As a conscript from Alsace, Dominik Richert realised from the outset of the First World War that his family was likely to be at or near the front line. He was a reluctant soldier who was willing to stand up to authority - and to avoid risks - in order to survive. His honest account of his part in the conflict, which saw him serving on both the Western and Eastern Front over the duration of the War, gives a lively picture of major events. He took part in fighting French and Indian troops in 1914, in the battle on Mount Zwinin in the Carpartians in 1915 and in the subsequent invasion of the western parts of the Ukraine and Poland. Later he was involved in the capture of Riga in 1917, before returning to the Western Front in 1918, where he witnessed German tanks in action at the Battle of Villers-Brettoneux.As he could see no point in the war he subsequently crossed no-man's-land and surrendered to the French, becoming a 'deserteur Alsacienne'. The book ends with Richert's return home early in 1919.A fascinating aspect of the book is the character author himself.
He is increasingly willing to act independently as the narrative progresses, and he refuses to accept the propaganda which he encounters. He fights to survive, but feels little respect for his own army or the society which sent him to war.
Dominik Richert was born in Alsace close to the Swiss Border. He was called up to the German Army in 1913 and fought throughout the War. He died in 1977. The Translator. David Carrick Sutherland is a highly qualified scientist who is fluent in German having worked in Germany and Switzerland. He now lives at Oxted, Surrey.