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Publisher's Summary

Simo Häyhä (1905-2002) is the most famous sniper in the world. During the Winter War fought between Russia and Finland in 1939-1940 he had 542 confirmed kills with iron sights, a record that still stands today. He has been a role model for snipers all over the world.

Simo Häyhä was a man of action who spoke very little, but he was respected by his men and his superiors and given many difficult missions, including taking out specific targets. Able to move silently and swiftly through the landscape, melting into the snowbound surroundings in his white camouflage fatigues, his aim was deadly and his quarry rarely escaped. The Russians learned of his reputation as a marksman and tried several times to kill him by indirect fire. He was promoted from corporal to second lieutenant and he was awarded the Cross of Kollaa.

After the war Simo Häyhä lead a quiet, unassuming life in farming and forestry. His roots were deep in the Finnish soil, and he loved life in rural Finland. A true patriot, he epitomized the traits of a professional soldier, performing his duty and setting an example of bravery that personified the Finnish spirit when confronted by the Russian onslaught. The White Sniper fully explores Simo Häyhä's life, his exploits in the Winter War, and the secrets behind his success.

©2016 Tapio A.M. Saarelainen (P)2019 Tantor

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What listeners say about The White Sniper

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not what you think

If you are looking forward to learning about the craft involved in Simo's clearly incredible accomplishments, you will be very disappointed. Next to no time is devoted to the detailed description of the actual engagements, as well as Simo's shooting mechanics and technique. Stated differently, if you are a "precision shooter" on a mission to up your game, this book will not help you accomplish your goal. However, if you are also interested in the developments in that part of the WW II theatre, your time will be far from wasted. The author is also a Finn, so - as you'd expect, he isn't spending a lot of time telling us how the Finnish army, fighting alongside the Nazis during what Finns call "1941-1944 Continuation War" in the siege of Leningrad among other battles contributed to the tens of thousands civilian deaths that resulted from the blockade, The book isn't primarily about that period, however, but about the 1939-1940 Winter War, so imo we can overlook that. My main takeaway - actually 2 of them, are how incredibly organized, industrious and united - less than 20 years after a bloody civil war, when almost 10,000 perished on both sides - the Finnish society was in the face of the 1939 Soviet invasion. The second is how skilled and cunning was the Finnish political leadership during that time. Fighting the Soviets along side the Nazis, but never becoming an Axis power by treaty or meeting most of Hitler's demands, refusing to turn over their Jews, then having a war declared on them by Great Britain and soon thereafter getting an apology from Churchill for it, in the end getting a pass not just from the Western Allies, but even the Soviets. They could have invaded Finland again, this time occupying it, and the Allies wouldn't have done anything about it. While at the time both the Soviets and the Allies had bigger fish to fry, the whole thing was a master study of playing both sides. Little of that has much to do with the title (The White Sniper ; ) so I stand by my 2 stars, and this rating is further supported by the extraordinary redundancy of the material. So ya, if you want to hear about Simo's "unassuming personality"... 47 times - but also want to learn more about how WW II affected Finland, dig in! : )

8 people found this helpful

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Not what I expected

Tapio Saarelainen didn’t have to do anything to engage my interest in anything Finland related, but he did manage to write the most boring book I’ve ever read. He took probably the most iconic Finnish war hero and made it so tedious that I was struggling to make it through. I have no idea what new information his book uncovered either.
I recommend almost all Finnish books and authors, but I couldn’t recommend this one in good conscious.

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The Worthless “Biography” of One of the Greatest Soldiers

I’d rather chew sawdust and read the Wikipedia page than listen to this writer drone on about his own non-impressive accomplishments with a smattering of Simo’s life included as a justification for the book title. What a waste! I’m disappointed that I spent the money on this book, but even more than that it was a waste of time.

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Good story, bad writer

It is a great story of a great man who did an amazing service for his country. He was very humble about it. The writer is very arrogant about his own non-existent writing skills. He blamed the Biographe for not being more open about his questions. He also calls him a lier for avoiding uncertain information.

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More manual than story.

A lot of good information, but there is not much story to go with it.

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Great story 👏

A great story about an under appreciated conflict of WW II and a humble soldier who did his duty to the utmost of his abilities.

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Not A Biography

This is one of the strangest books. The reason one buys it is to know what happened during the war to Simo. It barely skims the topic, the famous sniper Simo Hayaha, and is more of a manual about what sniping entails. Now that's not to say that snippets of Simo's life appear here and there, but it's very infrequent. The war is a side note, just figures and stats. It's part instruction manual and life statistics, and definitely not a biography.

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  • adam
  • 04-21-20

Hardly anything about the sniper disappointing

Talks of sniper tactics russifinnish war hardly anything about the man himself which is how the book is portrayed poor

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matt
  • 04-08-22

Boring.

I was expecting a lot more from this book, but to put it simply, it's lacks any detail. Spending half an hour searching the Internet would probably drum up more about Simo and his exploits.
Poor book.

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  • Fortress of Soulitude
  • 03-29-22

Disappointing

I bought this book because I was looking for a biography on one of the world's best snipers. I wanted to understand what that life would be life. A personal account. Well, none off that was really provided here.

My honest experience is that Tapio (author) was a huge fan of Simo's. He collected all the relevant facts, military reports, and documents / statistics he could find on Simo and his rifle and he just sort of put them all together to create this book much like you might in a high school report. They are great, but they really need to flow and contain something to tie them all together to make it enjoyable. A biography needs a personal touch. This was not a biography.

Perhaps if Tapio co-wrote this book with a professional biographer it might have been better.

I agree with other reviewers, this came off like a manual on military statistics. However, one guy said as a sniper he could not use any of the data provided. It's just not there. There is nothing personal here. You might gain the same knowledge by reading a couple of blogs on Simo.

*NO PDF is provided for the endless lists of records. You really will need a visual to make sense of that because there are no audio queues or clear breaks. It gets really confusing.