Top positive review
German Primary Source Material
June 4, 2017
What I find fantastic about this book is that it almost entirely composed of primary source material--direct interviews with German survivors of the D-Day invasion by the Allies. The format is clear and organized. Each soldier is briefly described or introduced, and then follows a series of questions and answers. I am guessing that the editor of the book selected the best interviews from the records compiled by the interviewer, his father, a German war correspondent. But that is only a guess. I write this because each account is so informative and clearly constructed, a miniature masterpiece of memory of the events of June 6, 1944 at a particular point in the momentous battle raging on a much larger scale.
The questions and answers are mostly direct and unvarnished, giving us honest insight into not only the experiences of typical German soldiers, but their attitudes and beliefs as well. The author provides the briefest of commentary at the end, refreshing as well. We get and are bombarded by plenty of opinions and interpretations of history. It was a relief to be left alone to ponder these soldiers' accounts for oneself.
Some particular points that stood out to me: I was surprised by how some writers were themselves surprised by the ferocity, anger and hatred of the Allied soldiers they encountered in battle. This struck me as both naive and ignorant, but I also realize I can only dimly imagine how their perspective was shaped by the German political and cultural experience. They also mentioned how they viewed their mission as defending Europe as part of a broader pan-European coalition against Communism, international corporations and finance, etc. Reference was made more than once to non-German personnel serving as part of the German forces. The execution of Allied soldiers by SS troops in particular was familiar to me from reading about the Battle of the Bulge and the Russian front, but it sounds like it was quite widespread based on these D-Day accounts. The inclusion of this point, very unfavorable to the German cause, deepens my respect for the trustworthiness of these interviews. Finally, the detailed descriptions of the gruesomeness of World War II combat is another example of the work's authenticity and accuracy.
For those interested in World War II and honest history, I highly recommend this book.