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Publisher's Summary

Wounded five times and awarded numerous decorations for valor, Gottlob Herbert Bidermann saw action in the Crimea and siege of Sebastopol, participated in the vicious battles in the forests south of Leningrad, and ended the war in the Courland Pocket.
In his memoir, he shares his impressions of countless Russian POWs seen at the outset of his service, of peasants struggling to survive the hostilities while caught between two ruthless antagonists, and of corpses littering the landscape. He recalls a Christmas gift of gingerbread from home that overcame the stench of battle, an Easter celebrated with a basket of Russian hand grenades for eggs, and his miraculous survival of machine gun fire at close range. In closing, he relives the humiliation of surrender to an enemy whom the Germans had once derided and offers a sobering glimpse into life in the Soviet gulags. Bidermann's account debunks the myth of a highly mechanized German army that rolled over weaker opponents with impunity.
Despite the vast expanses of territory captured by the Germans during the early months of Operation Barbarossa, the war with Russia remained tenuous and unforgiving. His story commits that living hell to the annals of World War II and broadens our understanding of its most deadly combat zone.
©2000 The University Press of Kansas (P)2017 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Stands head and shoulders above the many other books in this genre. Bidermann's style is crisp, succinct, and lucid and Zumbro has done a great job of translating." (David Glantz, coauthor of The Battle of Kursk)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Makk L. on 10-03-17

War in the east is barely covered like ut is here

Really great story of just how difficult and important the war in the east is. Great book.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Kyle Foster on 12-01-17

don't hesitate

this book was amazing, from the beginning of the war all the way to the gulags at the end of the Germans Odyssey through World War II. this book offers you a chance to see through the eyes of a common German Soldier and not the extremist regime of Adolf Hitler as most historic references portray. this book gives you the opportunity to see Humanity as equals, controlled by extremist groups and Idol ology

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mark on 06-16-17

simply a superb listen...

I really enjoyed this audiobook. I dont remember a dull section. Its great if you enjoy history.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By phphoto on 05-31-17

A balanced and well written piece.

A well deserved five stars given. An amazing story from the "other" side of the terrible conflict. Good narrator, interesting voice and delivered in measured even tone.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Rew on 06-29-17

A poignant and compelling story

Bidermann's story is a fascinating glimpse into the life of a German soldier on the Eastern front - written simply, elegantly, and without dwelling on the politics of the war, nor on the horrors.

While it's always hard to know how genuine are claims of moral behaviour - he seems to not have harmed or abused a single non-combatant in all of his years of struggle - this story certainly gives the reader an empathy for the German soldier on the Eastern front, a character usually villified as a soulless automaton driven by evil.

Well worth listening.

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