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The Forgotten Soldier

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I've started reading this a couple days ago. I'll post my opinions as they develop. Anyone else want to see if they can get a hold of a copy so we can discuss it, please do!!

 

Brooke :pdt34:

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Brooke: I read this book a few years ago. About an alsacen drafted into the German Army in WW2 Lasr name sajer. THe details are great some dispute his doing all that stuff!

 

THe link will take you to another forum where they talk about this book/ author:

http://www.feldgrau.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=6928

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Thanks, pd. Seems there is a little debate on whether or not he is for real. ;) I read and post on feldgrau from time to time. The veterans are really interesting and frankly they are the only reason I go there at all.

 

That Rudi S. fellow who defends Sajer is unique in the reason he was born in New Jersey, sent to Germany at age 5, joined the Panzer Corp, wounded 4 times, immigrated back to America in the 50's and joined the American Army with intentions of going to Korea. Here's his bio. It is one of my favorite veteran's stories.

 

http://www.feldgrau.com/interview6.html

 

Brooke

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I liked Sajer's description of Russia being "a perpetual shivering fit".

 

I was walking out my office building door this afternoon and I was carrying my purse and the book. My foot wasn't properly centered on the step and it twisted sending me, the purse, and the book flying in different directions all heading toward the pavement. I caught myself with my right hand and flopped over on my shoulder and rolled onto my back. While I was laying on the pavement with the wind knocked out of me listening to the birds chirp and thinking, "What a F-ing peach!" :cuss: I started to get the giggles really bad. No one saw me so I had to get myself up which was difficult, gather my belongings along with my wounded pride and continue my journey as if the interruption never happened.

 

I had to fill out an incident report. I've made it all winter walking across the snow and ice just to fall when it is sunny and 70°. Go figure. :pdt:

 

Fortunately the book isn't damaged.

 

Brooke

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Fortunately the book isn't damaged.

 

You are too funny. The BOOK IS OKAY! You crack me up.

 

One time I fell down our bedroom stairs when we lived in Detroit. There were about 6 steps down, then a landing, then the steps changed direction to the first floor. Well I had gone up and down those steps a million times. This time... :rolleyes: I stumbled, fell on my bum and bam, bam, bam, bam, bam and landed on my arse, feet sticking straight out on the landing. I was stunned, then my husband came around and as soon as I saw him, burst out into laughter. It hurt like hell, but all I could do was laugh. He began laughing too once he knew I was okay.

 

Glad your book is okay, errr, I mean you.

 

:lol:

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I'm just glad I wasn't wearing a dress or my 3 inch pumps.

 

Yeah, I always get tickled when I fall, too. My mom and I lived in an apt when I was a teenager with an upstairs. The steps were carpeted and I was always falling down them.... and up them....

 

Is it any wonder my mom and grandpa worry about me living alone? :flush:

 

Brooke

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I’ve finished the book and here’s my opinion.

 

Intense.

 

Many people out there dispute the legitimacy of Sajer because he apparently remembered pinning some insignia on the incorrect sleeve and his commander Wesridau (sp?) couldn’t be traced by military records. If I had endured even a fourth of what this young fellow went through I doubt I would remember which end of my body required the use of underpants and which needed hair spray. The fact that he remembers any of it, or even wants to astounds me.

 

Sajer is only half German, through his mother. His father is French so he ends up in the German Army. He feels out of place sometimes because his German isn’t that good. I was disappointed to learn that they were often treated badly by their own “higher upsâ€. Sajer barely escaped death from his own MP’s for stealing food from a wrecked truck.

 

I think the most moving part of the book for me is how he describes his journey home. After surrendering to the English it is discovered that he is French and is persuaded to join the French army and freed from the camp and told to go home.

 

From what I have read elsewhere, this book was translated into English from French. I really liked how he described what was going on, for instance: “We seemed to have crawled as far as China.â€

 

“Too many people learn about war with no inconvenience to themselves. They read about Verdun or Stalingrad without comprehension, sitting in a comfortable armchair, with their feet beside the fire, preparing to go about their business the next day, as usual. One should really read such accounts under compulsion, in discomfort, considering oneself fortunate not to be describing the events in a letter home, writing from a hole in the mud.â€

 

“Those who read about Verdun or Stalingrad, and expound theories later to friends, over a cup of coffee, haven’t understood anything. Those who can read such accounts with a silent smile, smile as they walk, and feel lucky to be alive.â€

These last two sentences moved me the most. How many combat experiences have I read with tears in my eyes? Just this past Sunday I was driving down the road, with the sun and wind in my hair smiling inside because I am free to enjoy the sun and wind as I please.

 

Wherever Sajer is, I hope he has found the peace he deserves.

 

Brooke

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