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Soldiers' Field: A Novel of Postwar Germany (English Edition) Formato Kindle
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Ray has managed to cover the life of the average GI during this time frame, and once I started reading his book,
I was unable to put it down. Since I had also traveled many of the same paths Ray leads one down in the book, it kept
my attention from beginning to end.
Good work Ray.
Readers of this review should know that I was an American soldier stationed in Germany about the time of the setting of the book. My post was Henry Kaserne in Munich, from mid-June 1960 to mid-December 1962. David Streiber, the protagonist of Soldiers" Field, spent his last months in Germany at Henry Kaserne, leaving in June 1960. My experiences at that time and place explain my initial interest in Ray Weinstein's book. Despite that partially shared experience, the book gave me reasons to keep turning pages until I finished reading the entire book.
The experiences of a young Jewish soldier from New York City going to Germany, the land of Nazis and the Holocaust, are effectively presented by Weinstein in Soldiers" Field. I learned as David Streiber recalled Jewish history when he visited Soldiers" Field in Nuremberg, the site of Hitler's Nazi Party rallies. I cringed as I read about David's visit to the concentration camp in Dachau. I visualized what David's visit to Israel was like. I went numb when I read Karin's words to David when he told her he wouldn't marry her: "Is good what Hitler did to Yooden."
A major theme in the book involves the relationships between American soldiers and German women. Weinstein describes three categories of women. At the top were the "nice" German girls. For the most part, these women did not date American soldiers. The middle group were girls who dated U.S. soldiers, but only white GIs. The third group consisted of women who would date black soldiers. The women in this third group were ostracized by German civilians and by white American soldiers. This rings true to me, although I remember exceptions to these exclusive categories. Also, there were American girls in Munich, mostly students, and some of us were lucky enough to meet and date these young women.
The theme of tension between white and black soldiers in the U.S. Army also describes truth. Although the integration of the Army was signed into law by President Truman in 1948, it took several years into the 1950s to make the integration a reality. In the late 1950s - early 1960s, the civil rights gains of 1964 had still not been realized. My own experience in a tank battalion in Munich was that there were many black soldiers in our unit, but few racially motivated incidents between whites and blacks. There were also many black noncommissioned officers. I don't recall that there were any black officers in our battalion. As described by Weinstein, off post there was de facto segregation between white and black soldiers in Munich as well as in Nuremberg.
I recommend this book to all readers. For students of history, this is an important contribution to a better understanding of a period of the Cold War that many people are not aware of - namely, the years between the Korean War and the Vietnam War. For those who love to read a well-written story that holds your interest, this book will reward you.