The Boy Who Went to War
The Story of a Reluctant German Soldier in WWII
Author: Giles Milton
A powerful and true story of warfare and human survival that exposes a side of World War II that is unknown by many— this is the story of Wolfram Aïchele, a boy whose childhood was stolen by a war in which he had no choice but to fight.
Giles Milton has been a writer and historian for many years, writing about people and places that history has forgotten. But it took his young daughter's depiction of a swastika on an imaginary family shield - the swastika representing Germany - for Giles to uncover the incredible, dark story of his own family and his father-in-law's life under Hitler's regime.
As German citizens during World War II, Wolfram and his Bohemian, artist parents survived one of the most brutal eras of history. Wolfram, who was only nine years old when Hitler came to power, lived through the rise and fall of the Third Reich, from the earliest street marches to the final defeat of the Nazi regime. Conscripted into Hitler's army, he witnessed the brutality of war - first on the Russian front and then on the Normandy beaches.
Seen through German eyes and written with remarkable sensitivity, The Boy Who Went to War is a powerful story of warfare and human survival and a reminder to us all that civilians on both sides suffered the consequences of Hitler's war.
Thomas Dunne Books
In The News
“Combining interviews with family letters and diaries, the author provides an entertaining account of an artistic German family who did not conceal their dislike of Hitler but survived the war.... A fine addition to the...number of firsthand World War II personal stories.” —Kirkus
“Must read. . . . Milton recreates a mood of foreboding in the lead-up to the war and then the horrors of the war itself.” —Sunday Telegraph (UK)
“A remarkable narrative of [Wolfram] Aichele's life during the Nazi regime, written by his son-in-law Giles Milton.” —Irish Times (UK)
“Engaging, poignant, and vivid… Offers an illuminating experience of ‘ordinary' Germans living in ‘small-town Germany.” —BBC History Magazine
“Powerful…Invaluable.” —The Daily Express (UK)
“Idiosyncratic and utterly fascinating” —Mail on Sunday (UK)