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The Imperial German Eagles in World War I - Their Postcards and Pictures Vol. 3
The Imperial German Eagles in World War I - Their Postcards and Pictures Vol. 3
Peter Kilduff, book review editor, Over the Front
Published by Germanophile-1
17 November 2011
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The Imperial German Eagles in World War I - Their Postcards and Pictures Vol. 3

The Imperial German Eagles in World War I - Their Postcards and Pictures Vol. 3 by Lance J. Bronnenkant, Ph.D., Schiffer Military History, Altglen, PA, 2011; 437 pp., 11¼” x 8¾”, hardcover, profusely illustrated with black & white photos, appendices, bibliography, glossary, index; ISBN 978-0-7643-3764-2; $79.99; publisher’s website: Schifferbooks.com - Art Photography, Architecture, Military, Paranormal, Children's, Regional, Pin-ups

The title of this work only modestly describes its vast scope and the mountain of material to be found in it. This book and the preceding Volumes 1 and 2 (reviewed in the Winter 2006 and Spring 2009 issues of Over the Front, respectively) present a visual treasury of World War I postcards that featured German (and even some Austro-Hungarian) airmen. These collectible cards were that era’s equivalent of today’s baseball cards and other sports-related memorabilia – all keyed to saluting, perhaps glorifying popular heroes of their times.

In The Imperial German Eagles in World War I - Their Postcards and Pictures Vol. 3 and its predecessors, Dr. Lance Bronnenkant presents a thorough accounting of the cards and the various uses of airmen’s images. But the peripheral materials – photos and texts – contain many unexpected treasures. Thanks to a truly comprehensive personnel and unit index, these subjects are easily accessed and make this volume and its predecessors highly valued research sources.

In this volume Dr. Bronnenkant continues to “mine” historical nuggets (photo cards of airmen) published by the firms of W. Sanke, G. Liersch & Co., and Neue Photographische Gessellschaft (NPG), as well as by lesser known companies such as Paul Hoffmann & Co. and Verlag Henry Rothenberg. Again, the author offers a wealth of background material on the publishers and extensive analysis of the cards. This volume shines, however, in presenting newspaper articles and other arcane sources to inform readers about some of the less famous aviation personnel depicted. Many collectors who wondered why such “unknowns” as Vizefeldwebel Theodor von Ahlen were selected will be rewarded with good, documented biographies of those men. The appendices are another fine source of material, including German article texts followed by English translations of them.

The Imperial German Eagles in World War I - Their Postcards and Pictures Vol. 3 has much to offer and should be on every serious World War I aviation buff’s bookshelf. (This review appears in the Winter 2011 issue of Over the Front, the quarterly journal of the non-profit League of World War I Aviation Historians.)

Peter Kilduff
Book Review Editor
Over the Front
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