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Panzer Commander

The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck
Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
Length: 15 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (312 ratings)
Regular price: £28.09
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Summary

A stunning look at World War II from the other side.... From the turret of a German tank, Colonel Hans von Luck commanded Rommel's 7th and then 21st Panzer Division. El Alamein, Kasserine Pass, Poland, Belgium, Normandy on D-Day, the disastrous Russian front - von Luck fought there with some of the best soldiers in the world. German soldiers. Awarded the German Cross in Gold and the Knight's Cross, von Luck writes as an officer and a gentleman. Told with the vivid detail of an impassioned eyewitness, his rare and moving memoir has become a classic in the literature of World War II, a first-person chronicle of the glory - and the inevitable tragedy - of a superb soldier fighting Hitler's war.

©1989 Hans von Luck (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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'Allo 'Allo

An interesting and absorbing subject from a participating character right at the centre of the action. My only issue with this audiobook is the narrator, why oh why did an American actor with a perfectly listenable voice insist on an 'Allo 'Allo style German accent that occasionally varied to French when pronouncing words such as 'adjutant'. I listened to the end purely for the sake of the story of an interesting officer.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Les
  • Epsom, United Kingdom
  • 03-05-15

Fascinating funny and horrific read

This guy took part in almost every theatre of the war. Gives a fascinating insight into the life of the average soldier in detail rarely told, a must read for anyone interested in military history, especially from the German perspective!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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What is the purpose?

It's a very good and well written diary, but I have to ask?

Why ruin the experience, by having a non German speaking narrator read it out with an acquired German accent.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Did not live up to expectation

I am disappointed. The narration is so flat and unengaging. Also an English speaking narrator trying to speak with a German accent make the experience feel disgenuine and frankly even annoying. Midway through you get a little used to it but by the end of the book it really gets difficult to listen to. The book was written decades after the events so it feels a little detached too. Maybe it is mainly due to the narration but I felt that it lacked depth. Specially the chapters after D day until his captivity.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • R
  • Wokingham, United Kingdom
  • 27-08-14

Shame he was on the wrong side

If you could sum up Panzer Commander in three words, what would they be?

Honest, forthright and non-sensasional

What did you like best about this story?

The very sincere way he felt about the fighting

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The journey back home and his feelings of the world he was now away from

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No

Any additional comments?

He was a very honest man who must have felt bad that he was tarred with the brush of Nazism

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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An Unmissable Different Perspective

As a British person growing up watching war movies you believed all Germans were bad and emotionless. Listening to this book my eyes opened to the German cause and suffering. It also highlighted to me how crazy some of the actions the German high command made during the war. Would you believe that half way through I started to feel sorry for the ordinary German soldier who didn't stand a chance in many aspects but was forced to carry on. Excellent book, highly recommend to anyone to read or listen and get a perspective from the other side of the front line. RIP Hans Von Luck

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great story but a shame about the reader

If you could sum up Panzer Commander in three words, what would they be?

Fascinating and understated, One can't help liking von Luck, a gentleman in a time when it was very difficult. The very definition of a good man.

What didn’t you like about Bronson Pinchot’s performance?

mispronunciation of names and general lacklustre performance. Why use a French speaker to tell a German's story

Any additional comments?

This is a tremendous tale of an amazing life, constantly surprising, von Luck must have been a remarkable character

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • frank
  • Isle of Anglesey
  • 10-01-15

Fascinating read

Superb book for those interested in the German viewpoint - honest and sometimes brutal a must for anyone interested in WWII

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great span of a story, wonderfully read

very well written and such a great reader. not intricate battlefield detail, but sufficient for war aficionados. but the wider sweep of the theatre's of war is well captured

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An excellent listen

great book, hugely interesting and fascinating. narration is excellent and top class. very highly recommended

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  • Randall
  • 08-11-16

Reads like Forrest Gump ( a fiction )

This guy has a grand opinion of himself. We are expected to believe all these tales. Von Luck must have been Superman. All his deeds were honorable and all his enemies became good friends, and he was best friends with all the generals in Germany. This book can only be entertaining if you think of it as a fiction or you are very gullible. Maybe Von Luck has "added" a little each time he told his tales until he came up with this grandiose story.

100 of 108 people found this review helpful

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  • Justin
  • 19-03-18

Great listen but be wary

Any additional comments?

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but do be wary. von Luck was pretty notorious for embellishing his stories. They tended to change slightly with each telling so take what you hear with a grain of salt.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • Karl Johan Widell
  • 31-12-18

The narrator sucks so hard.

...His german accent is laughing stock. Stop spoiling a good story in this way. Failed product

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • R. Bee
  • 03-06-15

Hard to listen to the fake accent

This is a good story if you can get past the horrible fake German accent. If you like this kind of book, you would probably enjoy "A Higher Call" by Adam Makos. It is a great book that is so much easier to listen to.

