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German Boy: A Child in War
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German Boy: A Child in War

4.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  859 Ratings  ·  162 Reviews
For use in schools and libraries only. The author recounts his family's battle for survival in the face of the fall of the Third Reich, the effects of the war on his childhood, his family's odyssey to America, and his own thirty-year career in the U.S. Air Force.
Hardcover, 424 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Turtleback Books (first published 2000)
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Dec 22, 2009 Damian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have never read a book that so vividly opened my eyes to a whole new perspective of WWII. With all the literature available on the Nazis and their atrocities, we rarely get the chance to see the war through the eyes of common German people, not to mention a mere child. This book covers the fall of Germany, the waking from a shared delusion, and its impact on a boy and his family as they struggle to survive amongst a very diverse group of conquerors.
Aug 15, 2007 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely gripping narrative, very hard to put down. I must have read this in under 3 days. To even get the faintest sense of what it must have been like to be a young child thrown into 6+ years of genuine dislocation by war and reconstruction is difficult, and this autobiography does much to flesh out that picture. I think it could have been more, however, if it had stuck to the exact-if-vague memories that linger rather than attempting to fill in all the missing pieces with what *must* hav ...more
This was was a harder read than expected. The focus of the story is the end and post WWII years in Germany thru the eyes of a child. The war ended but suffering did not. The author recounts their struggle to find food. How the talk about being careful because the Russians were raping the German women as payback for the German invasion wasn't just gossip. What does it do to a society where nearly every woman has been a rape victim? What happens when money isn't worth anything and the only way to ...more
Apr 27, 2009 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is fabulous. I've recommended it to several people.

The author was a young German boy in East Prussia when WWII ended. His mother, sister, and other relatives tried to flee Prussia ahead of the Red Army. They get trapped, and try to survive for several years during terrible times. They were hungry, cold, barefoot (literally), and had an awful time.

It's a segment of history we rarely hear about: how the German civilian population fared after the war. The answer: they barely survived, an
Sep 04, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not pull myself away from this story. I was mesmerized by the horrors Wolfgang and his family endured during WWII, even worse was what happened after. But more then that it is story of unconquerable human spirit and hope for a better future. It does deal with difficult subjects but it is not graphic. This story has had a profound affect upon me and the way I will look at and appreciate my surroundings. I recommend this book to everyone.
Jul 26, 2009 Sally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this memoir of Samuel's childhood most was particularly interesting because his family lived in Sagan - the closest German/Prussian town to Stalag Luft III where my father was a as he described his evacuation in January of 1945, I could well imagine what my father was doing several kilometers away in POW camp.
Amanda P.
Aug 14, 2009 Amanda P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WWII memoir of a boy, his little sister, and Mutti (mother), as they try to survive the Russian occupation of Germany after the war. Rough times. Recommended by an older library patron who was a soldier in the war, and told me it was the most accurate representation he's ever come across - it was just like his life.
Feb 24, 2008 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
This is one of the best books I've read. Most of us have knowledge of the basics of what people went through in WWII, but this gives a unique, honest perspective from someone who lived through it all. Reading this book from so long ago changed the way I look at my life now. It is that powerful and well-written.
Dec 08, 2008 Elh52 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another history book that is too intense to ever be fiction. And my friends ask why I read history. If you pick up this book, or at least this edition, notice the kid on the cover; he's sitting on an unexploded mine, his feet on the detonators.
Apr 27, 2016 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remember all the people who held out a helping hand!

