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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique and fascinating story, 2 Oct 2007
By 
A Common Reader "Committed to reading" (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
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This is a remarkable story of a boy born in the 1930s to a Nora Briscoe, a woman who greatly admired Adolf Hitler and the Nazi cause. Paul Briscoe's mother struggled to be a writer and journalist and seemed extremely disinterested in her son, referring to him in her autobiography as "the child". She travelled in Germany with young Paul, leaving him with a German family in Miltenberg, and when war broke out, she was unable to reclaim him, the only answer to his situation being for the German family to adopt him as their own son.

Paul rapidly became thoroughly "Germanised", soon losing his memories of England and even the English language. He attended German schools, and was swept up in the nationalist mood to the extent that he joined the Hitler Youth, proudly wearing his uniform and joining in the militaristic parades and drills, along with the more "boy scout" aspects of the movement.

In the early years of the war, Paul's mother worked as a secretary in a government department and tried to sell secrets to the Germans. She failed to realise that her German contact was an MI5 agent provocateur, and ended up being imprisoned for treason, only avoiding a very long sentence because of her evident naivety. Paul meanwhile was so swept up in the Nazi movement that he actually participated in Miltenberg's own "Kristallnacht" when Jewish shops and synagogues were smashed.

When the war was over, Paul was forcibly repatriated to his mother in England, and we read of the difficulty of living in post-war Britain, particularly when German was your first language!

Paul Briscoe comes across as a genuinely good man, loyal to his mother despite the cavalier way she treated him throughout his life. She comes across as a fantasist, absorbed in herself and capable of recreating herself as the need arose. It is a relief to read that Paul was able to build a good life for himself in England despite his extremely bizarre childhood.

This is an excellent book, recounting as it does a unique story, but with the compassion and understanding years of reflection have brought to it. Apart from Paul's remarkable story and his unique perspective on the Nazi movement, anyone who wishes to understand more about the way "ordinary" German people thought during the war years will find this book a rich source of material.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 28 Mar 2008
By 
C. A. Hill (SWANLAND, East Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a book that would make a great movie. Paul Briscoe has captured the way life was in Germany between 1936 and the end of the war perfectly and I will not repeat the other reviews but part of the real interest is his involuntary return to a war torn London in 1945. At one point , living in one room in South Norwood with his mother and living in substandard accommodation with very little to eat he wonders who won the war as even his one pot dinners in Germany were better than post war meals in England.
There is honesty and some guilt here - the book was read in two evenings and ends as well as it starts with Pauls reintroduction to English life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A frank and compelling account, 16 July 2008
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This review is from: My Friend the Enemy: An English Boy in Nazi Germany (Paperback)
This is Paul Briscoe's story, an English boy abandoned by his mother and brought up in Nazi Germany during WWII. After an awkward start in a German state school he becomes indoctrinated into the fanatical and dubious Nazi Youth and plays a part in "Kristellnacht".

He becomes attached to his surrogate family and begins to enjoy life as a German. However, his life is due to change when his mother returns for him after the war. This is a very moving account - it becomes apparent that Paul's sadness can only be attributed to the selfishness of his mother. She treats her son like an object and always seems to misunderstand his feelings. It summises that his true sentiments lie with his surrogate family and his life is changed irrevocably on departure from his adopted homeland. A compelling read ...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Made Me Wish I Had Lived In Nazi Germany!, 10 Sep 2007
Moving, powerful, emotional and such an amazing story that took me right to Nazi Germany and the glorious town of Miltenberg. Paul is a fantastic writer and really transports the reader to his extraordinary life in Germany. I was actually feeling a strange warm desire to have been alive during WWII and on the German side rather than the British. Paul's life in Miltenberg with his adoptive family came across as so magical and almost like a boy fantasy of adventure and exploration.

This is one of those books that once you start reading is almost impossible to put down. I was completely lost and engrossed in the whole turmoil of war and boy angst. The fact that he was a British boy living in Germany and actually not being able to remember his mother's face or English really blew me away. Although, his mother was not my idea of a typical mother and it is obvious why he would have forgotten her. Paul's description of Herr Göpfert is great and I actually could hear and picture this terrible tyrannical pro-Nazi school teacher.

For anyone that is a fan of the true story genre this is a must read. It is such an amazing life and not one I have ever come across before. An English boy in Nazi Germany right through WWII and the way he came so close to danger is such powerful stuff.

Paul is such an emotional writer that at the very end of the book at the last line I too had a tear in my eye - powerful stuff indeed and I loved this book so much!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding story, 3 Aug 2010
This review is from: My Friend the Enemy: An English Boy in Nazi Germany (Paperback)
An English boy who forgets his native language and is anxious to become a "Pimpf" and join the Hitler Youth in one of the most romantic villages in Germany - Miltenberg on the Main. And who for the rest of his life feels ashamed for having taken part in looting the local synagogue. In his memoir, Paul Briscoe settles the score with a mother who loves the Führer more than her own son and leaves him with a German family in Nazi-Germany. At the end, he wants to die for the Führer like any other boy in his Hitler Youth "Fähnlein". Instead, he has to return to a mother and a country he barely remembers. A book that gives an insight into the seduction of a Nation and its children - from within this Nation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting read., 12 Oct 2013
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This review is from: My Friend the Enemy: An English Boy in Nazi Germany (Paperback)
I met Paul Briscoe on 2 or 3 occasions and he was a most interesting man who had lived a most unusual life having a Nazi sympathiser for a Mother. Although English, he spent the war in Germany and was a member of the Hitler Youth attending some of the rallies where Hitler was promoting his propaganda. A very interesting and enjoyable book made even more interesting by the fact I met him a year or two before he died.
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5.0 out of 5 stars friend and enemy, 28 April 2010
By 
G. I. Forbes (edinburgh) - See all my reviews
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This is the poignant story of a 6 year old British boy who was taken in 1936 by his Nazi sympathiser mother to Germany to be looked after by a kindly shopkeepers family.Unfortunately he was trapped in Germany by the outbreak of war and becoming increasingly German orientated and a member of the Hitler Youth,attacking a synagogue and determined to fight and die for the Furer.
In the meantime his mother wasimprisoned in the UK for spying.She was released in 1945 when her son returned to England unable to understand much English.
Eventually he was rehabilitated and became a much respected teacher.
A remarkable book and well worth reading.
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My Friend the Enemy: An English Boy in Nazi Germany
My Friend the Enemy: An English Boy in Nazi Germany by Michael McMahon (Paperback - 1 Mar 2009)
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