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Summary

Gunter Koschorrek wrote his illicit diary on any scraps of paper he could lay his hands on. As keeping a diary was strictly forbidden, he sewed the pages into the lining of his thick winter coat and deposited them with his mother on infrequent trips home on leave. The diary went missing, and it was when he was reunited with his daughter in America some 40 years later that it came to light and became Blood Red Snow.

The author was a keen recruit at initial training, and his excitement at the first encounter with the enemy in the Russian Steppe is obvious. The horror and confusion of fighting in the streets of Stalingrad are brought to life by his descriptions of the others in his unit; their differing manners and techniques for dealing with the squalor and death. He is also posted to Romania and Italy, assignments he remembers fondly compared to his time on the Eastern Front.

This book stands as a memorial to the huge numbers on both sides who did not survive and is, over five decades later, the fulfillment of a responsibility he feels to honor the memory of those who perished. Gunter K. Koschorrek was a machine-gunner on the Russian front in WWII. He lives in Germany, having retired from his job as managing director of a sales company.

©2002 Greenhill Books (P)2018 Tantor

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

If you like the Eastern front then you’ll like this book

This book is the story of a teenage recruit on the eastern front in ww2. Its not the best memoir I have read or listened to the story is told in diary form, one thing I did find different in this book is the soilder telling the story is in constant retreat, the story starts from the Don steppe during the assault on Stalingrad and its basically the soilders diary entry’s of the reteat back to German. The story is told well but is quite dry and boring at times for a book about the eastern front. I suppose the truth is sometimes boring compared to other books I have read that I seriously doubt there authenticity. All in all a part of history not wrote about enough

9 people found this helpful

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very good book

i liked this book it's a good story ,glosses over atrocities and keeps talking about kalashnikov's which didn't exsist until after ww2 but other than that you get the idea it's mainly true .

7 people found this helpful

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Honest view of the brutality of the Eastern front

Have to say this is very engagjng memoir both through the context of the narrative and the performancs of the narrator a must listen for anyone interested in ww2 eastern front from german perspective or ww2 memoirs in general

2 people found this helpful

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excellent audio book

narrator was very. very interesting view of the war. enjoyed it a lot flowed very well

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superb

Great book, vividly explains on the horror of war, had me hooked.
Sad ,occasionally light hearted ,well written ,almost felt I was there with him.

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Excellent

For anyone with an interest in WWII and the soldier’s experiences of fighting on the Eastern Front, this is an absolute must. It ranks as highly as that of Guy Sajer’s personal account. Utterly compelling, I listened to it over 2 days. The narrator is excellent, and avoids the common error in many audio books of trying, and failing miserably, to give each character an individual and inappropriate voice which spoils so many other otherwise excellent listens. Superb.

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Excellent

I couldn’t put this book down. Well written and well read. A graphic story of life on the eastern front.
Highly recommended

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The Russian front from a German perspective.

A biographical account of the war on the eastern front from a German soldier's perspective. Fascinating story from a couple of points of view. Firstly, it deals with the gradual grinding down of the German army by the rampant Red Army advance through the experiences of Gunter Koschorrek. Secondly, the theme running through the book amplifies where it all went wrong for the Germans in the east and how the lack of equipment, inability to replace dead and wounded men in sufficient numbers and severe logistical supply problems resulted in predictable ultimate defeat.

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A gripping and realistic portrayal

Very easy to listen to. A gripping and visceral account of life on the western front and a candid account from a German HMG Gunner.

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Brilliant account

First class and honestly told book of an eastern front soldier. Well read by narrator.
Should be red in conjunction with book bu guy sayer about his account on eastern front.

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  • Grant Harper
  • 01-04-21

OK war story but off putting in its cleanliness.

Our German protagonist serves as a heavy machine gunner on the eastern front and in the story you’ll find good info about the day to day life of a soldier but our author scarcely witnesses any ungentlemanly behavior from his comrades and only notes the Russians massacring prisoners and raping women in droves, most of the time their own civilians. It is quite off putting just how clean the author depicts German forces and it strikes as inauthentic and scrubbed. Nothing at all like the raw look at war’s brutality we see in Eugene Sledge’s famous memoir. The narrator did a good job with his performance but I can't help but feel like the narrator should have been younger. I understand that there is a certain appeal to the "old man telling his war stories" approach but I personally would have preferred a voice actor closer in age to a young man undergoing these events.

