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We Germans

Alexander Starritt

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

A striking and human novel about the Second World War told from the point of view of a German soldier on the Eastern front

'An impressively realistic novel of German soldiers on the Eastern Front' Antony Beevor

'Starritt's daring work challenges us to lay bare our histories, to seek answers from the past, and to be open to perspectives starkly different from our own' New York Times

When a young British man asks his German grandfather what it was like to fight on the wrong side of the war, the question is initially met with irritation and silence. But after the old man's death, a long letter to his grandson is found among his things.

That letter is this book. In it, he relates the experiences of an unlikely few days on the Eastern Front - at a moment when he knows not only that Germany is going to lose the war, but that it deserves to. He writes about his everyday experience amid horror, confusion and great bravery, and he asks himself what responsibility he bears for the circumstances he found himself in. As he tries to find an answer he can live with, we hear from his grandson what kind of man he became in the seventy years after the war.

We Germans is a fundamentally human novel that grapples with the most profound of questions about guilt, shame and responsibility - questions that remain as live today as they have always been.

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Praise for We Germans

  • An impressively realistic novel of German soldiers on the eastern front, raising the fundamental questions of individual and collective guilt - Antony Beevor

  • A remarkable and audacious novel that is harrowingly real and, at the same time, asks the most searching questions about men at war - William Boyd

  • This may be only his second novel, but Alexander Starritt is already showing striking signs of ambition ... a visceral examination of guilt, collective and individual, centred on a small group of bedraggled German soldiers on the eastern front . . . individual episodes are vividly done, and the book has a gritty realism. Its arguments about the equivocal nature of guilt on the battlefield can be arresting - The Times

  • Daringly, in what is only his second novel, Alexander Starritt climbs into the skin of one of the most appalling archetypes of the 20th century: a Nazi soldier as he marauds across eastern Europe during the second world war - Financial Times

  • A stirring work that reads like a developing photograph, the lines slowly clarifying, the light steadily emerging from the dark - TLS

  • [A] thoughtful, unsettling chronicle . . . a fascinatingly enigmatic addition to the literature of Germany's coming to terms with the past - Publishers Weekly

  • Starritt's prose is riveting. It unspools like a roll of film-raw, visceral, and propulsive, rich with sensory detail and unsparing in its depictions of cruelty . . . We Germans feels eerily timely . . . Starritt's daring work challenges us to lay bare our histories, to seek answers from the past, and to be open to perspectives starkly different from our own - New York Times

  • Tackles issues such as collective guilt and Germany's silent suffering after the war with sensitivity and nuance - Herald

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