A very amazing story of a one very lucky man’s experiences through the entirety of WWII. This is a must read for anyone remotely interested in how the average German Soldier perceived the war. It’s also a great background piece for how the East / West divide opened up during this period.
Narration was sound, but a little uninspiring. It wasn’t difficult to listen to, but it could have had more inflection at times and been more dynamic.
A warning: an general interest in military issues is an asset, as the average readers eyes may glaze over in parts where units, places, and dates are brought up.
In summary, an very good piece of work.
I remembered hearing about “hold out” Japanese soldiers in my youth, so I knew I had to read this once I saw it. I’m glad I did.
The story is simply amazing. Such single minded purpose and dedication is frightening and gives good insight into the culture that existed in the Japan of that era. Also amazing is the psychological aspect of the story. Mans ability for self delusion and paranoia are brought to the forefront in this story.
One aspect which disappointed was that the author glossed over or failed to mention the numerous islanders he and his band killed over the 40+ years “at war”. Obviously they were in a war mindset, but the fact that these killings are omitted for the most part indicate to me a knowledge and decided effort to avoid the dark side of this amazing story.
The narrator was very well matched, and made the story feel as if the author himself was telling it.
This book is a must for anyone interested in a unique event of the past century, or for anyone wondering what someone must be thinking when they are able to maintain a bloody minded focus for 40 or more years in the jungle.
This is a must read for those wanting to know what the private experienced during WWI. Of course, having been written during the war itself, it is somewhat sanitized by the sensibilities of that era. You won't find the horrific descriptions that novels of the Vietnam War era have. That being said, knowing this, one can imagine the true difficulties and horrors being described.
Others have classified this story as a propaganda piece. I would argue otherwise. Obviously, the author has a very defined sense of right, wrong, and duty. I don't think the author's goal was to recruit others to the cause, but his intent was to simply tell his story, and this he does well. The only areas I would consider propaganda are in the small vignettes within the main story, but I get the feeling the author was just relating some of the stories he had heard in the trenches.
The real value in this story lies in the telling of the day to day life of the front line soldier. Details of assisting the cooks and scouring the pots with mud, how leave was announced and executed, the unit play, etc. These glimpses into life in the trenches are a goldmine.
A short work, it won't take up much of your time. This novel is a must read for anyone with relatives, now passed away, who fought in WWI, and for those even remotely interested in that period. Don't let the fact that the story is 100 years old dissuade you, as it' is a fresh and pertinent today as ever.
I listened to the Audible.com version of this book. It is an eye-opener. You have to wonder how the U.S. Army promotes officers to general, when they decide to build a small base with less than 200 soldiers at the base of three mountains, near the Pakistan border, so remote that it takes close to an hour for air support to arrive (when the aircraft are available, since the geniuses Bush and Cheney started a second war and sent most of the resources to Iraq). Add a misconceived "hearts and mind" doctrine and rules of engagement that prohibit our troops from shooting unless the target has a rifle in hand. Even if they've just taken fire from that Hahji.
The book is realistic in its depiction of the troops on the ground. He doesn't describe them in the usual stereotypes - heroes, patriots, etc. Some of them did join for patriotic reasons, some because the alternative was a dead end job at Taco Bell, or going to jail. The author shows the pain and sacrifice of the soldiers' families, dreading a phone call in the middle of the night, or the worst, when two officers knock on the door to tell them their husband or son have been killed.
After months of attrition, losing men to snipers and IED's, the higher-ups decide to close the outpost. The Taliban and the local Afghans our soldiers have been trying to help surround the outpost from three sides, well concealed in the mountains, and attack. The Afghan Army soldiers, our "allies," bug out, some of them giving their weapons to the enemy.
So many good Americans died, or were horribly maimed, all for nothing.
The author has done a real service to our troops. The men on the ground served with courage and integrity. The generals who conceived this disaster should all be cashiered.
I like this book so much, and it is so well written and full of vital information and human drama, I am listening to it a second time, and going to buy the print version.