Kaiser's Yanks, The
Author: Gary C Warne
Publisher: RICHARDSON PUBLISHING (2011)
Binding: Paperback, 288 pages
Grab your parachute and join the pilots of Jasta von Steuben, the American-filled squadron of the German Army Air Service as they contest the skies over the trenches against the British and the French in World War I. Page after page of roaring engines, stuttering machine guns, the howl of artillery and anti-aircraft fire, the quiet of blossoming love amidst the terror and uncertainty of war, and the honor men find even as they attempt to kill the men they face in battle. This is aerial combat at its best!
Gary C. Warne’s book The Kaiser’s Yanks is a well written and researched novel of World War I with an interesting concept: Americans fighting for Germany during the war. The Americans initially went overseas to fight against England, France and Russia; and eventually ended up fighting against their own country when America entered the war.
The book opens with the shooting of the Austrian crown prince in Sarajevo, Bosnia, the event that ultimately started World War I in Europe. The event that triggered the war also ultimately led a few Americans to make the trek to Germany to fight for the German cause. The story develops from the discovery of papers from one of the men by family members in Van Wert, Ohio, in the present day. We discover with the family members how their relative, Theo Ray, and the other men left America, enlisted in Germany and eventually ended up flying the war birds of World War I. They eventually formed the “Jasta von Steuben,” Germany’s answer to the Lafayette Escadrille. The reader may follow the development of the fighting aircraft on both sides of the war, and encounter historical figures like Eddie Rickenbacker, Anthony Fokker, the “Red Baron” Manfred Von Richthofen, and even an appearance by Adolph Hitler. Descriptions of the capabilities of the planes and of aerial combat are well done. The story carries through the end of the war and relates what happens to the survivors, who were considered traitors in their own country.
Those interested in World War I, and particularly in the air war should enjoy this book.
Reviewed by: Weymouth Symmes (2011)