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Reviewed by Deborah Stone for Readers' Favorite
A Day With The Old Folks: Verdun, 1916 by Michael P. Kihntopf focuses on four German soldiers for a twenty-four-hour period during the Battle of Verdun. We follow these four men through life and death struggles that they endure just trying to survive. Kluggman is a professional soldier and enjoys the killing. Kowalski relies on his mind and wants the social structures to change. Liebermann is a product of the streets of Berlin and an expert at obtaining supplies whenever they are needed. He is also terrified of dying in the mud of the trenches. Lange is a student whose view of the war has drastically changed after being in the middle of it for a year now.
These four unlikely friends have survived the last year together without injury. They rely on each other and they trust each other. Some say they are lucky, some say they bring bad luck to those who must serve with them and die. How many, if any, of them will make it home? Can they survive the horrific conditions that they encounter? Rain, mud that will swallow you alive like quicksand, rounds full of helmet piercing and body shredding shrapnel going off all around them, and machine gun fire flying overhead. These four have managed to stay alive when others could not. Can The Old Folks, as they are called, survive the Battle of Verdun?
Michael P. Kihntopf has told us a story that could very well have happened. Although not my usual genre of choice, I really enjoyed this book. The characters are well defined and detailed, and the scenes described are realistic and heart wrenching. Michael P Kihntopf has given us a well written, interesting, vividly detailed story with characters that come alive and draw you into their plight. My one complaint is that the book ended abruptly and I was left wanting more.