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The Forgotten Soldier

4.33  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,714 Ratings  ·  294 Reviews
This book recountsthe horror of World War II on the eastern front, as seen through the eyes of a teenaged German soldier. At first an exciting adventure, young Guy Sajer’s war becomes, as the German invasion falters in the icy vastness of the Ukraine, a simple, desperate struggle for survival against cold, hunger, and above all the terrifying Soviet artillery. As a member ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published August 4th 1993 by The Orion Publishing Group Ltd. (first published 1967)
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May 23, 2010 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military, history
The best War Memoir I've ever read! Heart breaking, brutal, real, lyrical, depressing, insightful, and in some ways familiar - I simply loved this book. Guy Sajer tells his story as a young half french, half german boy joining the Wermacht in 1942. His story spans his journey from Germany to Poland for training in the transportation Corps and then to the east in the winter of '42 to resupply the German Army at the Don river. Later he joins the Gross Deutschland division as an infantryman in orde ...more
May 01, 2007 Johnny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guy Sajer's account of life on the Eastern Front in World War II is a must read. If "All Quiet on the Western Front" left any mark upon you at all, this book will floor you. You will fully understand the brutality of war, the brutality of the Soviets and the Nazis. You will fully understand the brutal nature of "total war" and fierce nature of mankind who stoked and fed the machinations of World War.

He's just a dumb kid in the beginning. He's an old man at the end.

You'll never put up with jingo
Oct 08, 2015 Amit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Writers like Sajer, will never allow the future generations to forget, the miseries of world war soldiers.

World war two was fought by soldiers but described by soldiers cum writers; Sajer belong to this rare breed; he accomplished this rare job by writing, under stressful circumstances and arranging the information, for future readers.

Sajer did a fine job in describing, the situation and psychology of a foot soldier, respect and value of enemy, Morality of a losing infantry, Hate for partisans,
Banafsheh Serov
May 02, 2012 Banafsheh Serov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stalingrad is lost and the German Army is no longer the formidable force which swept through Europe at the start of the war. In retreat, they are chased and hunted by the much larger Red Army.

Sajer is a seventeen year old German soldier struggling to survive the onslaught from the Russian Army. Facing starvation,daily fear of enemy bombardment, disease, exhaustion,and the unforgiving Russian winter, Sajer's experiences are retold with chilling detail and brutal honesty.

'Too many people learn abo
Oct 12, 2011 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, war, nonfiction
Through the eyes of Guy Sajer, I have rediscovered the putrid horror of war and the interminable depth of the human soul. Such a juxtaposition concerns me. In the flowing filth of destruction, can one glimpse the shimmer of the human quality? So many people allude to war as the pinnacle of evil within human nature. Undoubtedly, the mystifying magnitude of our destructive tendencies overwhelms our vision and guides us into stereotypical cognition of ideological evil and discontent. However, does ...more
Robin Webster
Aug 14, 2013 Robin Webster rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guy Sajer was a sixteen year old boy in 1942 who was brought up in France by a French father and a German mother. After being drafted into the German army transport division he was sent to the Russian Front. He later volunteered to join a crack combat division called the Grosse Deutschland. This book describes his personal account of the two years he spent fighting on the Russian Front. He takes us on a journey through two brutal Russian winters, being bombarded by artillery, taking part in batt ...more
Aug 07, 2014 Joseph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joseph by: Gerry
There is no such thing as a “just war.” The concept of “just war” is something theologians like Augustine or Thomas Aquinas or academics argue. When it comes to real war and actual fighting theologians and academics are as “useless as tits on a boar hog.” Killing others and being killed is humankind at its most primitive. Fighting a war is deadly serious. Discipline, courage and a will to win are critical to success in war. Finding the guts to kill or be killed and to endure almost unbelievable ...more
Jerry Auld
Jun 14, 2012 Jerry Auld rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing, shocking, and unforgettable.
This is the best book about WWII that you can find.
Forget the U.S. involvement, or the British, or the French.
Hell, I'm Canadian, but I always knew the real battle was in the East against the huge tank divisions of Germany and those of Russia.
And yet... here is the infantryman's perspective.
And not even a German, but a French man.
Or boy, since Sajer was 17 when he was drafted in.
And what did he see?
The Eastern front in all it's horrible form.
This i
Walter Mendoza
May 21, 2016 Walter Mendoza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The forgotten soldier is a history of a young soldier, all emotions, all fears, one book of one's man survival, the brutal cold. He tell us about training, his first combat, every he feels on the western front, an no-political history, only a personal history, the point of view of infantery soldier of the most devastating conflict.

