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Summary

Almost a century after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Kaiser Wilhelm II is still viewed as either a warmonger or a madman, as the hundred-year-old propaganda posters remain fixed in the general consciousness. Was he, though, truly responsible for the catastrophe of the First World War, or was he in fact a convenient scapegoat, blamed for a conflict which he desperately tried to avoid?

©2015 Christina Croft (P)2017 Christina Croft

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To me it's a great book!

Sometimes to you need read to different point of view. But I love this book!!!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A different perspective

As a Millennial I believe I had looked on this time in history (until I studied it at a level and then further at degree level) as a time when Germany were persistently "the bad guys" for whatever reason. I suppose this opinion was relatively all lumped together as here in the UK we have always seen ourselves as 'the allies', the side of good. while during the second world war there is certainly good reason to suppose we were fighting something very sinister, this reflection on kaiser Wilhelm in his own time with his European familial connections certainly over turn such an uneducated view. This book is a very good reflection of the kaiser's life and does well to show that he is not the monster the Allies made him to be. Although this is only one such source on the topic it is well worth a listen!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew Marsh
  • 09-11-18

Really make you re-think what your were told

The audio performance was great, I like the change of accents by the narrator. Overall the book it's self was very interesting. I kind thought it was going to be a overly slanted affair in reverse, all in the Kaiser's favor. However, She is not afraid to call him out when he was wrong. However, since so much of history seems based more on propaganda from the time, and the winners writing history, the author is faced with an up hill battle. This forces the bulk of the book making the case in the Kaiser favor which it does well, supported and countered with well thought out examples. Sure some of the examples are likely spin or or propaganda from the time that was in the favor of the Kaiser, but on the whole, there are a lot of facts that seem to be on his sides and Christina Croft does a great job making the case.

The book makes me want to learn more. I am not going to say this 100 percent convinced me, and not blaming Croft but after 100 years it is interesting to get a different perspective. I am not ready to say the Kaiser and Germany were innocent or did not make some mistakes, but at the same time did Britain really want to go to war out of their love for Belgium, or France who had to go war because of a treaty with Russia, who was going to war over a dispute over Serbia with the Austrians, so was France really willing to risk it's nation over that? Wilson who was going to make "the World Safe for Democracy" but in the end abandon his deal with Germany and allowed the victors to take their spoils and continue their reign over their colonial subjects. There has to be more to it, and maybe this does explain some.

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  • Laurence P. Yarosh
  • 08-08-17

Very readable, just not believable

What did you love best about The Innocence of Kaiser Wilhelm II?

The details that are overlooked in standard histories of World War I. It's that much more fun that a few of them are Internet myths or were even made up by the author. Don't miss the part about the French poison gas with the English name Turpinite.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Woodrow Wilson, who doublecrossed the Kaiser. He is the bad guy in this story.

What does Jack Wynters bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The sneering way he reads the snotty comments from the author and various historical figures. I was almost ready to vote against President Wilson in the next election.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The Kaiser, in retirement, blaming World War I on the freemasons.

Any additional comments?

I look forward to trips to the grocery store because I can read the headline in the Inquirer while I'm waiting for checkout. I think that's why I liked this book so much. Meet Kaiser Bill, the nicest autocrat in Europe, beloved by all except for Germany's neighbors. Like many other leaders, he talks incessantly of his desire for peace, but he really means it. He made only two mistakes, however: he allied himself with some Austrian thugs who murdered the heir to their own throne, blamed it on a terrorist organization that had been dormant for a decade, and dragged Bill into a world war against all his best efforts. His second mistake was to preside over a government that never gave straight answers to his questions and ignored his decrees. It's not easy being the All Highest.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful