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The forgotten soldier


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#1 Tommy Atkins

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 06:15 PM

First things first,Tommy's back,been on a three day pass squire ;)
Right,saw kai's post re Guy Sajer's the Forgotten Soldier,this is without doubt my favourite book of a personal experience type.I was a little surprised with the brevity of the ending,and have not been able to find out anything re Guy Sajer elsewhere.Also saw Martin's comment re its slightly novelised tone,and can see why it has its doubters.
So,
1)Has anyone else got any info on Mr Sajer
and
2)Does anyone know if any person,group or whatever has checked the authenticity of the events described ie actions,places etc ?
Cheers
O it's "thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll....

#2 Martin Bull

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 06:22 PM

Good point, Tommy ! You will find this interesting : -

http://www-cgsc.army...r97/letters.htm

and scroll down to the second letter, 'Forgotten Soldier Revisited'.....
"Stand by to pull me out of the seat if I get hit" - Guy Gibson

#3 Doc Raider

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 06:30 PM

Or this

http://www.feldgrau....topic.php?t=160

#4 Doc Raider

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 06:35 PM

AND here...
http://members.shaw....ossdeutschland/

I read the book and loved it, but then heard it was fiction. Upset that my fun was spoiled, I did some searching for myself. This is what I came accross.

#5 Stefan

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 06:39 PM

http://members.shaw....utschesoldaten/

Take a look at that site, there is a load of stuff on Sajer. It is a good book but I woulden't use it as a source and would be very dubious of its contents.
There's no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war. Except its ending.
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#6 Kai-Petri

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 07:04 PM

A couple of years ago I read that the book was considered as "Grossdeutschland history". I read the book for the first time 25 years ago.I read it for the fourth time a year ago.

As for I have read some 50 books or more on the eastern front I don´t find the Sajer book very different, but as it is, I would not make it a source, but I don´t think it is fiction as it has too much of feelings and details that can only happen in the front. I might be wrong but I think fiction is not that realistic for one thing.

Interesting to see that many people who have studied this say the opposite to each other...some say it´s true, some it it´s false.
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#7 Tommy Atkins

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 07:29 PM

Thanks guys.
looked at all the sites,found all interesting especially the one recommended by Stefan.
I have other books as GD sourcebooks,this one is a personal account and I think we all know regardless of campaign,period in history etc this type of book can't be considered as such,I think you would all agree any personal account written by a soldier of this level,rather than an officer with access perhaps to a far higher level of information at the time and perhaps later with diaries etc,could not be 100 % accurate,plain and simple.Also,if you chose to recall a period of your life,however important,at sufficient detail to write a book from say even 5 years ago I for one feel I could not do this without a great deal of unintentional inaccuracy.I suppose weighing up all the information I have kindly been provided with I can only draw my own conclusions,and no doubt we would probably all have differing opinions,that Guy 'Sajer' certainly was a serving WW2 Wermacht soldier,was possibly/probably in the Grossdeutschland regiment,the basis of the story of the book if you will pardon the use of the word story is true and was fleshed out from some correctly recalled events,some unintentionally incorrect recollections and a certain level of untruths.How this breakdowns by percentage only one person will ever know.
Knowing now more of the full story and controversy behind the book and reading this info with an open mind,I would like to think the first time I read the book that I allowed a certain leeway with its accuracy,unfortunately I cannot recall.I would like to think now i can read it again understanding it a little more whilst maintaining a certain level of respect for Mr 'Sajer'.I cannot say this for many books I have read.I would still consider it a great work.
Bloody hell i've gone on a bit :D
Thanks again to all,what do you guys think ?
O it's "thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll....

#8 Kai-Petri

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 07:34 PM

Well put, Tommy!

BTW, ever thought of going into politics??

;)
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#9 Tommy Atkins

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 07:43 PM

LOL :D :D No Way!!
O it's "thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll....

#10 C.Evans

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 07:53 PM

It's a good book from a low ranking soldiers PoV. Sure he will not have alot of datails but--I for one do believe it's a real deal.

I also do not fully listen to what the so-called "we were all there" experts who "know it all" who are from another historical forum. I think it's the real deal as much as Enemy At The Gates, is not the real deal.
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#11 Stefan

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Posted 21 May 2003 - 08:36 PM

I liked the book but was dubious from the start. I would suggest that many war memoirs of this point from the point of view of a man in the field must always be taken with a pinch of salt but sometimes they are accurate and can be good 'sources'. An example I would cite is 'through hell for Hitler' by Henry Metalman. It is an excellent book though it has little about combat (he was a truck driver) and I would reguard it as trustworthy (as much so as a memoir can be) as there is nothing in it that goes against what I know. I generally prefer to go off the 'feel' of a book as well and TFS felt wrong.
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#12 C.Evans

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Posted 22 May 2003 - 09:37 PM

I liked Metalmann's book too and thought it was well written.

The only book I can accurately say that is a total fake is "Last Letters From Stalingrad." I saw a paperback copy of this book from the 1960's for sale on some book site not long ago for $70.00! And get this, that book sold at that outrageous price rather quickly.

A hardbound reprint which you can order through Barnes and Nobles also goes for $70.00--which is outrageous. graemlins/no.gif graemlins/no.gif
Lost are only those, who abandon themselves) Hans-Ulrich Rudel.
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