The Boy Who Went to War by Giles Milton
The Story of a Reluctant German Soldier in WWII

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Synopsis

A powerful and true story of warfare and human survival that exposes a side of World War II that is unknown by many— this is the story of Wolfram Aïchele, a boy whose childhood was stolen by a war in which he had no choice but to fight.

Giles Milton has been a writer and historian for many years, writing about people and places that history has forgotten. But it took his young daughter’s depiction of a swastika on an imaginary family shield - the swastika representing Germany - for Giles to uncover the incredible, dark story of his own family and his father-in-law’s life under Hitler’s regime.

As German citizens during World War II, Wolfram and his Bohemian, artist parents survived one of the most brutal eras of history. Wolfram, who was only nine years old when Hitler came to power, lived through the rise and fall of the Third Reich, from the earliest street marches to the final defeat of the Nazi regime. Conscripted into Hitler's army, he witnessed the brutality of war - first on the Russian front and then on the Normandy beaches.

Seen through German eyes and written with remarkable sensitivity, The Boy Who Went to War is a powerful story of warfare and human survival and a reminder to us all that civilians on both sides suffered the consequences of Hitler’s war.


 

About Giles Milton

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Giles Milton is the author of three books, including a history of the seventeenth-century spice wars in the Dutch East Indies, Nathaniel’s Nutmeg.
 
Published October 11, 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books. 353 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

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Already fascinated by medieval art, carvings and icons and excused from the obligatory Hitler Youth by a note from a friendly doctor, he spent his leisure wandering the countryside, inspecting old churches and farms, returning home to draw them.

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The Bookbag

It's more than sixty five years since the end of the war, but I think this is the first time that I've read about the life of normal German people.

Mar 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Boy Who Went to War: The ...

Scotsman.com

In the town itself, Wolfram witnessed a German guard smashing a Soviet PoW around the head with a spade – his first direct experience of the brutality taking place in the occupied lands.

Feb 25 2011 | Read Full Review of The Boy Who Went to War: The ...

Portland Book Review

Author Giles Milton brings out the shades of gray so often overlooked in Nazi Germany with The Boy Who Went to War.

Feb 20 2012 | Read Full Review of The Boy Who Went to War: The ...

BBC History Magazine

It would be easy to make the assumption that Giles Milton’s new book is little more than a vanity project.

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