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1914 – Titles Remembering The Great War

2014 has seen a plethora of books marking the hundredth anniversary of the start of the First World War. NBG’s selection of striking titles shows the war from a range of perspectives and in a variety of forms – from children to artists and philosophers, and from illustrated books for young people, to short stories and biographies. By Jamie Craig.
1914 – Ein Maler zieht in den Krieg
(1914 – A Painter Goes to War)
Reinhard Osteroth
In 1913, Franz Marc painted Tierschicksale (Fate of the Animals) – an inferno of lines and lights, wolves and horses, and drops of blood. Two years later he described it as ‘like a premonition, eerie and moving.’ Having studied the letters of the painter, author Reinhard Osteroth weaves the story of the erstwhile idealistic and hopeful Marc into the trauma of the first year of war with unique interpretations by prizewinning illustrator Reinhard Kleist.

In den frühen Tod: Das kurze Leben des Kriegsfreiwilligen Otto Braun (1897–1918)
(An Early Death – The Brief Life of War Volunteer Otto Braun)
René Gass, Chronos
The short life of Otto typifies the fate of many young men of his generation, whose hopes were crushed by the First World War. His much-read diary and letters were published a year after his death in 1919, and influenced contemporaries such as André Gide, Thomas Mann and Rainer Maria Rilke. This thrilling biography tells his story.

Kleine Hände im Großen Krieg: Kinderschicksale im Ersten Weltkrieg
(Little Hands in the Great War: The Fate of Children in the First World War)
Sonya Winterberg and Yury Winterberg
Using diary entries and previously unearthed archival material, Sonya and Yury Winterberg’s study presents the fate of children from Germany, Austria, France, England, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia and the USA during the First World War. Their stories are unfurled to the public for the first time, and bring the history of The Great War to life in a new and moving way. The result is a historically balanced yet fascinating insight into the war from the perspective of its youngest victims.

1914 – Zeitenwende: Künstler, Dichter und Denker im Ersten Weltkrieg
(1914 – Turn Of An Era: Artists, Writers and Thinkers in World War I)
Steffen Bruendel
Many German-speaking artists, literary figures, philosophers, historians and theologians warmly greeted the outbreak of war in 1914. But during the course of fighting, criticism grew louder. With the help of original texts, the historian Steffen Bruendel shows how developments that continue to have an effect today emerged in the artistic, social and political circles of the time. The result is a fascinating look at the World War I era as a period of shifting ideas – and an extraordinary reading experience.

Mich Hungert
(I’m Starving)
Georg Fink
Aufbau (Metrolit)
Originally published in 1929, Mich Hungert was the literary event of the year selling 40,000 copies in a short period of time. Banned and burned by the Nazis, Fink’s non-fiction novel tells the story of war, post-war and inflation, of hunger and suffering, and of the search for love and moral integrity in a period of great grief in Germany. Now re-released over 80 years on, as many people as possible should get their hands on this book!

No Man’s Land: Writings from a World at War
Selected and Introduced by Pete Ayrton
Serpent’s Tail
The Great War laid fertile ground for some of the twentieth-century’s most celebrated writing. However, prose fiction provided some of the most profound insights into the war’s tragedies. No Man’s Land is a truly international anthology of First World War fiction. Works by Sassoon, and Remarque sit alongside forgotten masterpieces such as Myrivilis’ ‘Life in the Tomb’ and Borden’s ‘The Forbidden Zone’.