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Loyal To A Degree Paperback – August 12, 2013
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About the Author
Horst Christian was born in Berlin, Germany in 1930. His father, a mathematician and a banker, taught him to read and write before the age of 5. He discovered his love for writing by the time he was 10 years old and wrote vacation reports and several articles for the German school periodical “Hilf Mit.” When Horst was 10, he entered the “Jungvolk,” a subdivision of the Hitler Youth, which was mandatory in the Berlin school system. He then entered the Hitler Youth at the age of 14, also mandatory, and continued writing for the Hitler Youth periodicals “Der Pimpf” and “Die Deutsche Jugend Burg.” His favorite pastime was playing in the U-Bahn (subway) tunnels. While other children played soccer, Horst, with a few other likeminded children, explored Berlin by riding the subway trains. Drafted to help defend Berlin against the Soviets at the age of 14 because of his unique knowledge of the subway system, he served as a guide for various SS demolition commandos. In the early 1950s, Horst immigrated to the United States and became a US citizen after the mandatory 5-year waiting period. He loves to travel and has visited all 50 states in the US, most of Europe, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and some Central American countries. He now resides with his wife Jennifer of 41 years, in Northern California, where he has been for the last thirty years.
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This is more than history. It addresses the fanaticism of any culture, and unquestioned loyalty to one's nation when a person realizes that nation is doing wrong. It is relevant to the Edward Snowden case and likely to be relevant far into the future.
The digital version has problems at times, making it difficult to tell who is speaking because of misuse of quotation marks. The text deserves the excellence of the story. Then it may become "an evergreen"--a book with lasting value.
The author claims it was based on his war time experiences.
It is a pretty far fetched tale of a 14 YO Hitler Youth who engages in heroic exploits near the end of WWII. Despite some plausibility issues in much of it, it is still a pretty good read.
Like many self published works, it has a lot of translation and editing problems that also take away from the book. I see it as a lower end 4 star book.
Some fascinating insight into the regimentation of an entire society, and how otherwise decent people allow great evil to rule their life and cause them to engage in great evil.
This book and the second book in the series and I am sure the rest of the books that I will read, will live inside of me forever. The emotions that I felt as each page was read, were those of excitement, horror ... I cried and yes, I even omitted a laugh here and there just as the characters were doing.
This book is written so well that you can imagine every scene. I feel like I know Karl and Harold personally and at this moment at the end of the book, I am terrified for them!
A fantastic read for anyone who wants to better understand what their family went through during WWII and for those that just have an interest in history.
Vielen Dank Herr Christian! Jetzt verstehe Ich alles ein bisschen besser. Auch wenn Mein Deutsch nicht so gut ist.
This is an engrossing read that will take many modern readers out of their comfort zone. In addition to exploring the experiences of a young man who is forced to grow up entirely too fast, the audience is forced to consider the question of when survival supercedes loyalty and patriotism.
There are some editing and formatting flaws here, as well as a few minor grammatical issues, which I suppose result from translation. They are not enough though, to detract from the storytelling. This is a powerful and compelling read.
I first read "Children to a Degree" so this was the natural sequel even though it was written first.
While the dialog is still a bit stiff I found myself getting used to it, just like when you're in a foreign country for 3-4 weeks - by the time you leave you hardly notice your stilted conversation until you converse with a natural English speaker...
The story conveys very clearly without getting to labored or gruesome the hardship and violence of WW2 in NE Germany. As I mentioned in my review of "Children..." my uncle was born in the same year as the protagonist and author, and my father two years later. So I try to picture them in the scenes. I can't really. How can you picture 14-15 year old kids doing the "work" of soldiers? And that is surely what they did. Not only carrying weapons and killing the enemy, but executing very high level and far reaching tasks, like training the Volksturm.
My biggest complaint is that it's not really a standalone book. It's really Volume 2. WARNING - if you don't want to buy the next book, don't buy this one. The next to last paragraph is typical of the last paragraph of a page-turner chapter. The final paragraph is really a rather lame attempt to summarize what the next book must surely be about.