The Sharp End: The Fighting Man in World War II
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The Sharp End: The Fighting Man in World War II

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  36 ratings  ·  5 reviews
In any army, it is only a minority of men who end up as combat soldiers, at the "sharp end" where they have to shoot and be shot at, but it is their experiences that are the most intense and reveal most directly what war is actually like. John Ellis has drawn together the testimony of men who fought with the British, Commonwealth, and American armies in all theaters of Wor...more
Paperback, 380 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Aurum Press (first published 1980)
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Jul 21, 2011 Checkman rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: history and WW II buffs
One of the first books to look at what the ground soldiers in World War II truly experienced. From conditions in the front line (infantry, artillery, armor and support troops) to the particular stresses that officers experienced to how the men relaxed, and the medical treatment they received and finally the horrors they experienced in combat.

This book was published in 1980 and at the time was rather controversial. Ellis describes in great detail what the men experienced. What they saw,smelled,...more
Helen Fields
I started reading this book as research only but I loved the way it incorporates writing from soldiers of all nationalities from both World Wars, some of it poetry, some prose, some extracts from letters home. The book details the minutiae of life on the front line, from digging trenches in freezing conditions, to staying awake for 20 hours a day, to losing any sense of the world around except the will to live, even that lost at times. I particularly liked the sense you got that they had lost tr...more
David Hill
The book covers the experience of the combat infantryman in the Allied armies in North Africa, Italy, North-East Europe, the Far East, and the Pacific. It is a bit anglocentric, giving a bit more weight to the British and Commonwealth soldiers; more emphasis on North Africa and Italy than the Pacific. Lots of extended quotes from primary sources and an excellent bibliography.

Part way through I was thinking I'd give it only 4 stars as it doesn't cover airmen or sailors and doesn't even mention th...more
My dad lent this to me after I told him I had been reading a lot of WWII books lately.

All the books I read were memoirs of Holocaust survivors so it was interesting to change it up a little bit and read about what it was like for soldiers. I liked it, but it was a very slow read.
Jesper Jorgensen
I guess most people can imagine the dangers, threats and challenges of the WWII grunts, to some extend. But after reading this book you will be left with absolutely no doubt that war was - and is - a very risky bussines.
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