No Hero for the Kaiser (English and German Edition)

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9780688060930: No Hero for the Kaiser (English and German Edition)
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A young boy becomes caught up in the turmoil and horrors of World War I

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Language Notes:

Text: English, German (translation)

From School Library Journal:

Grade 6-9 Fourteen-year-old Jan Kubitsky, the only survivor after the Russian and German troops raze his small Polish town in September 1914, is adopted as a mascot by the German unit. Although his own father is fighting for the Russians, Jan soon feels loyalty and affection for his German friends, and again and again he manages to save them so that they begin to see him as an almost superhuman, saint-like figure. Jan is witness to all of the horrors of war as he travels with the battery to both fronts. When the men conceive a plan to reward Jan by making him a German citizen, the idea is eagerly seized upon as good publicity by the high command. Jan, however, does not wish to be a symbol for the German army, and he quietly disappears. Frank's novel, originally published in 1931, banned by the Nazis and reissued in Germany in 1979, is an antiwar novel. Unfortunately it is so pointedly a didactic work that the story is subordinate to the message. Almost every chapter is introduced by a two-to-three page essay on the absurdity, inhumanity, or futility of war. Jan becomes less a character than a symbol as the story progresses. However Frank is eloquent and acerbic in his condemnation of war, and he has created some memorable characters and scenes (aided by a superb translation). However, there is no dearth of antiwar novels. Older readers would probably find Joseph Heller's Catch Twenty-Two (S. & S., 1961) more relevant, while for a broad range of younger readers, William O. Steele's The War Party (HBJ, 1978) succinctly delivers the antiwar message. Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, N.J.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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