A Stranger to Myself: The Inhumanity of War: Russia, 1941-1944

A Stranger to Myself: The Inhumanity of War: Russia, 1941-1944
A Stranger to Myself: The Inhumanity of War: Russia, 1941-1944 by Willy Peter Reese
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The powerful memoir of a German infantry soldier during WW2, A Stranger to Myself was written in 1944 a few months before the author died, drawn from his detailed journals written at the Front. Because of that, it has an immediacy that other books, with their post-war hindsight, lack. This isn’t a who-what-when of battles, but the profound emotional and spiritual impact of war on a young man on the ground, speaking to the experience of the unspeakable. German war memoirs are far fewer than those of the allies. Even this one wasn’t published until a few years ago: Reese’s mother was unable to find a publisher during her lifetime. I am very glad for ebooks in this case: I wouldn’t be able to find it in paper. But I was able to download it and in a weekend, I’d finished it. I am still thinking about it.

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4 thoughts on “A Stranger to Myself: The Inhumanity of War: Russia, 1941-1944

  1. The title itself is very powerful. Makes me think about a young man being forced into situations where he didn’t recognise himself any more. The inhumanity of war can do that, and is almost impossible for the rest of us to imagine, without books like this. Sounds excellent – thanks for reviewing it, Lilian.

    1. That’s exactly how he felt. It’s so unusual to get the viewpoint from a soldier in the must of it who is also introspective and can express it.

  2. Lilian, have just finished reading the book and thank you for bringing it to my attention.

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