We Germans

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What to expect

We Germans takes the form of a letter written by the now 90-year-old soldier to his grandson, telling him of his experiences in the war, and his grappling with the extent to which he feels guilt and shame about his own behaviour, and the behaviour of Germany. The novel is interrupted at various points by the grandson, who offers his own perspective on his grandfather.

Starritt delicately and deftly explores the moral considerations of a young soldier in that position, what he or anyone else would/should do, and whether a life of loving and sacrificing for your family post-war could make up for inhumane acts.

The storytelling is excellent, and totally gripping. It’s also very human; there are horrors, generally unseen but occasionally seen, and the events take place against this backdrop, but it’s more about the everyday experiences of soldiers, and among the horror and confusion there are moments of humour and life, as well as acts of great bravery and selflessness.

(P) 2020 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

Critics Review

  • An impressively realistic novel of German soldiers on the eastern front, raising the fundamental questions of individual and collective guilt

    Antony Beevor
  • A remarkable and audacious novel that is harrowingly real and, at the same time, asks the most searching questions about men at war

    William Boyd
  • This may be only his second novel, but Alexander Starritt is already showing striking signs of ambition … a visceral examination of guilt, collective and individual, centred on a small group of bedraggled German soldiers on the eastern front . . . individual episodes are vividly done, and the book has a gritty realism. Its arguments about the equivocal nature of guilt on the battlefield can be arresting

    The Times
  • Daringly, in what is only his second novel, Alexander Starritt climbs into the skin of one of the most appalling archetypes of the 20th century: a Nazi soldier as he marauds across eastern Europe during the second world war

    Financial Times
  • A stirring work that reads like a developing photograph, the lines slowly clarifying, the light steadily emerging from the dark . . . an unflinching reckoning with guilt, accountability and shame and a tender portrayal of the weight of memory carried through the generations

  • [A] thoughtful, unsettling chronicle . . . a fascinatingly enigmatic addition to the literature of Germany’s coming to terms with the past

    Publishers Weekly

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