The Deserters

The Deserters

A Hidden History of World War II

Book - 2013
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An historical account of the view of deserters during World War II, this story deals with ordinary men under pressure to accomplish enormous and paradoxical expectations imposed on them. It is a history of ordinary soldiers struggling on the front lines. This book offers a new perspective on the Second World War, delving deep into army archives, personal diaries, court-martial records, and self-published memoirs to produce this portrait of men overlooked by their commanders and ignored by history. Surprisingly, deserters weren't looked on as cowards by their comrades, but rather as a normal part of wartime behavior. A soldier could fight bravely, but in a year's time become exhausted and disillusioned, causing desertion. It discards the notion of a flawless military and the dignity of conflict
Publisher: New York : The Penguin Press, 2013
ISBN: 9781594204289
Branch Call Number: 940.548 GLASS
Characteristics: xx, 380 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Jan 25, 2020

This is quite an interesting book about a subject that is almost universally ignored, which is that a substantial number of Allied soldiers deserted their armies during World War II. Reasons varied, from exhaustion due to the stress of combat in a system which kept the same men permanently at the front of the fighting for years at a time, to simple self-preservation. But once they had deserted, a shocking number of these men turned to lawlessness, including robbing their own armies for supplies to sell for personal profit. My one complaint about The Deserters is that it describes itself as a “hidden history of World War 2,” when in fact it is not a comprehensive or systematic study of the entire subject, but rather concentrates almost entirely on the personal and anecdotal experiences of a handful of individuals. Still, I would recommend the book to those with an interest in history, and especially military history.

Aug 27, 2015

Fascinating read about deserters that's little talked about. The audio was excellent also. Sometimes it repeated info, but overall it brought light on the reasons for desertion.


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