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Publisher's Summary

Gunter Koschorrek wrote his illicit diary on any scraps of paper he could lay his hands on. As keeping a diary was strictly forbidden, he sewed the pages into the lining of his thick winter coat and deposited them with his mother on infrequent trips home on leave. The diary went missing, and it was when he was reunited with his daughter in America some 40 years later that it came to light and became Blood Red Snow.

The author was a keen recruit at initial training, and his excitement at the first encounter with the enemy in the Russian Steppe is obvious. The horror and confusion of fighting in the streets of Stalingrad are brought to life by his descriptions of the others in his unit; their differing manners and techniques for dealing with the squalor and death. He is also posted to Romania and Italy, assignments he remembers fondly compared to his time on the Eastern Front.

This book stands as a memorial to the huge numbers on both sides who did not survive and is, over five decades later, the fulfillment of a responsibility he feels to honor the memory of those who perished. Gunter K. Koschorrek was a machine-gunner on the Russian front in WWII. He lives in Germany, having retired from his job as managing director of a sales company.

©2002 Greenhill Books (P)2018 Tantor

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The author cuts out or invents things altogether

First the good. The overall performance of the reader is fantastic. The intimate description of what life was life for an average German soldier on the Eastern Front is quite good.

Now the bad. As someone who is Russian and knows the history of that time period quite well, I am quite disappointed. First off. Author keeps saying that the Russians were using Kalashnikovs. They most definitely were not, as it was not invented until 1947. Then there is absolutely no mention of the Scorched Earth policy and the attoricities the Wermacht (not just SS) committed against the civilian population. Granted, not all soldiers were blood-thirsty murdering thugs that raped and pillaged everything in their way, however I have a hard time buying into the story with Katya. How gentlemanly of men who had just spent months and months living in most terrible of conditions with no women in sight to "just be friends" with a beautiful 18 year old girl.
Basically my gripe with it all is that he portrays them as the most innocent of sheeps and gentlemen. That's not how things went on back then on the Eastern Front.

3 people found this helpful

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A brilliant must listen

I really enjoyed it. The reader did a great job although I found his accent to be a little bit too posh. It sounded that posh, that it was almost fake sounding. As posh as you can get. Giving the impression that the writer is very soft natured and royal. It was just a little bit annoying but as the book goes on he either gets better or you get used to it.

The story was brilliant. One of my favourites so far.

In the story he mentions Russians with kalashnikovs. Kalashnikovs(AK47) didn’t exist then. But I believe it to be an error of the editor/ translator and wouldn’t let it discredit the story. Apparently in the German book he used the word machine pistol. In the English version the editor used Kalashnikov. It’s wrong.

Gripping story with no bullshit. It’s to the point with no ego boosting poetics. If you want to know what it was like for some Soldiers in the war it’s a fantastic detailed memoir that’s about life at the time and fighting for survival. Not just glorified fighting. Not all German soldiers were bad people like some people believe. Everybody in Germany was fed propaganda but not everybody took the bait. This man seems like he was a gentleman warrior with morals in an army that had a lot of evil people within it. I listened to the rise and fall of the third reich before this and it set it up perfectly.

I’ll definitely give this another listen at some point.

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Stunning account

Amazing. I really loved every part, it has so much excitement and suspense in it.

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another great memoir

to all of the men and women who fought bravely and with honour, we salute you

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A Good Personal Account, Poorly Acted.

The story paints a good picture of one German soldiers personal experiences on the Eastern Front. It is by no means is a chronicle of both sides of the story. With that said, the use of a VERY British Narrator takes away from the effectiveness of the story. I haven't read the actual novel, but the British accent and constant use of colloquialisms like "Bloke" and "Chap" ruins the effectiveness. A Narrator should be an Actor and this role called for a German (or a Narrator who can pull of a German accent at the very least).

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Worth reading.

One of the best german eastern first hand accounts I’ve yet found. I would quite put it up there with E.B Sledges edge of your seat read “with the old breed” but it does have something that Sledge didn’t. This book has one of the best first hand accounts of amazing leadership, and very poor leadership and how each can raise the troops up or make them completely fail.

“Two recruits went missing from our barracks in Poland, upon questions their comrades it became apparent they did not desert they were simply gone... this was not an uncommon event in Poland” little tid bits such as these really help put you into the shoes of the individuals and the horrors faced by all sides

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sonia Lopez
  • 2019-12-09

One of the best personal accounts coming out of WW2

I’ve read many many wartime biographies and autobiographies including such classics as the thin red line, helmet for my pillow, with the old breed, samurai, forgotten soldier and this beauty holds its own. The author did a fantastic job balancing foxhole detail with thoughtful and intelligent reflections which show he never really lost perspective on what he was going through. What a masterpiece.

8 people found this helpful

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  • S. H. Moore
  • 2019-05-31

Simply one of the best.

