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Sven Hassel Books In Order

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Publication Order of Legion of the Damned Books

Legion of the Damned (1953)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wheels of Terror (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
Comrades of War (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
March Battalion (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
Assignment Gestapo (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
Monte Cassino / The Beast Regiment (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
Liquidate Paris (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
SS General (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
Gestapo (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Reign of Hell (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blitzfreeze (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Bloody Road to Death (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Court Martial (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
O.G.P.U. Prison (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Commissar (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Legion of the Damned Graphic Novels

Legion of the Damned: A Comic Book Adaptation (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Sven Hassel was a pen name that Borge Willy Pedersen used to write novels set in the Second World War. By the time the Dane died in 2012 at the age of 95, he was one of the most popular and most prolific authors to come out of Denmark.

+Biography
Sven Hassel was born in 1917 in Nyhuse, Frederiksborg County in Denmark. His working-class family consisted of seven children of which Sven was the first.

The family’s less than appealing financial situation drove Sven to join a Merchant Navy when he was only 14. By the time he was 19, the author had completed the Military Service the Danish government compelled its citizens to do.

Even though the accomplishment should have improved his future prospects, the economic crisis of the times and the dire unemployment situation in Denmark drove Sven to flee to Germany soon after.

But things in Germany were no better. And having already dipped his toes into military service and found that he was more than a little talented at the work of soldiering, Sven Hassel thought it rational to join the German army.

That was in 1938. A significant number of the novels the author eventually wrote were inspired by the events that followed, chief among them being Sven Hassel’s attempt to desert the army, an act that got him assigned to the Penal Battalion of the 27th.

The assignment was a special one because it introduced Sven to a colorful group of individuals, people that molded his life, supported him and ultimately made him the successful author he eventually became.

And even though he started as a volunteer, Sven eventually rose through the ranks, becoming lieutenant and earning a litany of accolades chief amongst which was the Iron Cross.

Of course, things in the army were not always rosy. The fact that the author fought on the German side in the World War meant that he had to serve some time in prison camps once the conflict came to an end in 1945.

His eventual release and return to Denmark did nothing to improve his life. Not only was his German citizenship revoked but the Danes charged him with treason and threw him back in prison, determined to incarcerate him for an additional decade.

Sven wasn’t sure what would have happened if a 1949 agreement hadn’t granted amnesty to political prisoners like him.

It should be noted that the author’s initial stint as a prisoner of war saw him spend time in French, Russian, and American prison camps. It was during his time in one of those countries that the author began work on ‘The Legion of the Damned’, his first novel.

Not only was the novel rejected on multiple occasions but its publication in 1953 was initially met with failure; though, ‘The Legion of the Damned’ went on to achieve immense financial success in the decades that followed.

But it was probably because of that initial resistance from the publishing industry that Sven Hassel decided to turn his attention back to soldiering. At that time, every Danish soldier who had fought in the World War was joining the French Foreign Legion.

And Sven would have followed suit if he hadn’t met his future wife, an encounter which convinced him that his future lay in writing, not fighting.

Sven was married in 1951, with the couple eventually giving birth to a son. Even after deciding to pursue publishing for a career, Sven saw fit to find employment at the Copenhagen Freeports.

Writing didn’t pay much at the time and the author needed a way to support his family. So he kept his day job. Life took a drastically negative turn when the author fell seriously sick in 1957.

His disease was a rare one that doctors were initially unable to diagnose. The condition got so bad at one point that it paralyzed Sven. It wasn’t until he went to Hamburg and was admitted at the Bernhard Nocht Institute that his illness was identified and treated.

It took the author a year to recover. During that time, Sven Hassel’s wife pushed him to write, which he did, producing ‘Wheels of Terror’, his second novel. This time, the publishing arena was much more open to the author’s work.

Not only did the Danish market embrace his works but international publishing opportunities also arose, transforming Sven Hassel into an international bestseller in the years that followed.

Sven wrote over a dozen novels during his career most of which drew upon his personal experiences during the War. Despite his role in WWII, Sven’s works would sometimes push anti-war messages.

He endeavored to present soldiers as little more than tools, ordinary men that greater powers used to resolve petty arguments in the most brutal manner.

Sven Hassel was living in Barcelona, Spain when he passed away. His death was natural and peaceful. He was fortunate enough to see ‘Wheels of Terror’ receive a film adaptation in 1987.

+Legion of the Damned
Sven Hassel tried to desert the German Army. When they caught him, he was sent to a penal regiment on the Russian Front. The experience was a harrowing one. Sven and his new friends were expendable pawns deployed as sacrifices to keep the Red Army occupied.

They were outmanned and outgunned but they still had to fight, to succeed against all odds as they made their way through the frozen steppe.

This book chronicles Sven Hassel’s grueling efforts to overcome the atrocities of war.

+Wheel of Terror
The soldiers of the 27th Penal Regiment experienced the horrors of war together. And those horrors forged an unbreakable bond between them even as their combat skills were tested and sharpened.

They survived, but the horror had only just begun. The powers that be have seen fit to throw the 27th Penal Regiment back into the infernal. They must face the Russian Front at a time where the life expectancy of the average soldier rarely extends beyond a few weeks.

But Sven isn’t ready to surrender his life. He will fight to his last breath, not for Germany and the Nazis but for his friends and for his belief that the slimmest hope of survival still exists.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Sven Hassel

2 Responses to “Sven Hassel”

  1. Piet Snot: 11 months ago

    As a young teenager in the 80s in the Netherlands i was fortunate to find his books translated in the library. Now many years later i still enjoy them every now and then both in English and Dutch, great reading.

    Reply
  2. HEMI GROVER: 2 years ago

    I am a New Zealand man aged 67, and I Love reading SVEN HASSEL books. They have a raw intensity in them. And, Great humor. “NGA MIHINUI MAHANA KI A KOUTOU MAA.=BIG WARM GREETINGS TO YOU ALL.”

    Reply

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