The Forgotten Soldier: Guy Sajer

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by johno2499, Jan 27, 2010.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. I bought this book last week and have just started reading it, having intended to do so for decades without getting round to it. I am aware of all the controversy regarding whether it is a genuine account.
    So far, I find the book well written and a good, easy read.
    Any comments welcome.
  2. Miner Snr. read it last year, & thought it was very good. Whether it is accurate or not I don't know, but he said it was good to get Germans point of view of the Russian Front.
    I started reading it myself but got side tracked into reading other books.
    I'll return to it when I've finished reading my current book, "One Bullet Away - The Making of a (U.S.) Marine Officer" by Nathaniel Fick (of Generation Kill fame).
  3. As an Ex -Infanteer I thought the book was fantastic!

    If it's only half as true as he says it is.. Its bloody good!

    I've done quick search on here as I'm sure there's another thread on about Guy Sajer - but it must be incorporated into something else.

    One of the lads on here went to see him before he died - top bloke
    seemingly -

    You think you got a hard time with the QM's or RMP.. Fu*k me!

    If I recall it's two American colonels who are arguing if it's true or not?
    I can't be arssed to go through reams of google pages again..

    But in a nutshell didn't the Grossdeutschland not have any record of him and he trained in the Lufwaffe but ended up in the Army?
    something like that??

    I'm sure I read somewhere that they found his mate err.. ??
    and he agreed the book was true.

    Excellent read
  4. The book has been verified as true by one of his former comrades, apparently. Bloody good, anyway.
  5. Superb book. I usually end up giving my copy away to someone with the recommendation to get it read and stop whining about something. I am pretty sure that some frog tv program did a bit about him around the millennium when the 55year anniversary for VE day came about.
  6. Superb book, well written and a great read. Infact, will be digging it out again for a read.
  7. Ten out of ten.

    Ive gone through two copies of this. First copy the old man gave me to read whilst laid up in hospital (mangled leg-motorcycle), then read it again straight after.

    His `oppo (Hals) was traced and the story verified.

    There was a minor sh*t storm amongst historians before this, and there was much gnashing of teeth (as only historians can).

    I read somewhere a film was in the pipeline. A brilliant read and a vivid insight to `Total War` on the Eastern Front.
  8. Stormingly good book, i posted about it on the "what are you reading thread" (pg83-20/07/09. His descriptions of life in the German army as a new recruit, are pretty brutal but also very funny in a strange way. The treatment meted out to the Russian prisoners of war however, isn't. This is polarised when he describes his fear of being caught by the British. Most poignient were his letters to and from his father, who was also serving...Would recommend it as a great read!!!
  9. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    I dug deep into this years ago, the experiences are genuine, any errors are genuine mistakes IMO and maybe a little poetic license to make the account readable.
    I drive past his home town most weeks and have had a few conversations in the past about the original French version with some others interested in WW2 in the area - all concur he is the real mcoy.
  10. There seems little doubt that the author did indeed see the service he claimed, even if, like many old soldiers, his recollection of every little detail may not have been 100% accurate.

    I suspect that it's a better story than it is a translation; I haven't read the French-language original, so can't tell for sure. However, the author, real name Guy Mouminoux, was also an accomplished cartoonist, drawing under the name "Dimitri". If you can follow pictures in French, you can have great fun with his historical cartoon adventures "Kaleunt" (U-boats in the Altlantic), "Sous le pavillon du Tsar" (battle of Tsushima) and "Koursk, Tourmente d'Acier" (Battle of the Kursk Salient). These have the same lapses of detail but underlying authenticity of "The forgotten Soldier". The most fun by far is his "Goulag" series, running to something like a dozen albums, recounting the improbable adventures of Eugene Krampon, from Nogent-sur-Marne, inmate of Goulag no. 333 in the Lamal Peninsula on the Gulf of the Ob.

    All the best,

  11. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    That's the baby. I am confident that if I could be arrsed to looked at that thread I'd find my post right next to yours. I knew the OP was wrong when he said the book hadn't been referenced in this forum.

    I suppose credit is due for at least looking.
  12. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    Very good book, though probably halfway between a novel and an autobio, so not the kind of thing a historian should be quoting. For eg, he has admitted to changing the names of all characters in the book, and indeed, Guy Sajer is a nomme de plume.

    As noted above, he has been traced to a French cartoonist whose service appears not to be in question and IIRC, one of the US colonels engaged in the controversy has approached survivors of the GD Division who have vouched for its broad accuracy

    The film project appears not to be proceeding, which is a real shame.

    Funnily enough, most consider Sven Hassel's war porn to be total fiction, but in one of Le Tissier's books on the battle of Berlin, there is an account of a tall, thin German sniper in a top hat and monocle - ie he bears a remarkable resemblance to Obg. Josef Porta. Could this real historcal figure have somehow been the inspiration for Hassel's character?
  13. First read it at school and have read it a few times ,last time was last year.A really good book.

    Anybody read The Devils Guard.It` s about a ex-S.S solider who joins the F.F.L and serves in Indo-China,suppose to be a true story but a bit far fetched.
  14. Yes a good read with elements of truth in it! I had to pick up a ex SS, ex FFL mercenary who had been fighting for Tshombe in Katanga, on the Congo Border in the early 60's, ( I was in the Colonial Police at the time). His tales to me over several hours whilst waiting for Special Branch to come and collect him were very revealing! He had been wounded on the Russian Front and had been recuperating in what became the French sector of Germany! He was given the choice of joining the FFL or going to Prison! He had served in Madagascar, Indo china & Algeria, before in his words, De Gaulle sold them out! Apparently a v. large proportion of the FFL was composed of ex German troops for many years after the war!