Friday, December 23, 2011

Book review: The Face of Courage

The Face of Courage, written by Florian Berger.  This 600 page book was originally published in 2007 by J.J. Fedorowicz and is now published in paperback by Stackpole BooksThe Face of Courage chronicles the exploits of 98 German soldiers who won both the Knight's Cross and Close-Combat in Gold.  Unlike the British Victoria Cross, Soviet "Hero of the Soviet Union" or American Congressional Medal of Honor, the Knight's Cross was awarded for numerous acts of bravery in battle.  The Close Combat Clasp had 3 levels: bronze for 15 days of close combat; silver for 25 days of close combat; and gold for 50 or more days of close combat.  To be awarded both the Knight's Cross and Close Combat Clasp in Gold meant you were someone very special.

In his writing, the author takes each of the 98 documented winners of both awards and describes them with a brief biography starting with when and where they were born along with the early military service.  He then goes on to describe the various actions the individuals took part in along with the various decorations they were awarded.  Photos are abundant in the book with wartime photos of the individuals provided in their respective sections.  Post war photos, if available, are also provided.  The finishes with a chapter covering disputed or unconfirmed winners of both awards.

Overall, I feel the author does a good job with the subject. It was fascinating to read of the exploits of these soldiers in action.  Many of these individuals were wounded numerous times.  Needless to say, many did not survive the war.

A highly recommended read.

Thanks to Chris Evans at Stackpole Books for the review sample.

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