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Hans von Luck was born in 1911 in Flensburg, Germany, the son of a naval officer. Although he would have preferred to study law, he followed the path of duty and in 1929 entered the Reichswehr as a cadet officer. In 1939 his motorized unit was one of the first to cross the frontier into Poland, marking the start of World War II. Thereafter he was constantly in action in every major theatre of war. He was wounded twice and received two of his country's highest awards for gallantry, the German Cross in Gold and the Knight's Cross. He ended the war a full colonel, one of the youngest in the German army. He is married, for the second time, and has three sons.
This unique memoir tells the story of one of the field-grade officers whose martial skills sustained the Third Reich against a world in arms. Von Luck fought in the Wehrmacht's armored forces for six years in Europe, Russia, and North Africa; then spent five years in a Russian labor camp. His narrative is as free from cant as it is from braggadocio and false modesty. It presents a soldier, a warrior, and a leader who never failed his men, and whose courage never faltered. It also portrays someone whose comprehensive lack of insight into the nature of the regime he served will be difficult for many readers to credit. Yet von Luck's sincerity is apparent; and his was a mind-set too widespread in Germany to be dismissed as mere self-exculpation. Failure to understand it leaves the Nazi years a mystery. Recommended for collections in this area, especially as a counterpoint to Sieg Heil!: War Letters of Tank Gunner Karl Fuchs, 1937-1941 ( LJ 9/1/87), whose narrator served in the same division as von Luck on the Russian front.-- Dennis Showalter, Colorado Coll., Colorado Springs
"For sheer breadth of recorded experience, no soldier's memoir can match it."--Military History Quarterly "One of the more valuable World War II memoirs...an exceptional volume."--Booklist "A soldier, a warrior, and a leader who never failed his men, and whose courage never faltered."--LibraryJournal "The ultimate professional soldier...a personal history that may provide guideposts for the future."--Topeka Capital-Journal