Whether you are looking for a German WW2 story. WW2 in general, or just a first hand accounting of war in general, Blood Red Snow is a vivid real telling of some of the ugliest most brutal combat in modern history. Splendid telling of a terrible experience. 5 stars.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Tefft Smith
  • 2019-05-29

War is hell!!

A well written, riveting account of the horrors of ground combat and the understandably dehumanizing emotions it engenders in those misfortuned to experience it. Fascinating to experience it vicariously and from a German soldier’s experience, giving me all the more gratitude that I personally was spared the misfortune. Also, it made all the more understandable how the Nazi regime manipulated so many young men and women, thrusting them into the caldron of the total terror of “kill or be killed, brutally.”

3 people found this helpful

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  • fill
  • 2018-08-04

Great Book

Liked the story from a grunts point of view on the Eastern Front. Narrator was good except the English accent. Thought a German accent would have been more realistic but maybe too hard to understand?

7 people found this helpful

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  • Mathew
  • 2019-05-12

Humanizing the average German soldier

In today's interpretation of history Germany is a nation that must bare the guilt of some murderous mad man who assumed power through means of sedition and went on to try and take over the world. We're sort of encouraged to look at the German citizenry of the time to be in favor of genocide, and imperialism, This book puts a plethora of human faces on the people we've been told were "the bad guys". It shows they were normal people who were turned into the cudgel of the actual bad guys. The author does describe meeting people who bore our archetypal image of a German soldier who is barbarous, but he describes meeting a lot of people who were just normal people dragged into a terrible war. He wasn't in the SS so maybe that's why he wasn't engaging in barbarous acts, but I did feel compassion for the author and his comrades on the front lines.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Grant Harper
  • 2021-04-01

OK war story but off putting in its cleanliness.

Our German protagonist serves as a heavy machine gunner on the eastern front and in the story you’ll find good info about the day to day life of a soldier but our author scarcely witnesses any ungentlemanly behavior from his comrades and only notes the Russians massacring prisoners and raping women in droves, most of the time their own civilians. It is quite off putting just how clean the author depicts German forces and it strikes as inauthentic and scrubbed. Nothing at all like the raw look at war’s brutality we see in Eugene Sledge’s famous memoir. The narrator did a good job with his performance but I can't help but feel like the narrator should have been younger. I understand that there is a certain appeal to the "old man telling his war stories" approach but I personally would have preferred a voice actor closer in age to a young man undergoing these events.

In fact, this book is filled with strange almost propaganda like scenes. The Soviet civilians are all too ready to jump up and serve the nice Germans even as late as 1942/1943. There is a Russian peasant girl who falls in love with the German occupiers billeted in her house and cries when they are forced to retreat. A Russian pilot is shot down after mistaking a German column for one of his own and the German soldiers share a hearty laugh and cigarettes with him when he realizes his mistake. The author at one point after being rotated to Italy for a period remarks at how the people there long to be annexed by Germany. The Russian soldiers are always portrayed as drunk savages and at one point in the book some of them run straight into German lines to be captured after being chased by angry bees they’ve stirred up in a scene that sounds more like a cartoon than anything resembling the horrors of the eastern front.

All in all it is a fairly standard if generic war story. The politics and politicians are bad. Our soldiers were good. National Socialism, war of eradication against Judeo Bolshevism? Pffft never touched the stuff myself.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-03-09

Awesome story

This is a great memoir of a german soldier and his comrades. The narrator does a great job . It has intense moments yet I found myself laughing at some events he describes. would recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous
  • 2020-02-22

Excellent book!

This book is great! The author goes into so much detail you almost get absorbed into it as if you're right there with them! Very well detailed and be really breaks everything down, I also enjoyed the fact that he wrote this book as he wrote it in his diary with the dates and everything. The author does say he's fairly young when he enters the war, and you get that vibe. Unlike some of the other memoir/ firsthand experience books, you know right of the bar the author is either an adult or a better older. This author was fairly young and you can tell from his writing the way he complains about certain things at the beginning and shows he really has no battle experience. Then as the book progresses you can see that author is maturing and his confidence really boosts up as the war goes on, it's almost as if that author grows up right in front of us!

I see a lot of people disliking the British accent from the narrator, and I get it british terms are used here and there and kind of throws you off a bit. But i also feel like he did an excellent job portraying the author in his thoughts, tiredness, being hurt, and modifying his voice when he read something a different soldier stated, i feel he did a great job!

Overall this book was great, I just wish that author would've elaborated a bit more on his life before the war and after the war/ captivity. He basically picks up after when he's in the middle of his training and ends the book when he leaves captivity. I wish he would've let us know what he did after that, what career did he end up going into etc.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Joseph
  • 2019-06-13

Russian Front

Its good to hear the other side of the story. Good narration, (few mispronounced words), but overall great story, interesting

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-04-29

Great writing, better narration

I think this is the most enjoyable narration of a WW2 book I have listened to, out of dozens. the book itself is quite well done and insightful.

1 person found this helpful