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The Blond Knight of Germany: A biography of Erich Hartmann 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 79 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0830681891
ISBN-10: 0830681892
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tab Aero; 1 edition (1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830681892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830681891
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Patrick Thompson on July 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
Erich 'Bubi' Hartmann - the Ace of all Aces: 352 Confirmed Kills. And here is his story. What a read! I couldn't put it down! I read it all in one go (headache be damned).

This is a book that deals with major aspects of Bubi Hartmann's life with several epitomizing examples. Eg. Air combat, we get his first sortie (lost his plane), shooting down a Il-2 for his first kill, even fighting and destroying 7 Mustangs at Ploesti as well as taking on 8 Mustangs by himself. There is the love of his life: Ursula, meeting hitler three times (drunk the first time for his Knight's cross), his truly honorable decision at the end of the war, the disgracful behavior of the Russians at the end, the endless decade in the prison camp as a 'war' criminal, refusing to work with or for the Soviets, the the post war years, in particular Bubi's opinion of the f-104 and the mistake the luftwaffe made in adopting it.

What this book is not: a blow-by-blow account of air tactics on the eastern front, though Bubi's style is contrasted with other aces in JG52. His approach is also considered with the 2nd ranked russian aces who adopted a similar style. Nor is it the gulag archipelego (Solzenitsyn) as in an exhuastive coverage of the soviet gulag system. Instead it is balanced work that seeks to pay fair time to the major events in Hartmann's life. Consequently it reads quickly and well.

Often you will find yourself shaking your head at this amazing (and amazingly modest) man and the amazing things he did and survived. His was a life most extraordinary with extremes being the norm. There are also some very touching moments. I personally felt regret when I was finishied reading that I would never get a chance to meet this man.
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Format: Paperback
Erich Hartmann is one of the true heroes of WWII. As the highest scoring ace of WWII, and probably forever, he was one of the deadliest pilots the world has ever seen. His score of 352 kills, of which 345 were Soviet aircraft, is absolutely astronomical. Ironically, his war years are not as highly praised as the time he spent in Soviet prison camps. The Soviets were experts at making people crack through mental torture rather than physical torture. Eventually everyone cracked, except for Hartmann. He was thrown in a dark hole (called the "bunker") for days at a time, provided only with water. He once had a period of over six months in the bunker, yet he still refused to work for the Soviets. The sheer will power of Hartmann was enough to resist the torture thrown upon him. It just shows that if you try, you can conquer any barrier.
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Format: Paperback
At the beginning of the book there is an excess of hero worship and accolades, even for an exceptional soldier, which made me wonder how much of the book I could believe. However, it then got better with the saga of Hartmann's air battles. His strategy was to spot the enemy first and surprise them, waiting to fire until very close, which typically resulted in catastrophic damage to the enemy plane. The second half of the book is about Hartmann's captivity, and is especially interesting. The description of the rape and murder of German civilians by the conquering Russian army was enlightening and serves as a warning to future generations. Hartmann was then a prisoner for 10 years, subject to psychotic mind games of the Russian NKVD. The authors give some interesting psychological analysis of the prison situation. It's a good read and thought provoking.
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Format: Paperback
This book details the life of the greatest fighter ace of all time (and probably forever!) Seemingly forgotten, the story of Erich Hartmann is told with good detail and accuracy. It tells of his young life growing up in China with his physician father and mother, moving back to their homeland in Germany, and his entry into the Luftwaffe. Hartmann fought with JG52 in Russia and shot down an astounding 352 aircraft... in less than three years and before he'd seen his 22nd birthday! The book tells of his capture by the Soviets and the horrible 10 1/2 years of confinement he spent in the gulag. The only thing that kept him going was his undying love for his wife and her love for him. The Soviets could not break him. He was finally released and helped form the first all-jet fighter wing of the West German air force, flying for NATO. He even came to the US several times and instructed new fighter pilots in the art of aerial warfare (could there be a better teacher than the Ace of Aces?) This was one of the best books that I've ever read and that's saying a lot!
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Format: Paperback
Having known Ray Toliver (one of the authors) as well as Erich Hartmann personally over the years, it is easy to understand why the book was not as forthcoming in certain areas. Erich's status as a Soviet POW for 10 and a half years had much to do with it. Erich's postwar life was also difficult upon repatriation. His outspokenness in the upper ranks of the Bundesluftwaffe and NATO limited his career, which is not covered in the early edition. However, given this, the biography is a good insight into a young man who performed at the highest level, fighting for his nation, and never abandoning his comrades. This was the reason for his being handed over to the Soviets by his American captors. Hartmann was not only a great pilot, but a great man, who always voiced his dissent, never compromising.
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