Industrial Deals Beauty Best Books of the Year Black Friday Deals Week nav_sap_hiltonhonors_launch For a limited time. 3 months for $0.99. Amazon Music Unlimited. New subscribers only. Terms and conditions apply. Electronics Gift Guide Starting at $39.99 Grocery Handmade Gift Shop Home and Garden Book a house cleaner for 2 or more hours on Amazon soul2soul soul2soul soul2soul  Three new members of the Echo family All-New Fire HD 8, starting at $79.99 All-New Kindle Oasis GNO Shop Now HTL17_gno

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
227
German Boy: A Child in War
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:$11.72+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on March 15, 2017
I simply could not put this book down. We learn so much about what life was like for the victims and victors of WWII, but I don't believe I've ever read much about the aftermath of the war on German citizens (aside from the fictional The Book Thief). I was regularly horrified throughout Wolfgang's story. I didn't realize the poverty and suffering the average German, especially the refugees, went through. I had to keep reminding myself that this book was a memoir, not fiction, because Wolfgang Samuel told such a descriptive and page-turning story. In the end, I found myself amazed by the sheer luck his family found at times, along with the grit of his often stubborn and sometimes selfish mother. I mourned the loss of his friends and family members, particularly with the gruesome ways they died. I felt such joy whenever the family found safety and shelter, and most especially when they made it to America. I will be recommending this book to everyone.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
|
0Comment|Report abuse
on January 26, 2016
I simply could not put this book down. I’m a very slow and deliberate reader, but I finished this one in record time. Once I started reading, that “what’s around the next corner” question was relentless and all-consuming. What is so amazing is how the author relates his experiences in the few years after WW2 with the perfect combination of both matter-of-fact narrative and profound personal emotion. The language and tone is so relatable. Anyone from the guy next door to an expert in European history could read this book and come away deeply affected. A brilliant autobiography.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
|
11 comment|Report abuse
on January 8, 2014
I have to say I never thought about what happens to the folks who line in the lands were there are men fighting
and the towns people are caught in the middle of the fighting and because the lack of compassion on the part of
a few causes real problems for the towns people.

After reading another book called "THE UNKOWN DEAD" a story about the people who went thru the "Battle of the Bulge"
and still another "When the Smoke Cleared at Gettysburg" I began to see the REAL looses are the civilian's

I love history and have read a lot off accounts of the battles from every one involved, but never had seen the peoples
views

Sad the REAL looses in any battle are still the folks who live in the land and place of the battles one gets a view of real life.
and what woman are forced to do to try and keep their families alive is very sad indeed
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
|
0Comment|Report abuse
on February 4, 2013
My father was a german refugee in Hungary at about the same time (and at about the same age) as the author. My father never really talked about his "post war" years in great detail. He always said "why dig that up again?". In fact, most everone I knew that were refugees at the time never talked about it.

I know of only a couple of his stories that came out over the years. I especially remember the story of how my grandfather smeared horse dung all over a small cask of bandy so that the Russian soldiers would not take it. I also managed to get the stories on how each family member escaped from East to West Germany. But that was about it.

After reading this book, I felt closer in knowing what my family went through. It is difficult to imagine how one could survive in such an environment. In reading this book, I began to feel embarrised on just how much I take for granted. I also began to wonder if my own grandmother was molested by the Russians. It would explain a lot if she was.

