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As World War I ravaged the European continent, a completely different theater of war was being contested in Africa. And from this very different kind of war, there emerged a very different kind of military leader....
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the continent of Africa was a hotbed of international trade, colonialism, and political gamesmanship. So when World War I broke out, the European powers were forced to contend with each other not just in the bloody trenches - but in the treacherous jungle. And it was in that unforgiving land that General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck would make history.
With the now legendary "Schutztruppe" (Defensive Force), von Lettow-Vorbeck and a small cadre of hardened German officers fought alongside their fanatically devoted native African allies as equals, creating the first truly integrated army of the modern age.
African Kaiser is the almost-forgotten true account of Wiemar Germany's military escapades on the dark continent. A story of 1,000-mile marches through the harshest landscapes; of German officers riding bicycles into battle through the bush; of battleships hidden in jungle rivers teeming with crocodiles; of improbable Zeppelin voyages; of desperate men living off hippo lard and facing dangers in both man and nature. But mostly it is the story of von Lettow-Vorbeck - the only undefeated German commmander in the field during World War I, and the last to surrender his arms in final defeat.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Matthew on 02-25-17
Well Written, Well Read, Well Done!
General - 'African Kaiser' provided copious amounts of information on a part of World War One I knew little about and a person I knew nothing about. It has a wealth of interesting information about the colonial conflict in Africa and it was told in a very engaging style.
Content – Robert Gaudi set good background information; first about the history of airships used in the war, then about the conditions the troops faced, in particular the entomology in the area, then about the colonial subjugation of Africa, and finally, about the early life of Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck. All of this was done without getting too deep into the weeds like some authors tend to do with books like this. The book evoked some emotions, primarily that ‘creepy-crawly’ feeling down the back when the narrator described some of the bugs, diseases and depravations the troops on both sides suffered during their time in the bush. For the most part this book held my interest to a point where I didn’t want to stop listening. Overall, the book read like a very good novel; being part romance, part war, and part spy-thriller. I don’t mean to make light of this horrific time in human history by saying that, I’m simply trying express the ‘feel’ the book had for me. I made five bookmarks with notes for future reference that, for me, is always a barometer of a really good book.
Length – This book did not seem like it was 18-plus hours in length. I believe the length was perfect for the subject matter. I finished the book in 12-days, which may seem a long time, but aside from having to work fulltime I was also listening to six books simultaneously. Of those books, this was my go-to every day until I finished it. If an abridged version is ever produced I’d recommend avoiding it unless you’re a person who only wants CliffsNotes; which begs the question, why you’re an Audible member in the first place? In that event, or, if you don’t want to commit the 18-hours, I suggest using Wikipedia; you’ll learn everything the book provides in a quick and efficient, albeit, completely banal manner.
Narration – Outstanding! Paul Hogston has one of those classic British voices and he can deliver an impeccable German accent, albeit slightly overplayed to the point of being humorous at times. His cadence and pronunciation were perfect throughout. I believe his narration added to the overall experience and enjoyment of this book.
Summation - If you enjoy historical books, general knowledge, useful details, and precise background information this book should be in your library. I wouldn't say this is a "Great" book, but it is certainly a very, very, good book and I will most assuredly be listening to it again.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
By Patrick King on 06-24-17
Where does African Kaiser rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
best audio book ever and in the top 10 best books ever.
What did you like best about this story?
Unbelievable grit and determination! I learned about so many different topics; environmental perils of fighting in Africa, difficulties of keeping a coal burning steamship in service, the capabilities, limitations and demands of piloting a Zeppelin. The U.S. Military could learn lessons about fighting small, highly mobile enemies by listening to African Kaiser
Have you listened to any of Paul Hodgson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
A celebration of leadership,grit and determination.
Any additional comments?
I would be first in line to see a film based on this book...it could rival The Wind And The Lion!!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful