We Germans

Alexander Starritt. Little, Brown, $27 (208p) ISBN 978-0-316-42980-1
Scottish-German writer Starritt (The Beast) unearths the horrors of the eastern front in WWII Poland through a letter written by a veteran of the German army to his grandson in this thoughtful, unsettling chronicle. Meissner begins the long letter by addressing a question he presumes his grandson was afraid to ask him: “Did you do terrible things?” “It’s hard to say,” Meissner writes, “but certainly not in the way you presume.” Meissner recounts his memories of the fall of 1944 near the German border, when he and four fellow soldiers search for a rumored stockpile of food delicacies. They come across a hunting lodge that’s being guarded by Feldgendarmen, German military police. Upon killing some of the Feldgendarmen and pilfering the Wehrmacht’s store of food and alcohol, the five soldiers flee, fearing pursuit by the remaining Feldgendarmen. As they wander through the woods and ponder their next moves, they come upon a Russian tank brigade and capture one of them before attacking the other Russian tanks. The aftermath of the skirmish is most memorable to Meissner as he recalls the bravery of one of his fellow soldiers, who helped carry him to safety from the Russians. Starritt’s gritty depictions of the horrors of war and the moral choices faced by soldiers add intensity to the ruminations on courage. This is a fascinatingly enigmatic addition to the literature of Germany’s coming to terms with the past. Agent: Rebecca Folland, Hodder & Stoughton. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 08/04/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-0717-7
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