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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 20 March 2006
I'm halfway through this book and I'm seriously considering giving up on it. It has been written in the manner of a grandfather telling the grandkids about what he did in the war, without going in to details or even displaying any coherent time line. Instead it has been broken down into one- or half-page 'anecdotes', for want of a better word, and aneathesised so as to not shock or offend the reader.
Whilst I do not want detailed descriptions of horrific incidents or tragic deaths of comrades, I would appreciate the author's frank and honest take on his experiences. I've read more detailed and gripping Famous Five books than this memoir.
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on 12 September 2009
I have read literally hundreds of accounts of the war on the Eastern front and have had many conversations with dozens of veterans who fought in Russia. So I was quite interesting in finding out about the perspective from the Russian side.

Unfortunately, I have every reason to be very disappointed with this "account".

First of all, it seems to have been written before the fall of the Soviet Union and I have been mislead by the date of publication in Great Britain (2004). The copyright was actually obtained in 1988.

This means that it is one of those publications filled with communist / Soviet propaganda to the brim, which can hardly be seen as reliable. And indeed, the Soviet soldiers are the bravest of the brave, whereas the Germans (quite inappropriatly called "Nazis" here - or simply "swine") are the most coward murderers, butchering even their allies, Hungarians and Romanians (which, needless to say, had socialist regimes when the book was written, hence being described as victims of the Germans). The author describes attacks in which the coward defenders have nothing better to do but to shoot each other for desertion, a trademark actually typical of the NKVD forces and the commisars, not so much of Wehrmacht officers. Also, POW camps become concentration camps in which Soviet prisoners are tortured to death by hanging them on hooks by their limbs and so on. A group of "Nazis" stand in a half circle around the soldier, laughing at his attempt to recover a waterproof coat - between the frontlines in Stalingrad - before he finds a box of handgranades which he arms under the eyes of the dull Germans before bombing them and spraying them with a submachinegun, which he found there as well, resulting in the Germans "roaring with something else" (but laughter). This is just one of many episodes of that sort.

It is this amateurish exaggeration which makes this book a piece of simple propaganda and nothing more. When reading German, British or American war accounts, they may have heroic parts here and there but usually they mostly match reality.

To put it in a nutshell - this book is useless garbage. What a shame, I really would have liked to have read a proper account from the viewpoint of a Red Army soldier.
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on 28 May 2011
I do not think this book is 'garbage' as one reviewer called it. The book is a personal recollection by a Soviet infantryman: hardly surprising then that the author views the Germans as brutes, while following the patriotic Communist Party line. In essence, the book is a series of anecdotes/reminiscences of front-line life on the Eastern Front. The book is not an unbiased overview or an academic study, it is a personal account by a Soviet-era veteran. The value of the book lies in its graphic depiction of the savagery of war, and its heart-rending scenes of human suffering. If the book is read in context, then I think it is not bad at all. Finally, one should remember that the German war against Russia was racially motivated: the Russians, when defeated, were to be consigned to the Nazi museum of 'vanished peoples' - no wonder the author of this book was a bit miffed with the Germans!
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on 1 January 2008
An unsual account written from the Red Army perspective. A good personal and detailed account, although it feels like there are some aspects of his experiences that it would have been good to have seen. As always with acccounts written after the war, the reliability must be a little suspect. Well worth the read
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on 1 September 2008
Published wartime memoirs by former Soviet soldiers are comparatively rare (compared to British, US or German ones), which is unfortunate given the huge scale and utterly ruthless nature of the land war in Russia, of which many today are unaware. In my view, this is a remarkable, unassuming account of one man's experience of WW2. The author shows loyalty to Communist ideals (not unusual in Russia) but it is also an emotional account, demonstrating the fortitude and suffering of the Soviet people. Well worth a read.
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on 24 February 2009
I agree with Richard Miles "Stilletto_Rebel". I gave 3 stars because its not that common to find a Soviet book in English, so its worth more than it normally would be, for that reason.
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on 31 March 2012
Read this guys time in hospital .... says it all .... innocent, fragile, scooped up by the war machine and spat out to a bed in who knows where. The hospital memories say it all ... but rather than me hint at what that means ... read it

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on 26 January 2016
Very good
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