In fact, this book is filled with strange almost propaganda like scenes. The Soviet civilians are all too ready to jump up and serve the nice Germans even as late as 1942/1943. There is a Russian peasant girl who falls in love with the German occupiers billeted in her house and cries when they are forced to retreat. A Russian pilot is shot down after mistaking a German column for one of his own and the German soldiers share a hearty laugh and cigarettes with him when he realizes his mistake. The author at one point after being rotated to Italy for a period remarks at how the people there long to be annexed by Germany. The Russian soldiers are always portrayed as drunk savages and at one point in the book some of them run straight into German lines to be captured after being chased by angry bees they’ve stirred up in a scene that sounds more like a cartoon than anything resembling the horrors of the eastern front.

All in all it is a fairly standard if generic war story. The politics and politicians are bad. Our soldiers were good. National Socialism, war of eradication against Judeo Bolshevism? Pffft never touched the stuff myself.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Sonia Lopez
  • 09-12-19

One of the best personal accounts coming out of WW2

I’ve read many many wartime biographies and autobiographies including such classics as the thin red line, helmet for my pillow, with the old breed, samurai, forgotten soldier and this beauty holds its own. The author did a fantastic job balancing foxhole detail with thoughtful and intelligent reflections which show he never really lost perspective on what he was going through. What a masterpiece.

10 people found this helpful

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  • S. H. Moore
  • 31-05-19

Simply one of the best.

Whether you are looking for a German WW2 story. WW2 in general, or just a first hand accounting of war in general, Blood Red Snow is a vivid real telling of some of the ugliest most brutal combat in modern history. Splendid telling of a terrible experience. 5 stars.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Tefft Smith
  • 29-05-19

War is hell!!

A well written, riveting account of the horrors of ground combat and the understandably dehumanizing emotions it engenders in those misfortuned to experience it. Fascinating to experience it vicariously and from a German soldier’s experience, giving me all the more gratitude that I personally was spared the misfortune. Also, it made all the more understandable how the Nazi regime manipulated so many young men and women, thrusting them into the caldron of the total terror of “kill or be killed, brutally.”

6 people found this helpful

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  • fill
  • 04-08-18

Great Book

Liked the story from a grunts point of view on the Eastern Front. Narrator was good except the English accent. Thought a German accent would have been more realistic but maybe too hard to understand?

10 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 29-04-21

Great writing, better narration

I think this is the most enjoyable narration of a WW2 book I have listened to, out of dozens. the book itself is quite well done and insightful.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Chad baker
  • 04-10-20

Best Eastern front book I have ever read.

this is the story of the average soldier in a hellish war and his inner dialogue shows he is not a nazi fanatic but rather a foot soldier, a very lucky one at that.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-03-20

Awesome story

This is a great memoir of a german soldier and his comrades. The narrator does a great job . It has intense moments yet I found myself laughing at some events he describes. would recommend.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous
  • 22-02-20

Excellent book!

This book is great! The author goes into so much detail you almost get absorbed into it as if you're right there with them! Very well detailed and be really breaks everything down, I also enjoyed the fact that he wrote this book as he wrote it in his diary with the dates and everything. The author does say he's fairly young when he enters the war, and you get that vibe. Unlike some of the other memoir/ firsthand experience books, you know right of the bar the author is either an adult or a better older. This author was fairly young and you can tell from his writing the way he complains about certain things at the beginning and shows he really has no battle experience. Then as the book progresses you can see that author is maturing and his confidence really boosts up as the war goes on, it's almost as if that author grows up right in front of us!

I see a lot of people disliking the British accent from the narrator, and I get it british terms are used here and there and kind of throws you off a bit. But i also feel like he did an excellent job portraying the author in his thoughts, tiredness, being hurt, and modifying his voice when he read something a different soldier stated, i feel he did a great job!

Overall this book was great, I just wish that author would've elaborated a bit more on his life before the war and after the war/ captivity. He basically picks up after when he's in the middle of his training and ends the book when he leaves captivity. I wish he would've let us know what he did after that, what career did he end up going into etc.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Joseph
  • 13-06-19

Russian Front

Its good to hear the other side of the story. Good narration, (few mispronounced words), but overall great story, interesting

3 people found this helpful