Sven Hassel is dead

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B Hellqvist
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Sven Hassel is dead

Post by B Hellqvist » Sun Sep 23, 2012 9:30 am

Sven Hassel has popped the clogs, aged 95. The myth will live on - next year, it is 60 years since the purportedly autobiographical "Legion of the Damned" was published. Article in Danish.

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Re: Sven Hassel is dead

Post by Rolf Steiner » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:23 am

Ah, you beat me to it... well, he was no Remarque (although he seemed to borrow from him now and again), but I remember my days of reading those war pulps fondly!
"And I will show you where the Iron Crosses grow!"

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B Hellqvist
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Re: Sven Hassel is dead

Post by B Hellqvist » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:37 am

From comments I've read elsewhere, Hassel's books were often taken as true when the reader was in his teens. Some have grown up since then, others still regard them as basically true, while some file them under "guilty pleasure". From comments I've seen over the years, it is my impression that those weaned to the Hassel style of turbocharged war wrting find it hard to adjust to more realistic novels and memoirs. Personally, I find it amusing to read the occasional Hassel book just to pick it apart. It is by comparing the books that one see that he was in at least four different locations simultaneously during the winter of 1943-44, or that he was both trapped in Stalingrad and outside on a mission to scout out Soviet lines...

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Re: Sven Hassel is dead

Post by Rolf Steiner » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:21 pm

To be fair to the man, he did at intervals make some sort of point that the events he wrote about were tragic ones. At the age I picked those books up (13?) one tended to have one foot still in that childhood 'play soldiers' mentality, I think some of his writing at least made me sit up and think 'oh, this wasn't a game'. So, gratuitous brutality in pulp novels may serve some purpose. That said, yes, if you try to read one once you're through adolescence, they are kind of embarassing. Last time I tried (charity shop find, read it in the park, hoping nobody I knew would spot me), I had to skip a whole swathe, a particularly tedious 'Porta anecdote'. In one of the later books, a peevish editor's markup somehow made it through to print, which is quite amusing. 'Why "bleedin'"?' (translator must have been a bit liberal with Tiny's dialogue).
"And I will show you where the Iron Crosses grow!"

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dgc47
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Re: Sven Hassel is dead

Post by dgc47 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:27 am

Hello to all on feldgrau.

Seems a shame that my first post will be to lament the passing of Sven Hassel. I remember as a schoolboy reading his books and being disappointed on completing said read. I must've read Monte Cassino 4 times. I have to say if it wasn't for Sven Hassel books I would never have furthered my search for a more broader factual history of the Wehrmact and Waffen SS as I grew up. Sven Hassel was a guilty pleasure for me also. If he was still alive I would thank him very much.

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Re: Sven Hassel is dead

Post by Lexxx » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:30 pm

If you remember reading Hassel as a schoolboy, then you must read "Achtung Schweinehund!: A Boy's Own Story of Imaginary Combat" by Harry Pearson. The author's autobiographical account of growing up in Britain during the 70s and early 80s is a hoot. He writes at length about the influences on his early boyhood . . . from British war comics, to Leo Kessler, and (of course) Sven Hassel. A righteous romp through memory lane for this poster.

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Re: Sven Hassel is dead

Post by B Hellqvist » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:49 pm

Lexxx wrote:If you remember reading Hassel as a schoolboy, then you must read "Achtung Schweinehund!: A Boy's Own Story of Imaginary Combat" by Harry Pearson. The author's autobiographical account of growing up in Britain during the 70s and early 80s is a hoot. He writes at length about the influences on his early boyhood . . . from British war comics, to Leo Kessler, and (of course) Sven Hassel. A righteous romp through memory lane for this poster.
Seconded! Very funny book, and at the same time some astute observations. For people with no wargaming background, it can be a bit too esoteric, though.

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