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Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans Von Luck

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Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans Von Luck

I’m a bit of a history nut (I’ve plowed through hundreds of hours of Great Courses lectures) and especially like military history.

The best historical reads are almost always biographies as they give you so much more than a dry account of “this happened followed by that”–they give you the vicarious experience of the period and events and the great ones also give you profound lessons on how to navigate the ups and downs of life.

Well, Panzer Commander is one of the great ones.

Hans Von Luck was a tank commander and one of Nazi Germany’s most decorated soldiers, and in this book he takes us behind the turret to experience each of the major military campaigns of the war from the blitz through Poland to the disastrous Battle of the Bulge and finally to his bleak days as a prisoner of war in a Russian gulag (which was particularly interesting to see through his eyes).

As other readers have noted, the actual descriptions of the military battles themselves are a bit dry and, at some points, confusing due to a lack of maps, but all in all I thoroughly enjoyed von Luck’s anecdotes as well as the “behind-the-scenes” view  of the Wehrmacht that only someone as prominent as von Luck could provide.

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