Title: Meeting the Enemy
Author: Richard van Emden
Twitter: Richard van Emden
Webpage: Richard van Emden
Narrator: Derek Perkins
Webpage: Derek Perkins
Listening Length: 12h:51m
Synopsis: Amazing stories of contact between the opposing sides in the Great War that have been unearthed by historian Richard van Emden - incidents that show brutality, great humanity and above all the bizarre nature of a conflict between two nations with long-standing ties of kinship and friendship. Meeting the Enemy reveals for the first time how contact was maintained on many levels throughout the War, and its stories, sometimes funny, often moving, give us a new perspective on the lives of ordinary men and women caught up in extraordinary events.
A very well researched history of the interactions between the allies and the German forces during WWI. It is divided into two themes, those on the battle front and those on the home front, dealing especially with the internment of Germans living in Britain. The stories of some individuals are stranger than fiction and the subtle change from chivalric behaviour to, as the war progressed, a more vindictive approach to dealing with prisoners and members of the enemy is well described. What I found of particular interest was the absolute anger and sense of treachery that the Germans felt towards Britain for entering the war – the Germans (at all levels of their society) seemed to genuinely believe that Britain would sympathise with their position. The limited theme of the book did mean it was quite repetitive in places and also much of the points of view come from the British standpoint, a wider drawing from the German perspective would have added depth to the history described.
What others thought at the time of writing
Amazon.co.uk; 54 reviews, of which 100% were 3* or more, giving an average of 4.6*
Amazon.com; 4 reviews, of which 100% were 3* or more, giving an average of 4.0*
Goodreads.com; 82 ratings (12 reviews), with 98% of 3* or more, giving an average of 4.1*
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