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Tank Rider  By  cover art

Tank Rider

By: Evgeni Bessonov,Bair Irincheev - translator
Narrated by: P.J. Ochlan
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Publisher's summary

Honest and irrepressibly frank, these are the dramatic memoirs of a Russian officer on the Eastern Front, where he played his part in a clash of titans and witnessed the shuddering collapse of the Third Reich.  

The cataclysmic battle of Kursk in 1943 put an end to Hitler's hopes of victory on the Eastern Front, and it was Evgeni Bessonov's first battle. From then on the Germans were forced into a long, bitter retreat that ended in the ruins of Berlin in 1945. An officer in an elite guards unit of the Red Army, Bessonov rode tanks from Kursk, through a Western Russia and Poland devastated by the Germans, and right into the heart of Nazi Germany.  

Tank Rider is the riveting memoir of Evgeni Bessonov telling of his years of service at the vanguard of the Red Army and daily encounters with the German foe. He brings large-scale battles to life, recounts the sniping and skirmishing that tried and tested soldiers on both sides, and narrates the overwhelming tragedy and horror of apocalyptic warfare on the Eastern Front.  

So much of the Soviet experience of World War II remains untold, but this memoir provides an important glimpse into some of the most decisive moments of this overlooked history.

©2003 Evgeni Bessonov (P)2018 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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Wish more about the Soviet POV was written.

Very well done. Makes me wish more audio books were made about the Soviet soldiers in the war.

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6 people found this helpful

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Different

I did not know entirely what to expect from this book. My initial interest came from the fact that while I've read and seen countless memoirs from American, British, and German Soldiers from WWII, I hadn't read or really even seen any memoirs by Soviet Soldiers. In that sense, this book is valuable for the different perspective it brings.

The books author admits at the beginning of the book that he is no great writer - this is true - but I cannot help but feel that the translator has done him a disservice by not polishing some of the rougher pieces of writing. While I suspect it may be a more literal translation, it loses it's appeal by not being transformed rather than just translated to english.

I would hesitate to wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone simply looking for a light entertaining read or even a student of history. This book definitely fills a gap in memoirs of the second world war but is best read and understood that way - as a counternarrative to german eastern front memoirs.

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“Boots on the Ground Company Commander”

Infantry platoon leader and occasional company commander rides tanks through Ukraine, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany to Berlin.
Your basic “ boots on the ground” view of the closing two years of WWII on the Eastern Front.

Watching less experienced and more going ho officers and soldiers being killed all around him, this platoon leader always seems to avoid getting killed and getting promoted.

Interesting point of view from a young Russian Soldier who gains experience necessary to keep himself and his men alive.

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more WW II history details and story u missed

great, so different than most all other WAR history books. and i have many. and from our OLD allies side.

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This guy was lucky.

It was amazing hearing first hand accounts of a frontline Russian infantry soldier. All the close calls kept me wondering if he was going to be able to go on. The only thing is he droned on a little too much about the boring stuff: troop movement, soldier names etc...

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Important insights, dull writing, awful narrator

This is a rare view of WWII from the Soviet side. And so, that makes it important but the dull writing and truly awful narration completely ruin what should have been an excellent viewpoint.

Firstly, the author admits that he's not a good writer. Ok, that's fine but that's why we have professional editors/writers to re-write it in a compelling way. It's filled with short sentences that simply don't flow but could have been re-written to do so quite easily.

The book really needs to be ten times as long and go into significantly more detail, so you feel that "you are there". As it is, it's usually along the lines of "We attacked the village. The Germans had machines guns in three houses. But we had taken it by the evening." Uh, I completely failed to learn anything new in this 30,000 ft view of capturing a village. I feel the author was shy to put more details, as if he didn't feel we could be interested in all that. But that's where the real value of a memoir is!

Ok, so capturing more than the author wrote isn't feasible, but the translator clearer was not a quality writer (or wasn't asked to improve the writing), so the English version is very dull to read and you feel like a far away observer and not along with the author for the engagements he covers.

Finally, PJ Ochlan is constantly monotone, or puts the occasional emphasis on an irrelevant point. He never seems to appreciate what he is reading and he takes the dull writing and turns into being bland beyond belief. I loved the Destroyermen series but with him reading the sequel Artillerymen series, I thought that I didn't like the setting, but maybe it had more to do with his bland narration.

I'm about 75% of the way through and, really, I have other titles to read that would be a better use of my time, so I'm done.

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Fascinating perspective and history. Lackluster narration.

Audible should re-do this book. I thought the story itself was fascinating, I haven’t read any other Soviet officer’s experiences from WW2. The narration though, was monotonous.

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An Important Memoir

This is an excellent, unflinching look at World War 2 from the Russian perspective. My only complaint is that the translator referred to "artillery shells" as "mines" for some reason.

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Tactical look at the Soviet march tomarch to Germany

The book’s approach is very different from most historical treatises. One man’s take on his service from high school to military academy to motorized rifle unit. The narration is somewhat emotionless, but still very good tied to an engaging translation.

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Decent book, not very well read.

interesting story but to many names. And the reader is very robotic, but I still recommend it.

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  • JFe
  • 02-06-21

The robot tells an amazing story!

Bessonov's story is incredible! In the UK the Eastern Front is often described by big hands sweeping the map or the infamous actions of drunk soldiers. This brings it down to the actions of an unlucky-to-be-there but lucky-to-be-alive leader of soldiers doing terrible work. I would to have liked to hear more about his post-war career and the changes in Soviet Military posture and peacetime, but still, so glad I listened! The narrator sounds like a robot but you'll get past it.

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  • Mr Q.
  • 09-02-19

Great Story of Heroism

Evgeni Bessonov tells a great story of fighting hunger and the Germans in WWII. I enjoyed it alot and at the end you do feel you know his character.

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