17 February 2012

20. Four Weeks in the Trenches

Four Weeks in the Trenches: The War Story of a Violinist - Fritz Kreisler

This was an outstanding and quick read. It was only fifty pages, but it was fantastic.

The story is an autobiographical account of Mr. Kreisler's experience as a member of the Imperial Austrian Army fighting against the Russians on the eastern front in 1914.

The book sticks to the first hand experiences of the author. It does not elaborate on political themes. I really enjoyed that. Nothing but the guts of the front line and a recollection of this one man's experience.

One of the insights that I found interesting was this: Mr. Kreisler says that as time passed in the trenches and you could see the enemy faces through field glasses (binoculars) that the hatred faded. When it is one army fighting against another it is done with hatred in the heart. As time went on and he "got to know" the other side, the hatred diminished and it became more like a sporting event that both sides wanted to win. He even went as far as to say that when a member of the other side was taken down that he felt a sadness for the loss experienced by the other side. That was a very interesting perspective.

I loved this little read.

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