Great War (1914-1918): The Society and Culture of the First World War discussion

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Book Club/Online Discussion > From the German perspective

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'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 106 comments Hi Steve, there are a range of very good books covering the German Army on the Western Front that may interest you by Jack Sheldon:

The German Army on the Somme, 1914-1916 by Jack Sheldon

The German Army on Vimy Ridge 1914-1917 by Jack Sheldon

The German Army at Ypres 1914  And the Battle for Flanders by Jack Sheldon

The German Army At Cambrai by Jack Sheldon

The German Army at Passchendaele by Jack Sheldon


There is also these titles:


Through German Eyes  The British & The Somme 1916 by Christopher Duffy

Scorched Earth  The Germans on the Somme 1914-1918 by Gerhard Hirschfeld

The Other Side Of The Wire Volume 1  With The German Xiv Reserve Corps On The Somme, September 1914 June 1916 (Blue Jacket Bks) with volume two due out soon as well.


Mark Mortensen | 23 comments Thanks Aussie Rick! I know several American diaries mentioned that a number of captured Germans had once lived in America or had a connection to the states and were able to instantly strike up a conversation in English and forget the war. With the connections the hate and anger barriers would slowly begin to brake down. I look forward to reading one or more of these books. :-)


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 106 comments Another book, written by a German officer covering the early phases of the Great War is this title:

The Advance from Mons 1914  The Experiences of a German Infantry Officer by Walter Bloem


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 106 comments Mark wrote: "Thanks Aussie Rick! I know several American diaries mentioned that a number of captured Germans had once lived in America or had a connection to the states and were able to instantly strike up a co..."

Hi Mark, I've only read the one covering the Germans on the Somme but it was interesting and full of first-hand accounts from German soldiers. I think you may find Jack Sheldon's books quite fascinating, the view from the other side!


message 6: by Steelwhisper (last edited May 25, 2012 08:40PM) (new)

Steelwhisper | 73 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Mark wrote: "Thanks Aussie Rick! I know several American diaries mentioned that a number of captured Germans had once lived in America or had a connection to the states and were able to instantly s..."

While Sheldon is a British expert who has lived in a certain area of Germany and studied at a military academy there for a time, I would not say that this really makes him an expert on "the view from the other side". He is a British citizen who has looked at the topic from his own point of view. For the real view "from the other side" I'd predominantly look to German authors and historians, especially of the time period.


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 106 comments Fair call Steelwhisper, what I should have said is that he has used first-hand accounts from German soldiers heavily in his books to try and present a view from the other side.


Steelwhisper | 73 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Fair call Steelwhisper, what I should have said is that he has used first-hand accounts from German soldiers heavily in his books to try and present a view from the other side."

Yes, aware of this :) It's just that it is a longstanding peeve of mine when--regardless of topic by the way--perspectives from a side are demanded, and the recommendation is from "the same side." Having family who married "across the border" provides startling insights in that department. :-)

The differences between a British-born, raised and educated man and the German mindset and background will be perforce quite enormous. The public school and class experiences are already so vastly different, that I find it doubtful he can do more than analyse second-hand emotions and insights and the straight facts. I'd haven't said anything if he had been raised in Germany of the time.

I guess the main problem will be to find books which have been translated.


message 9: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited May 25, 2012 09:23PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 106 comments One of my grandmothers was Prussian and her husband Scottish and they had an interesting relationship :)

Have you had a look at this book then:


The Advance from Mons 1914  The Experiences of a German Infantry Officer by Walter Bloem
Description:
Volume 2 in the Helion Library of the Great War is an outstanding personal memoir penned by a German infantry officer recalling his experiences during the initial days and weeks of the war in the West, July-September 1914. Walter Bloem was a Captain in the German 12th Grenadier Regiment (Royal Prussian Grenadier Regiment Prinz Carl von Preussen, 2nd Brandenburg, Nr 12 - to give his unit its full title). His narrative gives a superb insight into the outbreak of war and his regiment's mobilisation, followed by the advance through Belgium and France, including the author's participation at the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Marne and the Aisne. His account of what it was like to face Britain's 'Old Contemptibles' at Mons is particularly valuable. Before the war, the author was a novelist, and The Advance from Mons clearly shows this - it is written with a great eye for detail, careful yet vivid descriptions abound and importantly, from a historical perspective, the book was penned whilst Herr Bloem convalesced from a wound he received at the battle of the Aisne.


Steelwhisper | 73 comments Heh! I believe that immediately!

Not yet, because my main interests in research currently are

Trench Life (of the British)
Medical Personnel (army doctors, nurses and VAD nurses)
Military Law/Court Martials/Executions
Gas Warfare

on the Western front mainly.


message 11: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited May 25, 2012 09:35PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 106 comments I have picked up a number of books on nurses on the Western Front after reading an Australian book titled The Other ANZACs.

The Other Anzacs by Peter Rees

I am yet to read The Roses of No-Man's Land by Lyn Macdonald (she is one of my favourite authors covering the Great War) and Elsie and Mairi Go to War.

The Roses of No Man's Land. by Lyn MacDonald by Lyn Macdonald

Elsie and Mairi Go to War  Two Extraordinary Women on the Western Front by Diane Atkinson


Steelwhisper | 73 comments Thanks, GREAT suggestions! I added several books to my ever growing pile.


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 106 comments Steelwhisper wrote: "Thanks, GREAT suggestions! I added several books to my ever growing pile."

Aaah, we share the same problem eh!


Steelwhisper | 73 comments Absolutely ;-) As we speak I can look at a veritable tower of books stacked to my left which cover only the most necessary in knowledge. Well, at least I know I will be spending the summer reading!


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 106 comments Well I can't think of any better way to spend time than reading a good book :)


'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) | 106 comments My pleasure Steve, I hope you find a book that covers what you need.


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