,although he was an enemy,just fighting for his comrades,and his family back home,and ultimately,his life.
We should at least have been told who this man was,as otherwise how much else of this otherwise excellent book,is also fictional?
It can't be classed as an autobiography,or even non-fiction,if the name on the main title is not the name of the subject.
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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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