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4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  98 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
During the course of an hour in July 1944, bombers fly over an unnamed German city, while down below, civilians live out their last days. First published in 1956, and now available in English for the first time, Payback paints a savage and unflinching picture of the realities of warfare for ordinary men and women.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Granta UK (first published 1956)
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Chuck LoPresti
Jun 10, 2013 Chuck LoPresti rated it it was amazing
This is nothing less than absolutely gut-wrenching. Rapid fire paced staccato salvos of human destruction spray out a tale of war. Payback is on par with Shalomov and the Aeneid for the most horrid descriptions of the death of men in war. This is the literary equal to 80's nuke-phobia fueled thrash metal of German bands like Sodom and Overkill. And like those bands the blistering exterior often deters the easily deter-able before they realize the level of talent involved in keeping an audience ...more
Mar 18, 2009 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, lit-fiction
Like The Stalin Organ, another intense and uncompromising novel about World War II from this German author. This one is about an Allied bombing raid in 1944. Like his other book, not for the squeamish.
Aleksandr Voinov
The literary equivalent of a brassknuckled punch in the gut. Some books are inarticulate screams. The ones that are articulate, though, are even worse.
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
Brilliant description of life in Germany under the bombings.
This book takes you to a number of different places in a German city during an air raid. When I read the introduction the reviewer mentioned his short sentences. What I initially passed over as just literary buzz words became meaningful as I read this book. The choppy sentences leave no room for anything but the events. It is certainly uncompromising. There were parts that were just brutal to read, and they made up the bulk of the book. But it is precisely this lack of filler and the ability of ...more
Mar 23, 2011 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2011
Gripping, harrowing book. I did not expect to read it in one sitting, but how can you stop?

Manages the grim feat of conjuring the horror of war without the disgusting veneer of excitement that too often disfigures war narratives.
Verborgeneschoenheit borderlineingenious
Für mich eines der einprägsamsten und schrecklichsten Bücher der Kriegsliteratur. Mir wurde körperlich teilweise richtig schlecht. Traurig, dass Ledig so in Vergessenheit geraten ist.
Nov 29, 2016 Will rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Der Wind trieb Sergeant Strenehen gegen die Flaksperre. Sechsunddreißig Geschütze jagten pro Minute die doppelte Zahl Granaten in den Himmel. Sie stiegen herauf wie Raketen. Hilflos trieb er in sie hinein.

Er dachte: Wenn es Menschen sind, werden sie jetz aufhören.

Als Antwort zuckten auf der Erde sechsunddreißig Blitze. Feuerspritzer. Durch die Luft kamen sie ihm entgegen wie Schrapnells. Er trieb fünfhundert Meter vor der Flaksperre. Die ersten Splitter schwirrten ihm entgegen. Manche pfiffen.

Jul 14, 2012 AC rated it liked it
This is not as good as the Stalin Front. Read that one... an excellent book. That one will suffice wrt Ledig
Wim Van
Jan 07, 2013 Wim Van rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oorlog van zijn gruwelijkste kant. Algehele, niets ontziende destructie. Een boek als een loeiharde stomp in de maag.
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Gert Ledig was born in Leipzig and grew up in Vienna. At the age of 18 he volunteered for the army, and was wounded at the battle of Leningrad in 1942. He later reworked his experiences in the book, 'The Stalin Organ'. Switching between the German and Russian lines, Ledig brings us the experience of war from both sides of the conflict. Gert Ledig describes in horrifying detail the graphic and ...more
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