I would like to thank the author in giving my a better picture on what my family went through. My father had many friends (other refugees at the time) and they all seem to have a big adversion to telling us "youngsters" about what it was like and how they managed to survive. I owe Mr Samuel a debt of gratitude! Thanks so much for sharing this with us!
4 helpful votes
5 helpful votes
|
0Comment|Report abuse
on March 21, 2014
We don't think of the victims of war that are caught in the crossfire, and we particularly don't think of them when they were or are the enemy. This book portrays the end of the war for a 10 year old and his family, refugees in their own country of Germany in the rush to escape the Russians in the waning days and for the next 5 years. Wolfgang and his family overcome odds of survival and live hand to mouth in o 0ftimes dangerous situations. There are acts of kindness and humanity as well as cruelty and this boy"s character is formed thru adversity. On the positive side is familial love and stick togetherness.
The amazing ending is brighter days ahead in America where he is able to come as a teenager and gives back to his adopted country. Stephen Ambrose brought this true story of survivial and courage where Wolfgang notes that it was easier to survive bombings during the war than the realities of its aftermath.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
|
0Comment|Report abuse
on July 27, 2014
So many Americans are of full or partial German heritage suggesting that alone should draw you in. But even better for readers is the story that is stamped in your mind after the first few pages. Know the author first (read about him) then begin to fully appreciated the difficulty of his family and young Wolfgang in the war years in Germany. Imagine if an American movement (either left wing or right wing radicals) took over, then shut down our government, started wars with Canada, Mexico and others, and you were 10 yrs old and were just trying to survive with your family in such an environment. But then this was 1941 and in Nazi Germany to begin with . . .
I would love to meet Ret. USAF Colonel Samuel and thank him for writing such a compelling book of his youth. It helped me understand the earlier generations my family in New York much better.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
|
0Comment|Report abuse
on November 13, 2017
I had the privilege of buying my copy from Col. Samuel, a very engaging man. He tells the compelling first-person story I have always been interested in: what it was like for German civilians during WWII and its aftermath. He was lucky to have had a truly courageous mother willing to make the sacrifices necessary for the survival of her children. It is an amazing story!
1 helpful vote
|
0Comment|Report abuse
on December 1, 2012
Very interesting book! Interesting from page 1 til the very end. A 9-15 year old German boy's story of his and his family's harrowing life in a destroyed Germany at the end of WWII. The boy, Wolfgang, is deeply upset about some of the things his mother had to do to save him, his sister, and other family members as they ran to evade an advancing Russian army. This reader wonders at what a force Wolfgang's mother was, never wavering in her determination to protect her family in the most desperate of times. His mother was not a perfect parent, nevertheless, a wonderful one. Deeply touching story. Very interesting to get a glimpse of one German family's existence in a war-torn country.

Another really top-knotch story of life, loss, and survival in Germany during WWII is MEMOIRS OF A 1000-YEAR-OLD WOMAN...this time told with excellence and interest starting as a young girl born in 1925 in Berlin.
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
|
22 comments|Report abuse
on November 22, 2012
This book was recommended to me by a retired professor of English literature who knows something special when she reads it, and by her daughter, who told me that if I ordered the book and didn't like it, she'd personally give me my money back. I bought the book and could hardly put it down. And I have bought five copies for friends. "German Boy" contains the vivid recollections of life in Germany under the Nazis, the Soviets, and in the immediate postwar West, through the eyes of a displaced, impoverished civilian. This is not a names-and-dates history, a recounting of generals and their battles, but war, and its aftermath, as experienced by the forgotten victims. The people are real, and their heartache is heartfelt by the reader. I recently traveled to and from Berlin by train and into the former East Germany by bus. That I could do so with ease is the legacy of those who survived this epic struggle and, over the years, changed German life to the point that it's hard to imagine the era depicted. Thank you, Col. Samuel, for reminding us of how things were and of whose efforts and imagination helped bring about a better future for your native land.
2 helpful votes
3 helpful votes
|
0Comment|Report abuse
on August 17, 2014
A VERY worthwhile read! It's an extraordinary first-person account of the circumstances of "ordinary" Germans at the end of the war and in the immediate post-war era. Wolfgang's comfortable middle class life is thrown into turmoil as the Russians advance at the end of the war. His accounts of the lengths to which his mother went to feed her children and the stories of those who helped his family and those (including an uncle) who didn't are moving. His perspective as one living in the east differs pretty dramatically from that of the author of Dance on the Volcano especially in his experiences as a "refugee" first in the east at the end of the war and later after the family is able to join his father in the west when the father (who was a German aviator) is released from an American prisoner-of-war camp. However, there are some similarities (e.g. the fact that farmers who could grow their own food had it somewhat better-- at least until the East Germans collectivized the farms after the war). The account of the Berlin airlift is also enlightening.
1 helpful vote
|
0Comment|Report abuse