These two books make up a gold mine for understanding what it was like on the other side. We get to understand how successful propaganda was for the common soldiers and how that played into their willingness to fight to the death. We also catch glimpses of how close we came to losing the battle. The Germans had several weapons that could have changed the outcome had they been quickly and fully deployed, and that doesn’t even count their panzers.
These two books are the result of interviews made in 1954 by Dieter Eckhertz, the grandfather of Holger Eckhertz. Dieter died in 1955 before he could compile the interviews into a book. His records remained untouched for decades until Holger decided to finish the task.
The accounts are detailed and brutally bloody. If you had a hard time watching the first 20 minutes of Private Ryan, don’t bother reading these books. But if you want to understand the history of the war, this read is a must.