Panzer Commander

  • by Hans von Luck, Stephen E. Ambrose (introduction)
  • Narrated by Bronson Pinchot
  • 15 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's 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.

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Customer Reviews

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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.
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- A Texan 2

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?
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- Jim "The Impatient"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-29-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios