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|Print List Price:||£9.99|
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Prisoners of the Kaiser (The Last Pows of the Great War) Kindle Edition
|Length: 224 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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He had two basic choices, either to split the book up by individuals or by "aspects of the POW experience", as he says in his Introduction e.g. the moment of capture, being processed, etc. He chose the latter, not unreasonably, but I'm not entirely convinced it was the better way to organise the book. For whatever reasons (and only he can know), he quotes the veterans somewhat unevenly, in terms of quantity. Bill Easton & Ernie Stevens seem to feature more than others. It's easy to think of reasons why that might be so. However, by the time you're halfway through the book, you may well find yourself struggling to remember who Fred Bloggs was, what was his regiment (or even service arm), where he was captured, when & how, and so on.
Personally, I found it a bit difficult to keep a sense of who most of the men were as men. I got the feeling that that was what van Emden was trying for. Not just eye-witness testimony; he had interviewed these men personally, spent time with them. Presumably, in producing this book as a tribute to them, he wanted to introduce them to you as individuals. Most of them, as with any other eyewitness book, become simply names on the page.
There are also some oddities & minor production issues with this edition. For the latter, the most noticeable is the random hyphenation of words. I can only assume that it was originally published in a different physical size, and the publisher was too lazy (or cheap) to re-check the type-setting. For the former, van Emden gives a detailed description of a photo including Bill Easton, it isn't included in the (more than adequate) photo's that are included. It does seem to be included in another of his books (it matches the description, at least), Meeting The Enemy. A strange & slightly irritating omission.
Therefore, whilst this is a fine tribute to these men, to their experiences, their perseverance, and their longevity, it doesn't, for me, quite hit the mark that the author aimed for. This is a book well worth reading. But if you've not a lot of WWI eye-witness on your shelves, I'd suggest putting this on your wishlist for now, and something else from the the same author in your basket.
Those that weren't officers had a far more bleak and dangerous existence working in mines and factories, subsisting on minimal and very poor quality food. Van Emden reckons that possibly 10% of WW1 British POWs died in these camps
I am researching someone who was taken prisoner but didn't really know much about WW1 POW's and how they were treated. I had an image in my mind of the great escape - everyone sitting around in their huts or digging their gardens. This book certainly put me straight on that one.
It's based on interviews with people who were POW's and is very readable, in fact I finished it in two days!
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the life of a World War One prisoner.
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Recommended for anyone interested in ww1 factual history