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Daedalus Returned Hardcover – November, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Aberdeen Bookstore; Limited edition (November 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971385203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971385207
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,186,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Christian Beckert on July 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have read several first hand accounts of WWII, with a special emphasis on the German perspective. With this in mind, never have I encountered a book so well written as Baron von der Heydte's. The language is clear and very descriptive, allowing the reader to easily slip into the Cretan setting the author lays out. It is apparent that von der Heydte was a deep intellectual thinker as he frequently makes referencees to Greek mythology, and takes time out from the action to discuss his feelings on the morality and insanity of war. His description of the fighting on Crete is first rate and leaves little to be desired. What is also pleasing is that he relates his innermost feelings to the reader throughout the text, giving a truly human side the German fighting man. Little emphasis is placed on Nazism and I think this is a result of the deep intellectual that he was. He saw though much of the propaganda of the Third Reich, yet still performed his duties a proffessional German soldier. In Baron von der Heydte we find a very honorable man indeed, and one cannot help but admire his character. If you a looking for a rare, first- hand account by a fine soldier, do not pass this book up.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dimitrios on August 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the rare times that I have read a book in two successive days and there is a good reason. The battle of Crete remains one of the least known episodes of World War II, but it is extremely significant since it marked the absolute zenith of the Wehrmacht's might, just before it embarked on the disastrous Operation Barbarossa. Nothing seems to escape from von der Heydte's attention: the historical background of Crete, the landscape of the island and the personalities of his own soldiers whom he describes with vivid pictures. Von der Heydte was a battalion commander of the dreaded and elite German paratroopers who assaulted Crete against its British, Australian, New Zealander and Greek defenders in May 1941, and although he didn't fight in the crucial Maleme sector but in the neighbouring Galata-Canea area, he witnessed the whole drama of the battle. The operation "Merkur" was the brainchild of German General Kurt Student who had taken every possibility into consideration but then everything turned out contrary to plans and expectations. The author describes in excellent detail the combat jump, the chaos of the first hours on Cretan soil, the fierce enemy resistance, the painful losses, the hunger, the thirst and the desperation of the first days when the battle was hunging on a balance, so that the Berlin radio made its first mention of the attack on Crete five days after the beginning of the battle! Here and there a paragraph is a real gem of literature proving that the baron's pen is at least as mighty as his sword. The chapter "The Dressing Station" is one of the best I have ever read. Humour, horror, human relationships, personal drama and the solitary burden of leadership in battle are interwoven in a marcellously told story, which does not omit the broader view from the Generals' aspect. Von der Heydte has written a real masterpiece of military literature, although he was fighting from the side of an evil regime.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mannie Liscum on November 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Baron Friedrich August von der Heydte's "Daedalus Returned" is a short (only 186 pp) yet dense and riveting personal account of the events leading up to and including the Fallschirmjaeger (German paratroop) invasion of Crete in 1941. The combat itself started with a daytime drop 20 May and ended on 27 May with the capture of Canea (Cretin capital) and evacuation of remaining British and Australian troops. It was by all accounts (both German and Allied) a complete success on the part of the German paratroopers - this the first of its kind capture of an island stronghold by lightly armed paratroops; triumphing over larger numbers of more heavily armed defenders. As other reviewers have noted, von der Heydte is a quite gifted writer; his prose flows with considerable ease and lilt. The prose presented in "Daedalus Returned" comes from a clearly educated man who not only has a way of recounting historical facts, but with flair achieved by few other soldiers of his or any other time. "Daedalus Returned" is not only a gripping war story told from a mid-level commander but also a tour of Greek mythology to some extent as von der Heydte introduces the entire story in the context of the Greek mythology surrounding Crete, its mythical minotaur and Daedalus, the Greek architect that supposedly built the great labyrinth that housed the minotaur. The title "Deadalus Returned" eludes to the paratroop drop of idealistic adventurers coming to Crete, a place where by legend Daedalus escaped the labyrinth by flight to survive the minotaur. Von der Heydte continues his mythological theme throughout the book, although the story from chapter 2 onward is focused on his troops and their activities.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Edmund Pickett on January 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm traveling at the moment and don't have "A Time of Gifts," by Patrick Leigh Fermor, but if I remember correctly he met Baron Heydte in Vienna while walking across Europe in 1934 and they became good friends. Later PLF was on Crete, serving in the British army when the Germans attacked by parachute. PLF was translating a captured German dispatch, noticed the name Heydte and asked a prisoner if it was his old friend. He had remembered the man as very anti-nazi, but surprisingly, it was. The von Heydte family had served in the military for centuries and when war came he felt he had to serve a regime he detested. Fortunately, the two men did not meet in combat. "A Time of Gifts," and it's sequel "Between the Woods and the Water," are both masterpieces, and cannot be too highly recommended. Later in the Crete campaign Leigh Fermor captured a German general and exfiltrated him to Egypt!
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