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Meeting the Enemy: The Human Face of the Great War

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  90 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A British soldier walked over to the German front line to deliver newspapers; British women married to Germans became "enemy aliens" in their own country; a high-ranking British POW discussed his own troops' heroism with the Kaiser on the battlefield. Just three amazing stories of contact between the opposing sides in the Great War that eminent historian Richard van Emden ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published 2014 by Bloomsbury USA (first published August 15th 2013)
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Bou
When in 1914 hostilities broke out between Britain and Germany, this not only impacted the lives of thousands of soldiers, but also the lives of a lot of civilians, particularly those married to the enemy, or living abroad in the enemy’s home country. In this book, Richard van Emden investigates the impact of the Great War on the lives of these people.

The first Briton to die in the Great War was not a soldier, but a civilian: Henry Hadley, a fifty-one-year-old language teacher who was fatally
...more
KOMET
"MEETING THE ENEMY: The Human Face of the Great War" provides the reader with different perspectives of how the war --- on a uniquely human level --- impacted upon civilians and combatants alike in Britain and Germany between 1914 and 1918.

When Germany mobilized for war on August 1, 1914 (having already declared war on Russia; she would declare war on France 2 days later), many British residents and tourists in Germany began to sense that Britain many soon enter the conflict against Germany.
...more
Willem van den Oever
The events of the First World War bring forth the tragic images and ideas of ruined fields, endless trenches and numerous casualties. These were five truly miserable years with only unimaginable grief and loss as a result. During those years, English and German soldiers stood their ground, with only No Man’s Land in between them. But occasionally this frightening wasteland was crossed and soldiers of both nations came face to face, and not only to fight.
The famous 1914 Christmas Truce – where
...more
Leif Bodnarchuk
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww1, 2014-complete
Richard van Emden knows his stuff and writes in a way that makes you want to keep reading. The colossal research undertaken for this book comes out in friendly prose, miles away from stuffy academic writing. This really is one of those books that anyone interested in WW1 can read.

There are of course battlefield stories, but much of the book also deals with civilian aspects of the war, how the politics of the day affected normal Germans living in Britain and vice versa.

The book requires little or
...more
Liz C.
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another solid book by Richard van Emden delving deeper into the Great War. One part of this book that I especially appreciated was how it wasn't just concentrated on the battlefield but on the wider story of the war, experienced as both combatants and non-combatants.
Bettie
Mar 11, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
description: A British soldier walked over to the German front line to deliver newspapers; British women married to Germans became ΓÇenemy aliensΓÇ in their own country; a high-ranking British POW discussed his own troopsΓÇÖ heroism with the kaiser on the battlefield. These are just three amazing stories of interaction between the opposing sides in the Great War that eminent historian Richard van Emden has unearthedΓÇöincidents that show brutality, great humanity, and, above all, the bizarre ...more
Nicki
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like this historian because he gives a wider of picture from an English and German point of view. I liked learning about how there were good relations between Germany and England before the war and that the Kaiser was shocked to learn about the English betrayal. I was shocked to read about the mistreatment of English women who had been married to German men and how they were no longer recognised as English citizens even though they had still lived in England all their lives. They lived on ...more
David
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A very interesting book that talks about relations between Britain and Germany during the First World War.

Beginning with a discussion of how "enemy aliens" (Germans in Britain and Brits in Germany) were handled, then to the Christmas Day truce in 1914, the lesser one in 1915, POWs, and so much more.

It really shows a spotlight on how horrific the war was, but yet also how sometimes the soldiers on the front line didn't buy into it all. It was cool reading how sometimes troops would shout at each
...more
Les
Nov 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating exploration of diplomatic and other contact between the British and Germans during the First World War both at government level and on the battlefield. The book relates how the two governments transacted business, largely through third-parties, though that contact unsurprisingly grew more frosty the longer the war lasted. But it is the contact between the troops themselves, and their families, that provided most of the interest for me; proving that goodwill and humanity can survive ...more
Stephen Palmer
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Terrific book about human interaction leading up to and during World War 1. Although I read this for research, it turned out to be by far the best book of all the WW1 books I recently read - full of facts, many incredible, very well written, never dull, and focussing on how individuals, men and women, managed during the conflict. Would be difficult to find a better work, I think.
Michael Davies
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at the interaction between Britains and Germans in WW1, from the well known Christmas truces, to less well known jointly engineered quiet areas and the treatment of POWs and of civilians caught in the wrong country in 1914, or immigrants torn between the two. Well researched and written it's an interesting change from the usual diet of political wrangling and bloody battles.
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Apr 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Meeting the Enemy, published in 2013, is a summary of the various circumstances in which relationships with the enemy were undertaken in the First World War, other than the face-to-face meeting on the field of battle. This includes internment of enemy aliens, POWs, fraternisation (including the Christmas truce of 1914 and 1915), the taking of prisoners and war crimes trials amongst others. Each section is supported by an immense selection of anecdotes in support of these events. The treatment of ...more
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Richard van Emden is a British author and television documentary producer who specializes in the First World War.