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am 20. Februar 2000
This is the only book about WWII ground soldiers I've yet read. Suffice it to say, it was a good start.
Three things really struck me about this book; 1. The author's uncanny memory of events, 2. The events themselves - offering glimpses into every aspect of being a ground soldier, including bravery, strategy, stupidity, cowardice and tragedy. 3. The shocking carnage.
The book's title is derived from a comment a superior officer made to the author before sending him off to battle shortly after the Normandy D-day invasion; "As officers, I expect you to lead your men. Men will follow leaders and I expect my platoon leaders to be right up front. Losses could be very high. Use every skill you possess. If you survive your first battle, I'll promote you. Good luck." With that mortifying send-off, author George Wilson and his fellow officers were sent into battle. Out of all the officers and men starting out in his company, only Wilson finished.
The book presents the author's brave, bloody journey in a straight-forward linear fashion. It is very well written, yet not burdened by attempts at literary greatness. The author, though clearly licensed to preach, spares us the sermon and simply tells it like it was.
Not until the very end of the book does he tell you "Out of all this damned useless war I hope I am entitled to a few simple observations". What follows is a decidedly brief statement that may at first seem to be too brief. Only after reading the last line do you realize that you've already read the most important anti-war statement the author could make; his recollections in the previous 267 pages.
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am 14. Juni 1999
George Wilson tells a tale that many of us have wondered what it was like to have fought in the 2nd world war. He is vivid in every detail. He gives chilling accounts of front line life, the battles, the men who gave up their lives, the men who cracked under pressure. He also gave the Germans a look of humanity at times. The battle scarred Germans gave up pretty easy in some cases, and most of the times, they fought with such vigor and violence it blew me away. I cried at some points in the book. I felt sick in others. I could have sworn I hear mortar shells flying over my head, and men crying for help. He gave accounts of men doing the right thing and the wrong thing, and the wrong thing in war usually leads up to death ... and a lot of wrong stuff that was done caused some men their lives. George Wilson did a wonderful job as a solider, Lt., in the second world war, and a brilliant way of bringing the war to us. Thank you George for the book and the fighting you did.
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am 28. April 1998
George Wilson landed at Normandy on D-Day, fought his way inland through France, crossed the Siegfried Line, and saw the fall of Berlin. Of his company, he was the only one who was there from the invasion to the surrender. All of the others were either killed or wounded. Mr. Wilson's book places you under his helmet, witnessing tree-bursts from German artillery, midnight patrols in pitch-black darkness where every sound is a gun being aimed at you, and the bombing of an Allied tank convoy by American P-47s. You are the one who nearly steps on a land mine in a pasture in France.
At the end of the book, Mr. Wilson does a gives a bit of his philosophy of combat which I believe is pretty darn good. I won't spoil it for you - you'll have to read it for yourself - but its the reason why our boys are sent overseas to fight.
Overall, a good read that you may have trouble setting down.
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am 15. Juni 2000
Men experience war in different ways and some men have good wars, some have bad. George Wilson had a good war. He seemed perfectly equipped, with his Michigan State football scholarship and strong moral beliefs, as well as an essential dose of fabulous luck. As Wilson takes us through France (he landed after D-Day)to Paris and then to the Ardennes, we marvel at how anyone could have survived the carnage of Hitler's retreat across Europe.
Wilson's account is highly informative but necessarily self-centered. His writing style makes it difficult for the reader to understand much about Wilson's mostly nameless comarades, even the fellow officer whose death reduced the writer to bitter tears. This apart, the book is a fascinating insight, complete with some unanswered questions and stunning acts of bravery set amid the desparate final months of Hitler's war.
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am 14. März 1999
This book was so engrossing--it was very hard to put down. There is not one slow part in this book. I was in awe of George Wilson and was impressed with how well he faced each challenge that confronted him, particularly the challenge of working with fresh recruits. You will also be amazed and saddened by the the number of friendly-fire casualties written about here--many done by jittery new recruits not yet battle-hardened and others caused my unfortunate misunderstandings. The whole book is very well-written and includes so much detail about each battle and patrol. I'm thankful Mr. Wilson took the time to write about his experiences in WWII. Think I'll have to read the book again--I miss it already!
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am 1. Mai 1998
George Wilson was one of the fellows that waded ashore at Normandy and fought his way up the slopes into France. Of his company, he was the only survivor that made it all the way to Berlin. As he fights his way across Europe, you'll witness heroism, cowardice, stupidity, and brilliance in the face of battle. This is singularly THE best infantry-level book I've ever read, and I don't normally read this subject area (I prefer air combat). Overall, a good book for reading on vacation, at home, or anytime when you have a moment to spare. But be warned - once you start you won't want to put it down.
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am 21. März 2000
A great read for anybody interested in wanting to know what it was like to fight the Germans at the tactical level. Good details, no dull moments in this book. The strength of this book, is the realistic honest, non-hollywood anecdotes, by Lt. Wilson, ie, men falling off tanks, life in a foxhole, the mistakes that cost the lives of fellow soldiers and plenty other details you've never heard or read about unless you were there. You won't want to put this book down, because each page brings new dangers to Lt. Wilson and his men.
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am 30. Mai 1999
If you liked "Saving Private Ryan" you will love this book. Willson was "lucky?" enough to be in every major battle; Saint Lo, Falaise, Siegfried Line, Hurtgen Forest, Battle of the Bulge. He was always on the very front line and he survived! This book is easy to read and very hard to put down. I was very sorry when I got to the very last page and there was no more to read. If you want action, forget movie theaters. Read this book.
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am 30. Mai 1999
If you liked "Saving Private Ryan" you will love this book. Willson was "lucky?" enough to be in every major battle; Saint Lo, Falaise, Siegfried Line, Hurtgen Forest, Battle of the Bulge. He was always on the very front line and he survived! This book is easy to read and very hard to put down. I was very sorry when I got to the very last page and there was no more to read. If you want action, forget movie theaters. Read this book.
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am 8. Mai 1999
A very well-written and exciting story. It tries very hard to give a good account of the way it was in the last year of the war, especially 'The Battle of the Bulge. The only thing that I did not like was that Mr. Wilson seems to gloss over some of the details, most probably in an effort to save the reader from some of the horror he faced.
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