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Summary

An international best seller, this is a German soldier's firsthand account of life on Russian front during the second half of the Second World War.

When Guy Sajer joins the infantry full of ideals in the summer of 1942, the German army is enjoying unparalleled success in Russia. However, he quickly finds that for the foot soldier the glory of military success hides a much harsher reality of hunger, fatigue and constant deprivation. Posted to the crack Grosse Deutschland division, with its sadistic instructors who shoot down those who fail to make the grade, he enters a violent and remorseless world where all youthful hope is gradually ground down, and all that matters is the brute will to survive. As the biting cold of the Russian winter sets in, and the tide begins to turn against the Germans, life becomes an endless round of pounding artillery attacks and vicious combat against a relentless and merciless Red Army. A book of stunning force, this is an unforgettable reminder of the horrors of war.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©2019 Guy Sajer (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

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One of my favourite books of all time.

Regardless off all the controversy surrounding how accurate the accounts of the author are. You should take nothing, literally nothing away from these truly incomprehensible recollections of a young soldier, fighting on the Eastern front, during what must have been quite frankly one of the most harrowing experiences a human being can go through.

3 people found this helpful

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The best book on a soldier's personal experience

Got to be the best book on a soldier's personal experiences in world war two, or indeed any other conflict in history .

3 people found this helpful

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excellent in depth recollection

of a french soldiers experiences on eastern front, Guy Sajer was only 16 when he entered the German army, eventually making it into the most elite regiment. The sheer suffering he witnesses and endures and shares with us is almost too much to bear over the course of the book. So much so, that one often has to put it down after a few pages to compose oneself and emotionally re-center.

Brutal, honest, and traumatizing. This account of the German perspective of the war shows the horrors these young men faced. I feel both the Allied Forces and the Germans acted out of convictions of duty, courage, and the preservation of life. This story will stick with me for years to come and will act as a reminder of the carnage and death that can only come from war.

Writers like Sajer, will never allow the future generations to forget, the miseries of world war soldiers.

World war two was fought by soldiers but described by soldiers who become writers; Sajer belongs to this rare breed; he accomplished this rare job by writing, under stressful circumstances and arranging the information, for future readers.

Sajer did a fine job in describing, the situation and psychology of a foot soldier, respect and value of enemy, Morality of a losing infantry, Hate for partisans, Agony of dying comrades, Worries of families, Benevolence of seniors, Difficulty of weather, Hardship of immobility, Frustration of illness and much more.

This is a very fine book for those, who want to read about the agonies and pain of German soldiers. This book gives altogether a different aspect of world war. This helps in understanding a crucial fact of war that .... the true enemy of, a man in war is .... the war itself!

"We felt like lost souls, who had forgotten that men are made for something else, that time exists, and hope, and sentiments other than anguish; that friendship can be more than ephemeral, that love can sometimes occur, that the earth can be productive, and used for something other than burying the dead.”

― Guy Sajer, The Forgotten Soldier

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Excellent

Read this book years ago first rate narration extremely enjoyable I will certainly listen again

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gripping story

superb story, limited in detail but all the more real as a result. incredible to have survived such an ordeal

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The best account that I have listened to

An epic and well-narrated story. The most absorbing account of front-line life that I have listened to and I will listen again many times.

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interesting to hear a different side

strange to hear a French man on the other side ! a young boy who should never been there no matter what side , growing up fighting the Russians on the easter front .

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Emotional & at times Poetic

I really appreciated this book (enjoy doesn't feel quite right).
I found it very powerful and honest. Unlike some other books written by German soldiers this one feels very honest and the author doesn't cover up his own faults. The writing is poetic at times and it's a book filled with sadness, yet it is very powerful, really wish I could meet this guy and ask him some unanswered questions the book raised for me.

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Interesting story

Ok Story. Sadly I found the narrators lack of emotion a ND his tone rather tiresome by the end.

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Thought provoking and enjoyable

A side of WW2 not often heard. Well written, well read and well worth a listen.

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  • Sorin Pintiliasa
  • 20-04-21

Fantastic turn of events

No one in our day could imagine such a life, respect to everyone who participated!

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  • John S.
  • 29-10-20

A must read for someone who wants to understand both sides of war and well read by the narrator

A great insight in to war on the Russian front from a German perspective. Excellent narration by Roger Davis who really brought the story to life