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Rifleman: A Front-Line Life from Alamein and Dresden to the Fall of the Berlin Wall

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  171 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews

Born into a working-class family in London in 1919, Victor Gregg enlisted in the Rifle Brigade at nineteen, was sent to the Middle East and saw action in Palestine. Following service in the western desert and at the battle of Alamein, he joined the Parachute Regiment and in September 1944 found himself at the battle of Arnhem. When the paratroopers were forced to withdraw,

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ebook, 288 pages
Published February 7th 2011 by Turtleback Books (first published February 1st 2011)
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Bill Taylor
Nov 24, 2015 Bill Taylor rated it liked it
An interesting book, but never exciting or emotive. Victor seems to have had an amazing life and an incredibly lucky one when considering his life as a professional soldier throughout the second world war. Victor goes from one scrape to another, at one point missing execution by hours due to allied bombing, but it is ever clear how these situations came about. I presume he had a devil may care attitude which thrived on danger. Perhaps this is why the book isn't particularly self conscious when i ...more
Matthew Dambro
Feb 14, 2017 Matthew Dambro rated it it was amazing
Wonderful autobiography of a British soldier during the Second World War. It has the ring of truth to it and it is easily read and digested. He went through so many changes in a long and eventful life. This is a page turner if there ever was one.
Christine Blachford
Sep 08, 2013 Christine Blachford rated it really liked it
At first, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. The introduction gives away a lot of what Victor has done during his life, and I was worried it was going to be an improbable mass of incidents, talked up to seem interesting. It was nothing like that. The book focuses on the army years of Victor's life for the first two thirds, and then the final third is what happened to him afterwards.

We're taken on the journey with the Rifles brigade, where at first it seems like great japes and jolly fu
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Andrew Davis
Dec 22, 2015 Andrew Davis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
A gripping life-story of Victor Gregg - a riffle soldier and later the parachute commando. Quite interesting and would justify four stars if not for his relation of his after the war involvement with the East German opposition. He claimed that the Hungarians started removing their borders with Austria to let East-German refugees to cross to Austria following his message from a German ex-Wermaht officer assurance that the East-Germans would not interfere. It beggars belief this had been really th ...more
David Sockett
Jul 29, 2013 David Sockett rated it liked it
Rifleman, is he really, this is not a book, it is just a simple read like a magazine. The desert war was skipped through, no mention of the person whom he killed in action. If this had been me I would never have forgotten it, I would have remembered every grain of sand. This book disappoints, when I really was looking forward to it. He just skims over everything, even his wedding, for which he had over the years saved himself, for the one woman, who he did not really know. Sorry but I think ever ...more
Gail Hoskins
Jan 03, 2015 Gail Hoskins rated it really liked it
Memoir of Victor Gregg, British man who experienced so much of twentieth century history its hard to believe! The introduction by his coauthor, Rick Stroud, says that Gregg originally wrote it for his grandchildren. Stroud met Gregg when he interviewed him for research on World War II and ended up helping turn his memoirs into a book. This is a very interesting read; the description of the firebombing of Dresden alone is worth the time to read it.
Grahambootle
Apr 09, 2012 Grahambootle rated it really liked it
Victor Gregg's life in many ways tied into my family history quite closely, being from London, my uncle was in the parachute regiment and dropped in to Arnhem, my grandfather fought with the 8th Army etc. So many of the themes seemed very closed to home, I must say that even if you don't have the same touch points I'm sure you'll find the story of Victor's life extraordinary. Great book.
Vikas Datta
Jan 24, 2015 Vikas Datta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific account of a soldier of the World War, and in his own way, of the Cold War too - the reminiscences of war in the North African desert, in Arnhem, of the fire-bombing of Dresden and various hijinks later is unparalleled and brings into sharp relief what Mr Gregg and his generation went through...
Stephen Coleman
Dec 03, 2016 Stephen Coleman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of this book is very gruesome but I enjoyed reading about this soldiers experiences. Coming from Coventry I was aware that Dresden was bombed in the war but had no idea just how bad it was.

I would recommend reading this book. A first hand account is such a powerful insight into the real situations.
Roger Neilson
Apr 10, 2013 Roger Neilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gritty and very interesting read. There are times when I have to ask is this real as his escapades cover so many things - but the level of detail and the way it is told in a self effacing, cheeky chappie style is convincing to me.

Particularly liked the shambolic nature of the supposed organisation of much of the army experience

Read in 24 hours as its definitely a page turner.
Allen Klosowski
Oct 06, 2016 Allen Klosowski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This man had a fascinating life. The story is a bit rambling, but that's probably because there is so much to tell. It's incredible to think one man lived through all of this. Could be the most interesting man in the world. I'd like to read his follow-up on the Dresden bombings.
Graeme Dunlop
Jul 07, 2014 Graeme Dunlop rated it liked it
This is a good read. I like reading biographies of people who've experienced war as it gives me a perspective on life totally outside my own. Victor Gregg has certainly lead a very interesting life and he seems like one extremely lucky guy to still be around.

It's well-written and never dull.
Mark
Dec 02, 2015 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A matter of fact statement, that reminds one of the real heroes of warfare. Riflemen in the desert, at Arnhem, and then evidencing the horror of Dresden which could be argued was Europes Hiroshima. No punches pulled, and no platitudes sought; an open view by a normal man. Cede Nullis.
Tony Rothwell
Jul 08, 2011 Tony Rothwell rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant. You must try it! Finished now. One of the finest books I have ever read.
James
Jan 31, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply a great read. The first hand account of the bombing of Dresden was especially gripping and this reader almost felt he was there at on that fateful day. I couldnt put this book down.
Renae Stevenson
Nov 16, 2014 Renae Stevenson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book with a first-hand account of the war. I loved how he was a bit shady in his dealings. Made for a good read :)
Emma Glaisher
May 16, 2012 Emma Glaisher rated it liked it
Fascinating, a life well worth recording. Patchy as a read, I got a bit bogged down in the espionage sections.
James Emmans
Jan 31, 2016 James Emmans rated it it was amazing
Helps you enter the complex life of a man who survives the WWII. My grandfather died in African part of the war and this book helped me understand what he must have went though.
Will
Mar 10, 2012 Will rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Would have liked more detail on actual experiances, felt that the writer rushed through war experiances and focused more on life after the war.
Tony
Jan 01, 2012 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war-history
Excellent very well written and held my concentration from the first page onwards...
Claire Reynolds
Aug 26, 2013 Claire Reynolds rated it really liked it
"While there may be victors, there are no winners in war between nations." - One out of many amazing quotes from the book. Amazing piece of work.
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