The Good Soldier by Alfred Novotny

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Dan W.
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The Good Soldier by Alfred Novotny

Post by Dan W. » 26 Jul 2006 17:55

Image

The Good Soldier: From Austrian Social Democracy to Communist Captivity with a Soldier of Panzer-Grenadier Division "Grossdeutschland"

Has anyone read this book? I'd be interested to hear opinions on this book if you have. Thanks.

Regards

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B Hellqvist
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Post by B Hellqvist » 26 Jul 2006 21:19

It's pretty short, and covers both his life before the war and what happened after he was released from Soviet captivity. I wouldn't rate it as one of the essential memoirs, but it gives a pretty well-rounded picture on how life was for a young Austrian in the 1930's and 40's. There are several anecdotes that have stuck in my memory, like the encounter with poor Walter Grube, the young Soviet soldier in the street fighting, and the spontaneous sex with an unknown woman in the thick of combat. Also, it is of interest for those who like to read about Grossdeutschland.

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Dan W.
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Post by Dan W. » 26 Jul 2006 21:47

Great, thanks for that review. Strangely enough this author lives in the same town as I do and did a book signing a month ago right down the street from my house. I found this out today and now hope to get a chance to speak with him sometime after I read his book.

Regards,
Dan

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Tom Houlihan
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Post by Tom Houlihan » 27 Jul 2006 07:47

Dan, I was disappointed when I got my copy, and realized how short it was. Also, there's not as much combat as I would have preferred. However, it's an excellent read!

For those who might be interested, this book was Aberjona Press' first foray into audiobooks, as well. I've listened to all six hours of it. It was like having Fred in the front seat of my car with me! I know, because I spent a weekend with him a couple of years ago...

Marc Rikmenspoel
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Post by Marc Rikmenspoel » 27 Jul 2006 19:59

I did the technical editing of the book, with a bit of last minute assitance from Keith Bonn. The book is an expanded version of Novotny's original self-published edition. I worked with him for several months to transcribe additional memories and observations, and fit them into the original text. I then added historical commentary and background material. Eventually, Aberjona needed just a bit more to get the book to even its present small size, so Bonn did some final work with Fred on a few more recollections.

The idea of the book isn't really to present material for people who already know all about the Heer and Grossdeutschland Division. Fred didn't keep any sort of journal, so it was many years later that he wanted to tell his story for his family and descendents. For the second edition, I asked him many specific questions about weapons and personalities and campaigns, but ultimately, the book still works best as an introduction to the study of the German military for those lacking any background on the topic.

Epaminondas
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Post by Epaminondas » 28 Jul 2006 15:35

Its still a very interesting book. You don't read memiors of grunts for new insights into grand strategy; you read them to put a human face on individual actions, get the emotions of the times and personal characteristics of units that don't get put in the history books (ie officer X was an asshole).

Well worth the price tag, even for some that has the GD unit history.

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