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Legion of the Damned by Sven Hassel
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Legion of the Damned (1957)

by Sven Hassel

Series: Sven Hassel

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» See also 4 mentions

English (5)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (7)
Showing 5 of 5
For Sven Hassel’s Legion of the Damned, it was more interesting researching the author than reading the book. This is the first in a series of WWII books about a Danish soldier serving in the German army, purporting to be autobiographical. The book recounts the bloody and violent adventures of a group of German soldiers in a penal battalion on the Russian front. It doesn’t take too long to realize everything is a little off; weapons are incorrect for the time period, dates are missing, locations seem deliberately vague.

It seems like – the case was never really settled but the evidence seems pretty strong – the author’s actual World War 2 service was in a collaborationist Danish paramilitary unit, he never left Denmark, and he served a prison term as a traitor after the war. It’s further claimed that the characters and plot elements were plagiarized from All Quiet on the Western Front; that the novels were actually ghost-written by the author’s wife, a Danish journalist; and that the author collected many of the stories and anecdotes from Waffen SS members he met in Denmark.

The Hassel books were immensely popular – he is the second most published Danish author, after Hans Christian Andersen. I suspect there’s a certain element of guilty pleasure there – “war porn”. Legion of the Damned is the only one I’ve read thus far; its treatment of the Soviet Union is pretty surprising. Supposedly commissars are jolly sorts that let a German POW go when he beats them at cards, and in a Soviet prison camp you can sign out overnight to visit the girls in the neighboring village. This must have been a hell of a surprise to Solzhenitsyn and Shalamov.

I suppose my OCD will compel me to read the rest of these. Not really looking forward to it, though. ( )
2 vote setnahkt | Mar 5, 2018 |
Novel about German soldiers condemned to a Penal Regiment on the Eastern Front during the Second World War.
  bowlees | Mar 7, 2016 |
A gritty read with some scenes not for the squeamish. ( )
  Chris.Graham | Jul 30, 2013 |
A book I was really looking to forward to reading. After looking at many reviews describing his works as 'war porn' and 'gratuitously violent' I hoped that I was going to be in for something special. Unfortunately this was not the case.

The first few chapters details the barbarity in the prison camps and lengths many people had to go to just to survive, but from this point I started to find the book a bit of a chore. The short paragraphs at the start of a chapter were often bewildering and occasionally had no resemblence to the plot.

When the action comes it is thick and fast but for me the parts in between are just far too long and boring. Other reviewers have commented on historical inaccuracies etc etc etc, I know nothing of these, and this is probably a testament to how boring I actually found the text - I just couldn't be bothered to find out. ( )
  Bridgey | Jun 12, 2013 |
The first Sven Hassel novel. A novel full of mayhem on the Eastern Front, some have called this war porn.
  kaki5231 | Jan 4, 2013 |
Showing 5 of 5
''Ono što možda najviše osvežava i ostavlja najjači utisak kod Haselovih knjiga je to što on skupinu vojnika Vermahta ne koristi kao sredstvo za još jedan dosadan prikaz svih zala nacizma, već preko njih daje analizu znatno većeg i opasnijeg zla - rata samog po sebi - bilo kog rata, bilo kada, bilo gde. Sasvim sigurno da ovi ljudi nisu junaci; nisu čak ni antijunaci u smislu u uobičajenom shvatanju. Oni ubijaju, puštaju ljude na slobodu i šale se sa podjednakom lakoćom, čak jedan drugom zagorčavaju životi stalno gledaju da bar nešto ućare. Dosta iz njihovog držanja je, naravno, oprostivo u tom okruženju, ali ne sve. Kao ishod, ostavljeni smo da razmišljamo o punoj složenosti rata, i o punoj složenosti čoveka...''
added by Sensei-CRS | editknjigainfo.com, Richard B. Luhrs
 
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Questo libro è dedicato ai militi ignoti che caddero per una causa non loro, ai miei magnifici compagni del ventisettesimo reggimento corazzato (di disciplina), e a tutte le donne valorose che ci aiutarono in quei giorni tristi e disperati
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Il giorno innanzi, la corte marziale aveva giudicato il grosso zappatore, condannandolo a otto anni di lavoro forzati
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Innehåller: "De fördömdas legion" och "Frontkamrater"
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0304366315, Mass Market Paperback)

Sven Hassel's books have sold 52 million copies worldwide. The critically acclaimed Legion of the Damned has already been translated into 15 languages, and will soon reach the attention of even more readers when it becomes a movie. Hassel, a Danish volunteer who served in the German army throughout WWII, based this story on his own horrific experiences fighting on the Russian front. Never before has violence been described in such graphic and realistic detail.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:55 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Includes the World War Two On The Eastern Front (1941-1945) Illustration Pack - 198 photos/illustrations and 46 maps. The Nazi army's own DIRTY DOZEN-a convict battalion commanded to ravage and kill! Sven Hassel's iconic war novel about the Russian Front. Convicted of deserting the German army, Sven Hassel is sent to a penal regiment on the Russian Front. He and his comrades are regarded as expendable, cannon fodder in the battle against the implacable Red Army. Outnumbered and outgunned, they fight their way across the frozen steppe...… (more)

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