14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Somewhat misleading title...,
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This review is from: Sniper Ace: From the Eastern Front to Siberia (Hardcover)
Being a member of a shooting club, and trying to develop my sniping skills, I am also interested in the historical context and evolution of sniping. There are some really good technical manuals on the market, but I also like to read the personal accounts of this special breed of soldiers, especially those who fought in WWII. I started reading this particular book with great anticipation, expecting an original story from a real sniper ace, and some interesting technical details about the rifles and different scope and ammunition he used and how he developed his personal skills. However, to start with, only half of the book is about his actual sniper's career, which started rather late in the war. Rather than telling an intriguing story of his life at the frontline, the first part of the book rapidly becomes repetitive (and therefore somewhat tedious) as it quickly becomes a mere summing up of each kill, which is then also repeated in more "official" terms, providing time, place, witnesses and effects of the Russians he kills ("shot in the chest" is I believe repeated almost a hundred time (or at least so it sounds...) It is described in a cool, almost distant manner, which almost makes the reader forget that behind the daily cummulative counter, each victim was a human being after all. Half way the book, Sutkus is captured which is the start of a totally different novel, describing his relationship with a woman and child he wants to take care off when these are banished to Siberia. It is a sad story about deprivation, humiliation, escaping death by a wisker on a number of occasions. Of his life on a collective farm, where he develops agricultural working methods that are superior to those of the corrupt Soviet system. In the end he is allowed to go back to Lithuania and finally Germany where he is reunited with the Red Cross Nurse he feel in love with during his time in the army. As such - from the point of view of a reader who expected a real sniper's story, this was a disappointment. The translation isn't that accurate either, which made the balance finaly tilt toward two starts rather than three. I can much more recommend: "Sniper on the Eastern Front: The Memoirs of Sepp Allerberger, Knight's Cross" by Albrecht Wacker or "The Sniper" by James Riordan.