A Sailor of Austria

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A Sailor of Austria

Postby Sarge » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:04 am

by John Biggins, "In Which, Without Really Intending To, Otto Prohaska Becomes Official War Hero No. 27 of the Habsburg Empire"

It's a wonderful fictional memoir of a WW1 U-boat captain, painstakingly researched and beautifully written with lots of humor and just the right amount of pathos as his homeland falls in a war of attrition. I've already bought the next one in the series. I'm betting most of y'all would enjoy it.
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. -Psalm 139
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Re: A Sailor of Austria

Postby Kona » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:32 pm

I read a lot about naval and submarine warfare during my teens, then spent three years as a gunner’s mate aboard a WW2 Gearing class destroyer; kind of got all that out of my system. However, this does sound interesting. I’ll see if I can find an audio version, since my reading time is pretty limited these days. Thanks for the tip!
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Re: A Sailor of Austria

Postby Pastor_Mac » Wed May 23, 2018 1:00 am

I just read the free preview at Amazon. The narrative was jaw-dropping. The first person approach as an old man, jaded beyond any hope of hope, is entirely engrossing. Remember Johnny Cash's video of his cover of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails? There's Johnny, in his full tremors, looking at all his memories and drowning them in wine. A fabulous piece of writing.
Pax,
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Re: A Sailor of Austria

Postby Kona » Wed May 23, 2018 1:11 pm

An eloquent and compelling review, Pastor Mac. Thanks to your reminder, I seriously need to look into this -- today. I see there are a number of sequels out there as well, one that takes place in the South Pacific. Should be right up our alley!
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Re: A Sailor of Austria

Postby Pastor_Mac » Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:46 am

Finished the book. Again, a very compelling read. Otto Prohaska is simply trying to survive and bring the crew, a mixed bag of 11 different nationalities, back alive but the chaos of the end of the Great War twists another spike in Prohaska's side means that unity is the first casualty of the Peace. The ending is most melancholy, expected of a man who has seen far too much and lived far too long but yet his final words almost appear redemptive in calling out to his true love maybe finding the peace he never had.

This book screams "Movie!" along the lines of Das Boot but Hollyweird is far too preoccupied w/ mythical superheroes so only a European production could be possible. I gotta read the rest of the series.
Pax,
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Re: A Sailor of Austria

Postby Kona » Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:08 pm

Seconded. Otto was a heroic yet tragic figure, an educated, moral and utterly faithful officer in the service of a declining and ultimately doomed empire. Beset with overwhelming shortages and obstacles, his ingenuity and perseverance kept himself and his crew alive and continued to deliver successes for his emperor long after a lesser man would have abandoned the obviously hopeless effort. Added to all this were his great personal losses that nearly, but not quite, drove him to despair.

It’s also a lesson on the interconnectedness of industrial society. The embargo of raw materials on the Central Powers caused far-reaching consequences, in many unexpected ways. “A Sailor of Austria” provides a street-level view of how those consequences impacted the ordinary citizens as well as the engines of war; a man-made disaster.
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