Soldaten by Sonke Neitzel
On Fighting, Killing, and Dying

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Soldaten raises unsettling questions about the fate of civilians in the firing line. It provides an essential documentary record; seldom has surveillance been put to such important use.
-Guardian

Synopsis

On a visit to the British National Archive in 2001, Sönke Neitzel made a remarkable discovery: reams of covertly recorded, meticulously transcribed conversations among German POWs during World War II that recently had been declassified. Neitzel would later find another collection of transcriptions, twice as extensive, in the National Archive in Washington, D.C. 

These discoveries, published in book form for the first time, would provide a unique and profoundly important window into the true mentality of the soldiers in the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, the German navy, and the military in general—almost all of whom had insisted on their own honorable behavior during the war. Collaborating with renowned social psychologist Harald Welzer, Neitzel examines these conversations—and the casual, pitiless brutality omnipresent in them—to create a powerful narrative of wartime experience.

[Originally published as Soldaten.] 

 

About Sonke Neitzel

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SÖNKE NEITZEL is currently Chair of International History at the London School of Economics. He has previously taught modern history at the Universities of Glasgow, Saarbrücken, Bern, and Mainz. Harald Welzer is a professor of transformation design at the University of Flensburg, teaches social psychology at the University of Sankt Gallen, and is head of the foundation Futurzwei.
 
Published September 25, 2012 by Vintage. 449 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Soldaten
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Ian Thomson on Jan 25 2013

Soldaten raises unsettling questions about the fate of civilians in the firing line. It provides an essential documentary record; seldom has surveillance been put to such important use.

Read Full Review of Soldaten: On Fighting, Killin... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Ben Hutchinson on Sep 29 2012

Deftly translated by Jefferson Chase, these transcripts constitute an invaluable historical document precisely because the prisoners did not know that they would become a "source".

Read Full Review of Soldaten: On Fighting, Killin... | See more reviews from Guardian

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