The Boy Who Went to War: The Story of a Reluctant German Soldier in WWII

Giles Milton. St. Martin's/Dunne, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-59079-6
British journalist Milton's biography about his father-in-law Wolfram Aïchele serves dual purposes: to give his daughters a better understanding of their German grandfather; and to share Aïchele's unique experiences with Hitler's army during World War II. In countless interviews, Aïchele, born in 1924, recalls his childhood, when his "most impressionable years [were] spent in the shadow of the Third Reich, with its marching, drilling, and obligatory attendance at gatherings of the Hitler Youth." When Aïchele turned 18, he was drafted. Milton (The Riddle and the Knight) cites the tremendous impact the Nazis had on ordinary Germans: "Wolfram's parents became aware that Hitler had introduced an element of fear into every aspect of daily life within weeks of his becoming chancellor." He also notes his father-in-law's unusual situation. Not until the end of combat, for example, did Aïchele learn of the mass murder of Jews, partisans, and Soviet prisoners of war. With this book, Milton provides an unusual perspective on an undeniably tragic period in history. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/10/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4299-9058-5
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