I think is highly recommended if you like memories about the war.
Feb 06, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where to start? This book has affected me greatly. I did expect to be shocked, and did expect to read an account of some appalling experiences of a soldier fighting in the heart of an horrendously bloody and grisly conflict. But nothing could really prepare the reader for the overwhelming relentlessness of it all. This is a reading experience that should not be at all taken lightly.

Guy Sajer was a very young Alsatian (barely seventeen I think), of mixed Franco-German parentage, who finds himself
The Forgotten Soldier was first published in 1965, and concerns events that happened over 20 years previously, when the author was a teenager living in France who was drafted into the German army. The memoir has since become the subject of much criticism by historians who question much of the historical detail, especially with regards to troop movements and dates. Supporters of the work argue that historical facts of strategic troop movements can be found elsewhere, and that the strength of this ...more
Nov 22, 2011 james rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very powerful book; it's not for the squeamish. The author was a teenager who enlisted in the German army in 1942, and following basic training, was sent to the Eastern front as a truck driver. In 1943 he volunteered to become an infantryman in the elite Gross Deutchland division in exchange for a one week leave in Germany. He went to Berlin but found life there little different from the war zone in the Ukraine: daily bombing (from the American Air Corps) and little food.

Sajer returned
I read Sajer's story 20 years ago and I was deeply impressed by it. He was among those Alsatians who joined the Wehrmacht following the incorporation of Alsace (one of France's eastern regions) into the Third Reich following France's defeat in June 1940. Sajer himself is of French and German parentage.

Since the time I read this book, questions have been raised as to its authenticity. Be that as it may, Sajer's descriptions of serving both with an anti-partisan and later with an elite infantry u
Dec 12, 2007 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adolescents and adults
The author's experience was so grueling, and his telling of it so eloquent, that I felt drained when I finished reading this; to pick one detail that sums it up, he ends the book (this isn't a spoiler, since you know he had to survive to write it) by describing how when he finally got home after the war and walked up to his family's home, his mother didn't recognize the worn-out old man greeting her as the boy who had left home for the army a few years earlier.
Jeff Dawson
Nov 12, 2014 Jeff Dawson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant account of the Eastern Front

This is one of most gut-wrenching first-hand accounts of the Eastern Front I’ve read. Mr. Sager does more than an excellent job in describing the brutality and hopelessness he and his Komrades endured in Russia. He puts the reader with his squad, feeling and seeing everything they are enduring.

His description of driving a convoy from Kharkov to the trapped Sixth Army at Stalingrad sets the tempo of this work. Who would think being a convoy driver could be s
Oct 16, 2008 Dergrossest rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A descent into hell as we read about an ethnic German from France who joins the Wehrmacht in 1943 and is promptly sent to the Eastern Front. Talk about bad timing. Things quickly go from bad to worse as you follow him retreating back to Fatherland with the broken remnants of the Master Race. Hard to feel sorry for any of the Krauts in WWII, but this is as close as you will get. Great book.
Christoph Fischer
An amazing read, a truly horrifying account of World War 2 and how it was experienced by the soldiers. It is a very long and detailed personal account of a French-German soldier, giving gory details as well as very personal and honest accounts of what went on.
Very moving, thoughtful and intellegent, and very very sad.
Eric Hall
Mar 24, 2010 Eric Hall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book while enduring Officer Candidate School.

If you want to read a story about what war is really like, then read this book. The author lived it and he does a very good job of reliving it for you through his writing.

It's not the normal story about WWII that you see here in the US. Mr. Sajer is in the German army and spends a good deal of time on the eastern front.

The descriptions are vivid, the fear is palpable.

Mr. Sajer basically says in the book that you cannot appreciate just h
Jun 29, 2009 Raymond rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Forgotten Soldier," has been called, "All Quiet on the Western Front of World War II." It is that, both more and less. More - Guy Sajer has written a volume twice the length of, "All Quiet" It is a story - autobiography - largely untold of the experiences of German soldiers on the Russian front battling the Red Army and the Russian winter. Sajer's account compels close, deep interest. It is a most worthy effort but Sajer does not have the literary skills of Erich Remarque. (I read somewhere ...more
"The war seemed to have turned me into a monster of indifference, a man witout feelings. I was still three months short of eighteen, but felt at least thirty-five. Now that I have reaches that age, I know better. Peace has brought me many pleasures, but nothing as powerful as the passion for surviving in wartime, that faith in love, and that sense of absolutes. It often strikes me with horror that peace is really extremely monotonous. During the terrible moments of war one longs for peace with a ...more
carl  theaker
Jun 02, 2010 carl theaker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2

I read a review of this book around 1971 and my Dad and
I eagerly awaited its arrival at the library. We both
thought it was a great read.

