The Forgotten Soldier

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




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.




Messages In This Thread
The Forgotten Soldier - by chambers - 04-24-2006, 09:13 PM
The Forgotten Soldier - by pdhinkle - 04-25-2006, 04:00 PM
The Forgotten Soldier - by chambers - 04-25-2006, 09:02 PM
The Forgotten Soldier - by chambers - 04-25-2006, 09:12 PM
The Forgotten Soldier - by Walt's Daughter - 04-25-2006, 09:22 PM
The Forgotten Soldier - by chambers - 04-25-2006, 09:44 PM
The Forgotten Soldier - by chambers - 05-04-2006, 09:33 PM

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