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Panzer Commander

The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck
Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
Length: 15 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A stunning look at World War II from the other side.... From the turret of a German tank, Colonel Hans von Luck commanded Rommel's 7th and then 21st Panzer Division. El Alamein, Kasserine Pass, Poland, Belgium, Normandy on D-Day, the disastrous Russian front - von Luck fought there with some of the best soldiers in the world. German soldiers. Awarded the German Cross in Gold and the Knight's Cross, von Luck writes as an officer and a gentleman. Told with the vivid detail of an impassioned eyewitness, his rare and moving memoir has become a classic in the literature of World War II, a first-person chronicle of the glory - and the inevitable tragedy - of a superb soldier fighting Hitler's war.

©1989 Hans von Luck (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Randall
  • 2016-11-08

Reads like Forrest Gump ( a fiction )

This guy has a grand opinion of himself. We are expected to believe all these tales. Von Luck must have been Superman. All his deeds were honorable and all his enemies became good friends, and he was best friends with all the generals in Germany. This book can only be entertaining if you think of it as a fiction or you are very gullible. Maybe Von Luck has "added" a little each time he told his tales until he came up with this grandiose story.

111 of 123 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Justin
  • 2018-03-19

Great listen but be wary

Any additional comments?

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but do be wary. von Luck was pretty notorious for embellishing his stories. They tended to change slightly with each telling so take what you hear with a grain of salt.

24 of 28 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Karl Johan Widell
  • 2018-12-31

The narrator sucks so hard.

...His german accent is laughing stock. Stop spoiling a good story in this way. Failed product

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Pditty
  • 2019-05-22

Had potential but did not hit the mark

The writer claims to have been a veteran of almost every key campaign and personal friends with key generals at key battles. This I would think would make him a VERY informed person but unfortunately he spends the book informing us of his background and history as a gentlemen and semi-royal background. He they goes on to describe how he basks with towns for breakfast after the Germans take the towns. He leaves out the part or mostly leaves out the fact that they have to brutally take the towns first. Sorry, waaayyyyy to much creative licence taken with history here. If his story is true he was at a chateau for a bit while the German juggernaut was storming through Poland. Somehow his reconicense unit is able to remain stopped for long periods of time when they used blitzkrieg tactics. Not for me, If this gentlemen has a story I would like to hear the real deal.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • R. Bee
  • 2015-06-03

Hard to listen to the fake accent

This is a good story if you can get past the horrible fake German accent. If you like this kind of book, you would probably enjoy "A Higher Call" by Adam Makos. It is a great book that is so much easier to listen to.

18 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 2019-05-28

Decent

Decent memoir. I usually love Pinchot as a narrator but I found his German accent very hard to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • William
  • 2015-06-27

For Serious WWII Buffs

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Not for me. I wanted to hear about the human side of WWII from a German Soldier. This book is more for Military Historians [Think: "On the 2 of July we went up against the right flank of the 3 battalion of Montey's Third Division" and "For his actions that day Lieutenant X was given the Knight's Cross..." ]. If that sort of thing is what you want: Do it!

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Yawn.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

He was fine for this type of book.

Do you think Panzer Commander needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No followup required for me.

Any additional comments?

In this entire book, I don't think more than 10 minutes were devoted to stories of the human side of the war.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • A Texan 2
  • 2014-09-15

A compelling look into WW2 from the "other" side

This is not a book I would have normally found on my own. But, a good friend recommended it and I am most grateful that he did. It is a recollection of World War II that everyone should read.

These are the memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck and in it he shares his experiences of his life as an officer in the German army leading up to and through World War II. It also gives his account of the five years he spent after the war in a Soviet POW camp and his eventual return to life as a civilian.

This book is not a glorification or romanticization of war. It is not a defense of Hitler's Germany, nor an apology. It is an explanation of how men who were patriots of their country had that loyalty twisted and abused in Hitler's quest for world domination. It is a view "from the trenches" and gives great insight into both the details of the battles von Luck fought in, and the thoughts and feelings of him and his men through the various stages of the war.

While I did find the narrative bog down from time to time with the details of movements during some of the campaigns, what really makes this book a standout are von Luck's insights into how the German army viewed the war as well as the descriptions of encounters that he had with his enemies both as captor and prisoner. von Luck also brings into this collection additional stories from his companions who got separated from him over the course of the war - of people he befriended in Paris during the time Germany initially occupied it, of subordinates captured by the Americans in North Africa and the time they spent in POW camps in the American Midwest, of the woman who was for a time his fiance before his capture and five year internment.

In war, governments seek to make their citizens see the enemy as something not human. von Luck makes nots of the Nazi propaganda machines efforts to make the German citizens see the Soviets as "sub-humans" at the time that Hitler broke his non-agression pact with Stalin and started the disastrous invasion of the Russian homeland. This book shows that all of these peoples - Russians, Germans, French, Brits, even the Americans - weren't just "others" but were men doing their best to follow the orders of the civilian leaders under difficult circumstances. It is a book anyone who would claim the mandate of leader of a country should read to better understand the human face of war and the young men whose lives are spent engaging in "politics by other means."

For the narration - Bronson Pinchot did an excellent job of bringing this story to life. His inflection, rhythm and accents really made me feel like Colonel von Luck was sitting down in the room with me and telling his story.

33 of 53 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2015-11-25

A Lover of His Enemies

He loves the Russians, he loves the Polish, he loves the French, he loves the bedlams. He was a professional solider. He killed Russians, he killed Poles, he killed Frenchmen. This guy never meet an enemy he didn't love and kill. He did not like Hitler or the SS. Pretty interesting how politically correct he is in his old age.

This is a must read for Military enthusiasts and World War II historians. The book is full of German Strategies, military jargon, and high adventure.

I got it, because I thought I might get some answers on why Hitler did what he did and why people followed him. Luck did what he did because he was a Prussian Aristocrat, whose family had a history of being in the military. He followed orders. If told, "Go invade Poland", he did not question it and looked forward to the adventure of getting out and killing Polish people. The same for France and for Russia. He knew nothing about concentration camps, even though all his Jewish friends kept disappearing. I never found out why Hitler invaded anybody.

This is a great book for looking at World War II from the rarely seen other side, as far as strategy goes, but don't look for Why?

24 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben
  • 2014-07-26

Wonderful new perspective; Best narration ever

What was one of the most memorable moments of Panzer Commander?

It was wonderful to hear this perspective from the other side of the conflict (I listened to the book while re-watching Band of Brothers). Hans von Luck was a professional soldier who did an extremely tough job with determination, discipline and high intelligence. The question here is naturally how someone like that could work within the Nazi cloud, and do the Nazi bidding? His contemplative reflection of his own role goes a long way to answering the question for this man at least.

What about Bronson Pinchot’s performance did you like?

Pinchot's use of a German accent was a spot-on choice, and immaculately executed. His gentle tone also went a long way (rightly or wrongly) to shaping my impression of Hans von Luck himself. I immediately looked at all the other books Pinchot has narrated, and have already picked another one.

Any additional comments?

If you want to see how a refined man of great intelligence could be drawn into the Nazi strategy even though he did not share their ideology, and continue to execute his military assignments with astonishing professionalism even though he knew the war was lost years before, this is the book for you.

12 of 20 people found this review helpful