It was one of the first popular 'from the German point of view'
stories available. The genre has grown quite a bit
since then.

Twenty years later in the early '90s, there was and perhaps
still is a controversy over whether the author is telling his
story or one that is, shall we say, a composite.

The debate is available, just search the web, I've
ready the book 2 or
P.J. Kelley
Nov 01, 2015 P.J. Kelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to P.J. by: noone
Most books about WW2 Germans I have read have been at best entertaining cartoons. Evils Nazis hum Wagner while experimenting on concentration camp victims. I recently read "Apt Pupil" by Stephen King, which is the most entertaining of this genre.

THE FORGOTTEN SOLDIER I found in a pile of soon to be discarded books. I gave it a chance, and didn't like it at first, but I have a habit of finishing books once started. In the case of this book, I am glad I did.

Sajer takes you there. The lice, the com
Jan 03, 2016 Zach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pete daPixie
Feb 08, 2009 Pete daPixie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-wwii
Guy Sajer's story of his experiences in the German Army during WWII is just utterly incredible. The reader is taken through his tough training and eventual nightmare exploits on the Eastern front with the Gross Deutschland Divisions, all the way back to his home town after the war.
Probably the best WWII biog I've ever read.
Read this one back in the early 70s. I'd like to read it again. It was great, though I was never quite sure if I was reading an autobiography or a novel. It's marketed as non-fiction, but there are passages that struck me as fiction. Really good fiction. As in literature.
Nicholas Spangler
Okay now THIS is a great book. It truly shows the struggle and pain of the German soldier on the Eastern Front, and the sacrifices they made not for their Reich or Fuhrer, but for simple survival. I thought this book was interesting because one never hears about the struggle that the Axis forces faced. They thought they were fighting for what was right too, just as we Allies did. We Never hear about the Desperate Rumainian defense of their homeland, or of the Japanese Marines that faced certain ...more
Richard Simpson
Aug 25, 2014 Richard Simpson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book ignores the numbers of regiments, divisions, and names of generals, and the pincer movements of armies because it is a story of a normal soldier on the ground in Russia, so is a personal interpretation of the terrible campaign in Russia.

The Wehrmacht in Russia made history poetic: the downfall was cold, very cold, bloody, senseless, and passionate. The empty Russian plains constituted a wasteland of existence in which opposing ideologies battled it out, and where human life meant littl
Jun 15, 2012 Sli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rijetko, ali zna se dogoditi, pročitam knjigu koja promijeni sve što sam znao, ili u ovom slučaju mislio da znam. "Zaboravljeni vojnik" je takva knjiga. Mučna i teška i strašna za čitanje. Ne mogu ni zamisliti kako je bilo sve to proživjeti i preživjeti. Sajer nam daje uvid u stranu koju je povijest izbrisala. Poznato je da povijest pišu pobjednici, upravo iz tog razloga ova pripovijest dobiva još više na težini, rekao bih čak i na tragikomičnosti.
Ukoliko želite saznati nešto o konkretnim kretan
This is an interesting memoir of one (very) young Franco-German soldier's experiences on the Russian front during WW2; the events described beginning when Guy Sajar was only 16 years old. It was obviously written (possibly as a form of catharsis) many years later - there are sections which contain long speeches that are unlikely to have been recalled verbatim and were certainly (re)composed at a much later date, but, that small caveat aside, much of this account is a vivid, stark and horrific de ...more
Scott Martin
Feb 15, 2011 Scott Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good but tough memoir. It follows the life of a young half-French/half-German boy from Alsace who enlists in the Wehrmacht in late 1942 and all his subsequent actions up until the end of the war. He is sent to the Russian front, which is a brutal, unforgiving assignment, with death from the Soviets and the environment constantly surrounding him. While he avoided the hell that was Stalingrad, he did suffer through the battles of Kharkov and the long, slow, bloody retreat of the Germany Army acr ...more
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Pen name of Guy Mouminoux
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“Only happy people have nightmares, from overeating. For those who live a nightmare reality, sleep is a black hole, lost in time, like death.” 34 likes
“War always reaches the depths of horror because of idiots who perpetuate terror from generation to generation under the pretext of vengeance.” 16 likes
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