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Twilight of the Gods

A Swedish Waffen-SS Volunteer's Experiences with the 11th SS-Panzergrenadier Division Nordland, Eastern Front 1944-45
Narrated by: Bruce Mann
Length: 5 hrs and 50 mins
5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Summary

Twilight of the Gods was originally written in Swedish, and published in Buenos Aires shortly after the end of WWII. Erik Wallin, a Swedish soldier who volunteered for service with the Waffen-SS, participated in the climactic battles on the Eastern Front during late 1944 and 1945, later telling his story to this book's editor, Thorolf Hillblad.

Wallin served with the Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion, 11th SS-Panzergrenadier Division Nordland, a unit composed mainly of non-German volunteers, including Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes. The division enjoyed a high reputation for its combat capability, and was always at the focal points of the fighting on the Eastern Front in the last year of the war. During this period it saw combat in the Baltic, in Pomerania, on the Oder, and finally in defense of Berlin, where it was destroyed.

Erik Wallin served with his unit in all of these locations, and provides the listener with a fascinating glimpse into these final battles. The book is written with a "no holds barred" approach which will captivate, excite, and maybe even shock the listener - his recollections do not evade the brutality of fighting against the advancing Red Army. Twilight of the Gods is destined to become a classic memoir of the Second World War.

©2002 Thorolf Hillblad (P)2019 Tantor

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • S. H. Moore
  • 21-11-19

A truly unique look at the Eastern Front from a devout Nazi.

Where to start? Performance wise 4 stars. Bruce Mann is a good reader. However, this book sometimes had to much of an excitable tone to it. Kind of got tiring sometimes. I’ve listen to plenty of first hand accounts and 4 from the Eastern Front alone. All them are able to convey the action and emotions without sounding like they are using their voice and tone to convey the urgency and chaos of the action. Perhaps this has some to do with the writing, but the reader came off a bit shouty sometimes. But is pronunciations of slang and military terms was good. This is a pet peeve of many military history listeners.

The story is very action heavy. There is no usual tales of enlisting and basic training, it’s straight to the front. I like these types of books. I listen to them in between breaks from very long, heavy, technical works to break things up. It’s is great in that respect. However, being that the story covers a strategic retreat it is the same style of engagement over and over. The contacts get repetitive if you listen in a long stint. I do not really hold this against the book itself, it was the nature of the conflict at that time. Just something to be aware of.

Something some readers have mentioned negatively, is that the author, was a FOREIGN WAFFEN SS VOLUNTEER! He is a very strong, committed, Nazi. The narrative is full of racial commentary. It was written right after the war and you can tell. Some of the Amazon reviews condemn this book for it, I think it’s great insomuch that It really lends a sense of authenticity to the story. After all this was a man so possessed to leave his native home, and fight for a foreign country’s cause because he believed in it.

In the end while this books has some failings, and the reading lacks (or has quirks), you cannot really discount this book for it much. It is a truly unique, in that it’s breaks from the common man of the Wehrmacht, fightings for brothers in arms and families back home, while secretly detesting the Nazi party and Hitler. This is something that almost all other German memoirs echo. For this fact alone this book is worth reading or listening to. I even added a physical copy to my collect.

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  • J.Brock
  • 09-12-19

Good hearing another viewpoint, but hard to follow

Hearing about the war from the vantage point of the Germans, and in this case the Swedish Panzergrenadier, is always interesting. You know what happened in the war, and you know that the German's ideology was the most atrocious and diabolical the world has almost ever seen throughout history. Interestingly, those fighting on the Eastern front were fighting to rid the world of the communist scourge that was Russia or "Ivan." That is the gist of this book. However, this book is hard to follow. It's not ordered in any particular way, so it makes it difficult to know what is going on and when. Also, the narrator is a bit shrill in this work.

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  • Debra Faber
  • 15-02-20

Propaganda piece

This book provides good history if you can look past the Nazi propaganda it contains.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-02-20

SS Propaganda

Egentlig en fin bog, der tydeligt viser kampen på østfronten i 1944/45. Men forfatteren falder over i ren nazi volapyk alt for meget.

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  • Susan
  • 25-01-20

Fasinating story from the other side

Interesting to hear a story by a true believer in the nazi cause, no apologies made and with many references to the greatness of western socialism. amazing ANYONE could come though those battles alive...let alone multiple battles