Archive for the ‘K9ZW Recommends’ Category

Life on Both Sides of the Wall – Gunther Skaletz’s Epic Life in His Own Words

EDIT Jan 2009: (From a Comment to this review I posted in 2008):

A couple of comments relating to how much of the book is stories that have grown over time, taking issue with timelines, and how much readers have read into the book beyond what was actually written, have been left for moderator.  I have also received emails and letters from people with concerns that Gunther’s Story is not Autobiographical, rather a mix of facts & tales.

I am not able, nor willing, to post these as I lack the resources to mediate or do independent research.

If this book were presented as a work of complete Fiction, or as a Semi-Autobiographical work it would still stand as a good read – a well told story.

Any disagreement or conflict is for somewhere other than this minor review.  As Gunther and his publisher are easily located, perhaps that would be a great place for any discussion to start.

Again, if the book were presented as just a tale – even as Historical Fiction or a Mash-Up –  I would have enjoyed reading it.

Cheers,

Steve

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“Gunther Skaletz’s Epic Life in His Own Words” is a personal account of such WWII importance that a reader is well rewarded to hunt down a copy.

Gunther Skaletz is one of those people who have lived adventures, including horrors, almost unimaginable while holding true to the values & drive that to this day make him a “Friend of the Community” where ever he goes!

Polish born German speaking the youthful Gunther first hand lived the sharp edge of WWII, the Gestapo, imprisonment in Auschwitz, the bombings of Berlin, arrest & interrogation by the KGB & their tortures, death labor gang duty under the Russians, death train escape, escape over the “wall” to West Germany, and much much more.

http://stumpjack.blogspot.com/2007/04/life-on-both-sides-of-wall.html does a better write up than I can, and has pictures of Gunther at a recent book signing.

Currently on in private printing, LaDeDa Books can arrange to ship you a copy.

The book is printed by Prompt Printing in Two Rivers, WI which is a story onto itself.

A eleven page extract of the draft of “Life on Both Sides of the Wall” was published in 2005 to introduce the project. In 2006 the production copy was ready and a private printing was arranged.

As the book is fully about overcoming challenges perhaps it isn’t such a surprise that a health crisis at Prompt Print had caused production to halt with the book somewhere between typesetting and binding. Though the crisis was eventually to pass, family & friends of Prompt Printing and of Gunther & Elaine came together to somehow produce enough copies for orders on hand.

Yet one more time Gunther had adversity put in the way of his life & projects, and again with his drive and help from friends it was overcome.

It should be mentioned that along the way Gunther added languages, qualifications and ever moved westward, including serving the USA as the White House Chef for President Johnson. The book as a project started when President Johnson told Gunther “Mr Skaletz, you must write a book.”

The book bring personal memories, as my military service was Cold War in defense of part of the Iron Curtain Gunther so bravely crossed. Unusual for the time I was allowed on several occasions to stand with the toes of my boots inches from the border between West & East – between the American Zone and the Russian Zone. The clearing full of mines, razor wire fencings with explosives, guard dogs and elevated observation/gun stations lay right in front, with small crosses on the western side remembering those who tried to cross and failed.

Tales often intertwine, as part of my family (also ethnic Germans) lived near where Gunther was born, though they had left for America 80 years earlier.

Back to the book, while highly personal and stylistically “a diamond in the rough” Gunther’s life tale directly touches the soul and inspires.

Very Highly Recommended.

Steve