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Publisher's Summary

On a visit to the British National Archive in 2001, Sonke Neitzel made a remarkable discovery: reams of meticulously transcribed conversations among German POWs that had been covertly recorded and recently declassified. Neitzel would later find another collection of transcriptions, twice as extensive, in the National Archive in Washington, D.C. These were discoveries that would provide a unique and profoundly important window into the true mentality of the soldiers in the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, the German navy, and the military in general - almost all of whom had insisted on their own honorable behavior during the war.
Collaborating with renowned social psychologist Harald Welzer, Neitzel examines these conversations - and the casual, pitiless brutality omnipresent in them - from a historical and psychological perspective, and in reconstructing the frameworks and situations behind these conversations, they have created a powerful narrative of wartime experience.
©2011 Soenke Neitzel and Harald Welzer; English translation by Jefferson Chase copyright 2012 (P)2012 HighBridge Company
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Scott on 11-15-13

Banality of evil

Any additional comments?

Scholarly account of secretly recorded conversations of WWII German POWs. The transcripts are presented more or less verbatim which makes them all the more chilling as the subjects converse in cold blooded detail murder of civilians, war crimes, and the thrill of killing as if it were a video game. You will find little remorse here. An unnerving account of what war turns men into. On the downside, I found the narration a little dry and lacking.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars
By Jill S. on 08-18-17


If you re looking for war stories, don't buy this book. The audio sample is misleading. The book will tell a 30 second war story and then drone on for thirty minutes on the psychological and sociological factors involved. It's as dry as a text book and just as interesting.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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