The German Boy was an uplifting story from beginning to end & made me feel inexplicably sheltered somehow from all the chaos, like some apprentice guardian angel who wants so badly to help, but knows he can’t get directly involved, in order to assist someone who needs or wants to learn how to help himself; as the author, Wolfgang Samuel staggered faithfully through his young life with certain courage & formidable foresight, from about a
Nov 08, 2008 Petra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
We never really hear about the horrific survial stories that the people of Germany went through during WW 2. This innocent little boy, Wolfgang, who was only 10 years old at the time, paid for the sins committed by others. He somehow survives the evils the Nazi regime and the Russian communists have brought to Germany. Through his book, we see the war throough the eyes of a German child. It was an engrossing and horrific story, hard to read at times.
Dana Creed
Dec 09, 2009 Dana Creed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another one that a friend told me to read which I had for ages before I picked it up. Absolutely excellent!! I'm going to buy this as a gift for someone I know will appreciate it. Very moving. This story makes my life seem so easy compared to those who have had to sacrifice so much.
Nov 21, 2008 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting to read about the other side of the war. It was hard to read what they had to go through and made me think about how I would handle something like that. It was also inspiring to hear about how he dealt with such awful things, but saw the good in everything.
Spam philebar
Apr 02, 2009 Spam philebar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nov 16, 2014 Patty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-bio
True WWII story. Mr. Samuel tells of how he was living in Germany when the Russians approached and he had to go on the run with his mom and sister. This book was one I couldn't put down and was reading as fast as I could to see what happened next.
Aug 21, 2011 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Met this author while touring the Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, VA. Bought his book and he signed it. So horrifying to read of his childhood in war torn Germany. He presents it very
well and it has a good ending.
Dec 01, 2008 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was completely taken in by this child's story--a look at WWII from the East German perspective. A difficult but compelling image of life and the choices left to those living in war-torn circumstances.
Charmaine Anderson
This is a very compelling read from the eyes of a boy in Germany at the end of WWII when the Russians are invading and the people are fleeing to safety.
Feb 14, 2010 Shawna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A great story of a boy surviving WWII and its aftermath. A good book from a different perspective. His grandparents were truly good people, an inspiration.
Natalie Hansen
Feb 03, 2013 Natalie Hansen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read by a sincere and honest auto biographer. Humbling, compelling its a page turner that reminds us all to be thankful for what we have.
Doris A.
Jun 26, 2009 Doris A. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The sparingly, riveting true story of a German youth living in Germany through and after World War II - a point of view rarely glimpsed.
Feb 11, 2009 Angelique rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. A little reminiscent of Angela's Ashes.

One of the best books I've ever read. He is an amazing man, I'd love to meet him.
Kathleen Cooper
Aug 31, 2015 Kathleen Cooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gripping, enlightening, sad. Full of courage and hope. Attitude, attitude, attitude, along with serendipitous moments.
Nov 30, 2008 Valerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a sad and inspiring story of a young boy struggling in WW2 with his mother and sister. It's sad but really good.
Cassie York
Jan 13, 2010 Cassie York rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is definitely one of my favorite books. i love the lesser thought about view points that Samuel offers.
Gay Howard
Nov 08, 2009 Gay Howard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. My daughter's English teacher was friends with the author during the war.
Kingston Bowen
Feb 19, 2016 Kingston Bowen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very compelling read. Amazing story & obviously an extremely traumatic story for the author. It brings to the reader both despair & hope at the same time. It is a story that helps the reader with proper perspective of the troubles, trials & tribulations that we all face today.

It is definitely topical as well with the refugee crises that we experience daily.

Of note are the comparative moments from the author's life to my own - specifically after coming to the US. Air Force, E-Systems,
Jan 06, 2009 Fulwiler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novel viewpoint of a young boy's experience living in East Germany during WWII.
Oct 18, 2009 Byron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-life
An amazing true life story of how the human spirit can grow in the worst of conditions.
May 01, 2016 Raul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard to stop reading this book.
This book is about the German Boy but I cannot stop thinking about his mother, the true heroine, the brave, the all sacrificing, the true lover of her family and children. If someone wants an incredible example of a great woman, a great human being, look no further, Hedy is it!
How much people can suffer and yet rise above their misery and succeed.
What an example to so many who suffer much less and complain much more!

My most sincere thanks to the author for sharing
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A child in War 1 6 Sep 05, 2012 11:11AM  
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Wolfgang W.E. Samuel is a German-born American author. He was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC at the University of Colorado and is a graduate of the National War College. He served in the U.S. Air Force for thirty years until his retirement in 1985 as a colonel. His writing has been published in several military journals, including Parameters, the U.S. Army War College quarterly. He lives ...more
More about Wolfgang W.E. Samuel...

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