This is one of the most vivid accounts of destruction and hopelessness we have ever seen. It is a 17-year-old German conscript's experiences in the defense of Berlin during the spring of 1945 - the last desperate days of Berlin - annotated and illustrated to show his part in the overall picture.
Altner's account covers in detail recruit training on the front line after only ten days in barracks, the execution of deserters and action against the Red Army and turncoat German 'Seydlitz' Troops.
He tells of the retreat back to Berlin with full kit, escaping capture time after time and the annihilation of nearly all his company in just one action.
He gives detailed descriptions of house to house fighting in the Spandau sector of Berlin, the battle for the Olympic Stadium, the sacrifice of Hitler Youths, fighting in the city's subway tunnels and the disastrous attempt at a breakout to the west, culminating in his final capture.
This is an account of war at its most basic and brutal level, of the collapse of everything familiar and the hopelessness of imminent defeat.