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Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II
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Frontsoldaten: The German Soldier in World War II

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  251 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Alois Dwenger, writing from the front in May of 1942, complained that people forgot "the actions of simple soldiers....I believe that true heroism lies in bearing this dreadful everyday life." In exploring the reality of the Landser, the average German soldier in World War II, through letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral histories, Stephen G. Fritz provides the definitive a ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published June 19th 1997 by University Press of Kentucky (first published September 1995)
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Brett C
Feb 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww2
This was a great overview of the German Wehrmacht infantry soldier, called a Landser, in WW2. This was primarily about soldiering in the Eastern Front with minimal comparisons in North Africa and Normandy. The author presented the information with lots of quotes and reference material. "The Forgotten Soldier" by Guy Sajer is heavily quoted to show the hellish conditions throughout the Eastern Front.

The book was divided into chapters addressing various issues. These included basic military train
Aaron Meyer
Nov 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, ww-2
This book is intense. There are points in the book I think back to my own experiences and see how much we have in common between common soldiers of different eras. This was an army that was absolutely dedicated to the fight and to be honest the type of military that every nation dreams of creating. I could of done without his rambling and thoughts at the end, for his ideas to me just didn't hold much water some of the times. Just give me the raw data, the everyday words of the everyday soldier. ...more
carl  theaker
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ww2
The strength of "Frontsoldaten" is in the excerpts
from various collections of the letters of German
soldiers. The spirit of the individual Landser kept
the Wehrmacht together in the face of overwhelming
events and it is the spirit of these letters that keep
this book together, which otherwise might be subtitled

"The Forgotten Soldier: Reader's Digest version"

Over the first few chapters I counted over 30
references to Guy Sajer's "The Forgotten Soldier"
and a dozen to Siegfried Knappe's "Soldat".
Michael Dorosh
Jul 31, 2011 rated it did not like it
A grim joke and not worth the paper it's printed on.

The author breaks the most elementary rules of scholarly writing in this volume by quoting the same references several times in a row - something even an undergraduate would know to avoid. It wouldn't be so bad, if he wasn't quoting the contentious and quite probably fictional FORGOTTEN SOLDIER. Fritz adds nothing new to the discussion of German soldiers in the Second World War, and readers are advised to turn to other material, such as SOLDAT
Andrew Davis
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
The book concerns the nature of men at war, using the "bottom up" approach. Using the letters of the soldiers fighting on front lines, especially in Russia, it draws a picture of harsh reality encountered at the front, hunger, atrocious conditions, and absence of any scruples in a fight to survive at any cost, whilst knowing that it is a pure luck for one to succeed. ...more
Sep 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: military-history
Too many quotations strung along on tenuous lines of analysis. Those lines, written by German combatants, are valuable in themselves and make this book worthwhile, but I had hoped for a bit more historical contextualization and look for a bit more substantive contribution from the historian.
Jon Harris
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2, military
This is a great book for those who want to understand the German soldier. Fritz humanizes an often dehumanized class of people.
Sean McGuffin
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
The book is ok, he goes a lot into what the soldiers were thinking and what they thought, but it fails in my mind to connect those thoughts to thing the reader can identify or recognize.
Al Williams
Jul 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly a select compilation of excerpts from other biographies. Might sound like a great idea if the subject is new to you, but reading a lot of accounts that are mostly devoid of context wasn't for me. ...more
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
the author simply copies contents from other famous books. Will be enjoyable for somebody who is totally new to the subject
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Really interesting look into the mindset of the German soldier during World War II... as the title implies. Uses letters, quotes, and narratives written by soldiers to get a "uncut" view into how they thought. Fascinating to see the similarities and differences between how you'd expect "normal" soldiers would react and how these soldiers, in the midst of large-scale ethnic cleansing programs and riding high on propaganda of hate and intolerance, dealt with the war.

Falters a bit in its presentati
Jeremy Schmitz
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
svårläst, kanske bättre som ljudbok???
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii
I read this book several years ago. It deals with the front line German soldier in WWII. There are a lot of personal letters, diaries, quotes, etc. It was informative and enlightening. I am not certain I can say I enjoyed the book. It did make me believe that some of my thinking for a long time has been inaccurate. The average German soldier was much more prejudiced, hateful and knowing of many of the wrongs that were happening than I had previously believed. Prior to reading this book I had alw ...more
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Frontsoldaten, German for "foot soldier", is a haunting collection of letters from German soldiers during WWII. An excellent read for military and civilian alike, Fritz examines the different aspects of the war, none of which were more or less trying. The intensity of emotions expressed by these men is heart wrenching. ...more
In Frontsoldaten Stephen G. Fritz explores the regular German infantry soldier and compare him with American, English and Russian soldiers. Through letters, diary entries and personal testimony emerges a rich and nuanced picture of the German soldiers' everyday lives during World War II. A great book that offers the true picture of the everyday German soldier during WWII.
Aug 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: wwii-germany
Very informative and I learned some things I didn't know already. The excerpts from soldiers' diaries and letters were fascinating and really helps the reader get a sense of the very real feelings occurring within the soldiers while these things were being written. ...more
The strength of this book lies not in its often tenuous analysis, but the excerpts from soldiers' letters and diaries. The obvious weakness is the missed opportunity to include testimony of soldiers who witnessed the Holocaust. ...more
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well worth reading, shows the good & the bad from a personal perspective. The author culls diaries, letters and autobiographies for input.
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you want to know what made the common German soldier or "Landser" such an outstanding combat trooper and yet such a frightful human being, this is the book to read! ...more
Kevin Slawta
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the most chilling accounts of everyday life for troops in an army during its collapse.
Robert Pawlicki
Aug 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Even though author provides some explanation, it's mostly skimming through the letters from German soldiers. This book would be definitely better with some in-depth background. ...more
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