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3.8 out of 5
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  • not a particularly self reflective author

    I must admit to disappoint with this book. I had hoped to gain some insight into the thinking of soldiers in the German army during WWII. Herr Bartmann, unfortunately does not seem to have been a particularly self reflective individual. I had been interested in knowing his reactions to news of the gradual defeat of the German Army. Surely, there must have been rumours going around; but we hear none of this. We only know that Bartmann is aware of impending defeat only after he himself has been involved in several retreats. I would also be interested in his reactions to rumours of German atrocities on the Eastern front. We here plenty about Russian atrocities, but no hint that they were reactions to the scorched earth strategy of the German army. Of course, there are atrocities on both sides of any war. Nonetheless, I would recommend this to anyone who has never read this type of story before. This is a well written account of the experiences of one German soldier who signed up for idealistic reasons. The reader gets the impression that, had he been in this young man's shoes, the reader himself would have signed up. This is a cautionary tale about being caught up in the ideals peddled by demagogic political leaders.

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