A captivating historical narrative.
‘Loving the Enemy - building bridges in a time of war’ by Andrew March is a compelling read. The book has a wide scope, following Fred Clayton, the author’s grandfather, from his early life right through to his death. Written in a past-tense narrative style, the story follows Clayton through university, his time spent living in Germany before WWII, his time serving in the Forces and beyond.
It seemed to me that this book is formed of two parts. The first follows Fred’s life and University career, his motivations for going to Germany to forge a connection with the German people which lingers throughout the war, and his work at Bletchley park and then in India. The second section of this book comes after the war, as Fred Clayton works to re-establish the connections he made in Germany, locate old acquaintances and the early stages of his relationship with his wife, Rike. I felt that this story in its entirety worked to demonstrate the connection between people. When we look at history we consider entire countries and events on a macro level, and I found that this book successfully managed to maintain a more microscopic perspective, delivering a touching story of human connection.
Dotted with diary entries, letters and photographs from his grandparents, I think that the author delivers a captivating historical narrative.
Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
It is the beginning of the Nazi era. Fascinated by the terrible political spectre unfolding in Germany, and with vague notions of building bridges, Fred Clayton, a grammar schoolboy from Liverpool, and brilliant Cambridge scholar, leaves the comfort of the halls of Cambridge and makes a troubled journey to discover first-hand what life must be like to live under the despotic regime. Arriving in Dresden, he develops a friendship with a German family that will change his life.
Through the course of the next decade, with his and their nations at war, Fred will not forget the connections that have been made and refuses to allow hate to win.
After the war, with Dresden in ruins, reflecting his own state of mind, Fred writes to the same German family. Will he find the healing, love and redemption he seeks?
|Publication date:||6th October 2021|
|Primary Genre||Biographies & Autobiographies|