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Publisher's Summary

Manfred von Richthofen (1892 - 1918), also widely known as the Legendary Red Baron, was a German fighter pilot with the Imperial German Army Air Service during World War I. He is considered the ace of aces of that war, being officially credited with 80 air combat victories, more than any other pilot. The Red Baron only wrote one book, his "autobiography", Der Rote Kampfflieger. This was written on the instructions of the German Army Press and Intelligence (i.e. propaganda) section of the German Army Air Service. This book was written just before he was killed, and it details his meteoric rise from a cavalryman to one of the most well-known fighter pilots of all time.

Public Domain (P)2016 Leon Cutajar

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  • Jim
  • Holland, TX, United States
  • 12-01-17

Ice Water in the Veins

The written narrative by Richthofen is choppy and in some places disconnected--but what do you expect? He wasn't a writer and his superiors ordered him to put something down for use as propaganda. He chose to write about some personal memories of the war up to that time. It is odd to hear them in his own words. What strikes a reader/listener today is how matter-of-fact Richthofen was about death and dying. He was all fatalism devoid of emotion. One wonders how much was training and war experiences as opposed to personal attributes? The human-ness of who he was killing doesn't seem to have bothered him, nor are deaths of his own comrades related with any emotion. The autobiography by the great French ace, Rene Fonck, has some of these qualities, although Fonck was a vengeance killer while Richthofen was not. Shortly after publishing his book Richthofen was wounded in the head and survived. Worth listening to if you know who the Red Baron was.