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Favorite autobiographies?

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by Gibson, Jul 27, 2001.

  1. Gibson

    Gibson Member

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    I think it'd be a good idea to discuss what your favorite veteran-written books are in a thread. I see many topics praising a certain book, so why dont we make ourself a little list of the best autobiographies here for WWII veterans?

    My personal favorites:

    In Deadly Combat by Gottlobb Herbert Bidermann - Its probably my favorite autobiography that I have read to date because it was my first one to read. Not many know about it because its only been in hardcover up to a couple weeks ago, but this is the best it gets folks, read this NOW!

    Grenadiers by Kurt Meyer - Another incredible account of the fighting from France 1940 to Normandy in 1944 with the East Front getting the most attention. Republished for the American audience, I couldnt recommend this more, a must-read for small unit actions.

    Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer - Anyone who hasnt read this already should be kicked off the forums! ;) Probably the most well-known of all the German accounts of WWII, and its fantastic too.

    Lets hear others too! Ive started to read Condemned to Live by Franz Frisch and its going to be another must-read by the time I finish it and will order Remy's book ASAP.

    [ 01 August 2001: Message edited by: Gibson ]
     
  2. panzergrenadiere

    panzergrenadiere Member

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    My all time favorite veterana written book would have to be Panzer Commader: The memiors of Colonel Hans Von Luck. I love that book.
     
  3. Stefan

    Stefan Cavalry Rupert

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    I have read 'The Forgotten Soldier' and I think it is a damn good read, about as close as any of us could comfortably get to the eastern front in WW2. On the negative side a lot of questions have been asked about how accurate it is. People criticize Sajer for the mistakes he makes etc, personaly I dont see a problem with it because it is a damn good book and well worth reading but I would think twice about using it as a historical source. If anyone is interestend in the arguments for and against it take a look at: http://members.home.net/deutschesoldaten/

    Let me know where you stand...
     
  4. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    So far my new favorite is Soldat, by Siegfried Knappe. Im now reading Panzer Commander, by: Hans von Luck. So far its been very well done and im only on page 43.

    My ULTIMATE favorite will always be: "Shooting the War" by: Otto Giese. This is an excellent U-boat officers story.
    :D :D

    [ 30 July 2001: Message edited by: C.Evans ]
     
  5. panzergrenadiere

    panzergrenadiere Member

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    I have never heard of "Shooting the War", but I will try to find it now if you think thats its such a good book. I'm still looking in bookstores for Panzerjager.
     
  6. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Shooting The War, by Otto Giese, and some USN Captain, is a book written through the eyes of a U-boat Officer.

    That Officer is Otto Giese, and he was second watch officer on U 181.

    He is now over 90 and is ill, and lives in Florida. He signed a copy of it for me and sent it to his comrades to present it to me at their 9th reunion in Bad Camberg, Germany last sept 17th and 18th.

    Ive got a great relationship with all the surviving crewmembers of that U-boat.

    To make a long story short, here is what my deal is with U 181.

    On Nov 02 1944, they stalked and sank my grandfathers ship, the SS Fort Lee. They tried to help my grandfathers crew by giving them food, water, medicine, blankets, tobacco, and a flare pistol.

    They found out about a month later, that only one lifeboat was found, which had my grandfather and one other man aboard. The other had died from exposure, and my grandfather was very ill, but was saved. None of the other lifeboats had ever been found.

    Just in the last few months, I was able to give U 181s crew, some news they had never heard and was a shock to them. During the attack, their torpedoes killed 27 crewmen, which is the exact number they saw on lifeboats, and had thought they were the entire crew, and never thought that any of them were even wounded. Well, 27 were killed in the initial explosions, out of a crew of I think 63. My grandfather, was the only man ever found-alive.

    Some 56 years later, I took up some active research trying to find out anything at all at what happened. It took a few months and bits of info started filtering in.

    I met my great friend Susanne, because of a posting on a German language Uboat site. She contacted Horst Bredow at the U-boat Archiv in Cuxhaven/Altenbruch, Germany. Through Horsts extreme kindness, he (which is against German law)gave my friend the address to a crewman from the uboat. She contacted him, and of course he was in contact with all the surviving men of U 181.

    It took about a year of planning, and they set up a reunion in Bad Camberg, Germany, to which Susanne and I were invited as guests of honor.

    With the good grace of god, I was able to make it there. Susanne and I spent two days with these men and wives, and were made honorary crewmen of U 181 and were ceremoniously entered into the Kriegsmarine Enlistment Rolls, and will be the only two that this will happen to. We are the Kriegsmarines newest recruits, since 1945; and its last.

    Back to the book a bit:

    It starts off with Otto Giese in training, and goes thropugh to the start of the war, to when they became POWs in Singapore and a bit of his life since his release.

    I never found anything boring in this book, even if it was not all to do with being in battle. If you get it, I stake any reputation I have here on these forums, that you will like it. If you get it and do not like the book, I will gladly buy it from you and give it away or either send it to the surviving crewmen to sign for me and keep as a second copy.

    You might be able to order it through a good major bookstore like Barnes and Nobles, B Dalten, Waldenbooks, or whatever is in your area. Also, Amazon.com should have it, or Helion.co.uk.

    The book is a definate must for anyone wanting a true, honest account through the eyes of a member of the Wehrmacht.

    I not only try to publicise this book because the men are friends of mine, but it simply is THAT good.

    Another U 181 man is writing a book on his experiances on U 181, starting with being under Wolfgang Luth, and serving till the end of the war. This man is Bernhard Trenn.

    There will eventually be a nice section here that is on U 181, and will have many photos here that were given to me by the vets. I know Otto will surprise me at how well he will make the site look (rubbing hands together) I can hardly wait to see the results (drooling) [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. Cliff Weirmeir

    Cliff Weirmeir Member

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    I see that there is alot of interest in the German side of things here. It's not really my 'cup of tea' but I find it very interesting. I have read only one book from the German perspective. I have not read the book in quite some time and haven't seen any mention of it here. The book is titled Panzer Attack? Was written by Heinz Guderian. It was apaper back book but was very good none the less. Not knowing much on this subject at all, I believe he was one of the only men to stand up to Hitler and come out alive. Your thoughts and comments are welcome, I did enjoy the book alot too bad I'm not sure of the title but I know that the Author is correct.
     
  8. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Im now reading "Panzer Battles" by: Generalmajor F.W. von Mellerthin, and it aint bad, aint bad at all. Most of the first third of the book is when he was in the Afrika Korps under Rommel.

    Im at a point now where he is in Russia and he is discussing the battles and ordeals as the Stalingrad battle is being fought. I think he is part of Hoths Panzer Korps.
     
  9. Cliff Weirmeir

    Cliff Weirmeir Member

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    I just located the book I was refering to in the above post. The correct name of the book is Panzer Leader. It was written by Heinz Guderian,. This particular copy is in paperback from Ballantine Books, printed in 1967..This is the abridged edition. But If anyone is inclined, there is a hard cover available, which is much more indepth.
     

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