The incredible true account of General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck and his exploits in World War I Africa with the legendary "Schutztruppe".
As World War I ravaged the European continent, a completely different theater of war was being contested in Africa. And from this very different kind of war, there emerged a very different kind of military leader....
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the continent of Africa was a hotbed of international trade, colonialism, and political gamesmanship. So when World War I broke out, the European powers were forced to contend with each other not just in the bloody trenches - but in the treacherous jungle. And it was in that unforgiving land that General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck would make history.
With the now legendary "Schutztruppe" (Defensive Force), von Lettow-Vorbeck and a small cadre of hardened German officers fought alongside their fanatically devoted native African allies as equals, creating the first truly integrated army of the modern age.
African Kaiser is the almost-forgotten true account of Wiemar Germany's military escapades on the dark continent. A story of 1,000-mile marches through the harshest landscapes; of German officers riding bicycles into battle through the bush; of battleships hidden in jungle rivers teeming with crocodiles; of improbable Zeppelin voyages; of desperate men living off hippo lard and facing dangers in both man and nature. But mostly it is the story of von Lettow-Vorbeck - the only undefeated German commmander in the field during World War I, and the last to surrender his arms in final defeat.
©2017 Robert Gaudi (P)2017 Audible, Inc.
General - 'African Kaiser' provided copious amounts of information on a part of World War One I knew little about and a person I knew nothing about. It has a wealth of interesting information about the colonial conflict in Africa and it was told in a very engaging style.
Content – Robert Gaudi set good background information; first about the history of airships used in the war, then about the conditions the troops faced, in particular the entomology in the area, then about the colonial subjugation of Africa, and finally, about the early life of Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. All of this was done without getting too deep into the weeds like some authors tend to do with books like this. The book evoked some emotions, primarily that ‘creepy-crawly’ feeling down the back when the narrator described some of the bugs, diseases and depravations the troops on both sides suffered during their time in the bush. For the most part this book held my interest to a point where I didn’t want to stop listening. Overall, the book read like a very good novel; being part romance, part war, and part spy-thriller. I don’t mean to make light of this horrific time in human history by saying that, I’m simply trying express the ‘feel’ the book had for me. I made five bookmarks with notes for future reference that, for me, is always a barometer of a really good book.
Length – This book did not seem like it was 18-plus hours in length. I believe the length was perfect for the subject matter. I finished the book in 12-days, which may seem a long time, but aside from having to work fulltime I was also listening to six books simultaneously. Of those books, this was my go-to every day until I finished it. If an abridged version is ever produced I’d recommend avoiding it unless you’re a person who only wants CliffsNotes; which begs the question, why you’re an Audible member in the first place? In that event, or, if you don’t want to commit the 18-hours, I suggest using Wikipedia; you’ll learn everything the book provides in a quick and efficient, albeit, completely banal manner.
Narration – Outstanding! Paul Hogston has one of those classic British voices and he can deliver an impeccable German accent, albeit slightly overplayed to the point of being humorous at times. His cadence and pronunciation were perfect throughout. I believe his narration added to the overall experience and enjoyment of this book.
Summation - If you enjoy historical books, general knowledge, useful details, and precise background information this book should be in your library. I wouldn't say this is a "Great" book, but it is certainly a very, very, good book and I will most assuredly be listening to it again.
Fast moving and intriguing. The author has a talent for taking a complex topic and making it enjoyable and interesting. The only disturbing part of the book was when the author stated that modern Germany has removed von Lettow's monuments because he was allegedly a "racist". However, von Lettow had an enlightened view of race relations, particularly for his time. Apparently, Germany learned nothing from World War II and is engaging in fascism in the name of political correctness.
One of the most fascinating stories of World War One, the adventures of Paul Von Lettow-Vorbeck as laid out on this book bring a smile to the face and even a tear or two to the eye. He was a skilled warrior, and deserves much more recognition from the world than he currently gets. If you love a good story, a complex campaign diary, or an emotional tale of an officers devotion to his men, this book is the one for you.
Careful and voracious consumer of great books! Living constantly for that book that leaves me silent and contemplative, at the finish.
I enjoyed this book, and its description of the land campaign in Africa, during WW1. Vin Lettow-Vorbeck was an amazing leader, and his battles against the British are interesting to hear and had a big impact on the war.
What I did nit enjoy was the description of the various warships and sea battles which are all incorrect (light cruisers described as "battleships" armored and light cruisers described as "battle cruisers" and the like...) and the Battles of the Falkland Islands in which the British force was described as "8 battle cruisers" although the force included only 2 ships if that type. The naval descriptions are so incorrect that they cast doubt in the accuracy of the rest of the book. I only hope the author's expertise is in land warfare, giving that part of the book a better chance of being accurate.
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