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Author: Rudi Stiebritz
Number of Pages: 241
An idealistic young engineering graduate, torn from his dream career before it could begin to join the German army, finds himself assigned to the Russian front where he becomes aware of a strange affinity with the enemy. Having been recruited at the wrong end of the war, our antihero experiences mainly wounds and the humility of defeat but these become merely cruel rites of passage to manhood and wisdom. Youthful exuberance and a serendipitous turn of events result in his being taken prisoner of war after the Armistice, and he then spends a longer period in Siberian POW camps than he did as a soldier in combat. He quickly learns the Russian language and his captors put his engineering skills to good use by appointing him site manager on several major building projects. This is a war story with an antiwar message, Stiebritz/McKee tell it frankly and leaven it with flashes of wry humour, warmth and humanity to engage readers and transport them through the whole gamut of the war experience: boredom, terror, indignity, mateship, grief, physical suffering, horror, black humour, periods of snatched love and subsequent separations, and the effects on family left behind.