18 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • 27-06-15

For Serious WWII Buffs

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not for me. I wanted to hear about the human side of WWII from a German Soldier. This book is more for Military Historians [Think: "On the 2 of July we went up against the right flank of the 3 battalion of Montey's Third Division" and "For his actions that day Lieutenant X was given the Knight's Cross..." ]. If that sort of thing is what you want: Do it!

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Yawn.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

He was fine for this type of book.

Do you think Panzer Commander needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No followup required for me.

Any additional comments?

In this entire book, I don't think more than 10 minutes were devoted to stories of the human side of the war.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 25-11-15

A Lover of His Enemies

He loves the Russians, he loves the Polish, he loves the French, he loves the bedlams. He was a professional solider. He killed Russians, he killed Poles, he killed Frenchmen. This guy never meet an enemy he didn't love and kill. He did not like Hitler or the SS. Pretty interesting how politically correct he is in his old age.

This is a must read for Military enthusiasts and World War II historians. The book is full of German Strategies, military jargon, and high adventure.

I got it, because I thought I might get some answers on why Hitler did what he did and why people followed him. Luck did what he did because he was a Prussian Aristocrat, whose family had a history of being in the military. He followed orders. If told, "Go invade Poland", he did not question it and looked forward to the adventure of getting out and killing Polish people. The same for France and for Russia. He knew nothing about concentration camps, even though all his Jewish friends kept disappearing. I never found out why Hitler invaded anybody.

This is a great book for looking at World War II from the rarely seen other side, as far as strategy goes, but don't look for Why?

24 of 39 people found this review helpful

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  • A Texan 2
  • 15-09-14

A compelling look into WW2 from the "other" side

This is not a book I would have normally found on my own. But, a good friend recommended it and I am most grateful that he did. It is a recollection of World War II that everyone should read.

These are the memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck and in it he shares his experiences of his life as an officer in the German army leading up to and through World War II. It also gives his account of the five years he spent after the war in a Soviet POW camp and his eventual return to life as a civilian.

This book is not a glorification or romanticization of war. It is not a defense of Hitler's Germany, nor an apology. It is an explanation of how men who were patriots of their country had that loyalty twisted and abused in Hitler's quest for world domination. It is a view "from the trenches" and gives great insight into both the details of the battles von Luck fought in, and the thoughts and feelings of him and his men through the various stages of the war.

While I did find the narrative bog down from time to time with the details of movements during some of the campaigns, what really makes this book a standout are von Luck's insights into how the German army viewed the war as well as the descriptions of encounters that he had with his enemies both as captor and prisoner. von Luck also brings into this collection additional stories from his companions who got separated from him over the course of the war - of people he befriended in Paris during the time Germany initially occupied it, of subordinates captured by the Americans in North Africa and the time they spent in POW camps in the American Midwest, of the woman who was for a time his fiance before his capture and five year internment.

In war, governments seek to make their citizens see the enemy as something not human. von Luck makes nots of the Nazi propaganda machines efforts to make the German citizens see the Soviets as "sub-humans" at the time that Hitler broke his non-agression pact with Stalin and started the disastrous invasion of the Russian homeland. This book shows that all of these peoples - Russians, Germans, French, Brits, even the Americans - weren't just "others" but were men doing their best to follow the orders of the civilian leaders under difficult circumstances. It is a book anyone who would claim the mandate of leader of a country should read to better understand the human face of war and the young men whose lives are spent engaging in "politics by other means."

For the narration - Bronson Pinchot did an excellent job of bringing this story to life. His inflection, rhythm and accents really made me feel like Colonel von Luck was sitting down in the room with me and telling his story.

30 of 49 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 26-07-14

Wonderful new perspective; Best narration ever

What was one of the most memorable moments of Panzer Commander?

It was wonderful to hear this perspective from the other side of the conflict (I listened to the book while re-watching Band of Brothers). Hans von Luck was a professional soldier who did an extremely tough job with determination, discipline and high intelligence. The question here is naturally how someone like that could work within the Nazi cloud, and do the Nazi bidding? His contemplative reflection of his own role goes a long way to answering the question for this man at least.

What about Bronson Pinchot’s performance did you like?

Pinchot's use of a German accent was a spot-on choice, and immaculately executed. His gentle tone also went a long way (rightly or wrongly) to shaping my impression of Hans von Luck himself. I immediately looked at all the other books Pinchot has narrated, and have already picked another one.

Any additional comments?

If you want to see how a refined man of great intelligence could be drawn into the Nazi strategy even though he did not share their ideology, and continue to execute his military assignments with astonishing professionalism even though he knew the war was lost years before, this is the book for you.

11 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • JL2
  • 05-04-19

Excellent account of WWII from the German perspective

Highly enjoyable. Bronson Pinchot’s accent made it seem as though Hans von Luck was telling his story directly to me. I could not put it down. The saddest part was not the war, destruction, or devastation; but the growing apart from Dagmar and her death.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rene Marin
  • 04-04-19

a must read for all generations.

Extremely well written. Several sections brought me to tears.
The humanity in which the material is presented is breathtaking.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful