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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
A Musician in the Great War: Diary of a WW1 Soldier is a short volume of military historical non-fiction writing by authors Adolph Kuellmer and Joanne Kuellmer Franklin. Joanne is the granddaughter of Adolph, and has therefore taken on the role of compiling his personal diary into a new format for a modern readership to experience. Adolph Kuellmer was a saxophone musician in the 138th Infantry of the army, sent into the trenches in France in the later part of the First World War. Encouraged by his descendants, Adolph’s granddaughter took it upon herself to transcribe his diary of trench life word for word, without any corrections to the original text, and the entries are accompanied by photographs to illustrate the man and the life he led.
This is a very interesting slice of history which I would highly recommend to anyone with an interest in the down to earth, real lives of soldiers rather than the overarching view of tactical war. As someone with a huge interest in the war poets of World War One, I found that A Musician in the Great War: Diary of a WW1 Soldier gave me perspective on another type of artistic personality sent to war which I had never before experienced. Joanne Kuellmer Franklin presents a heartfelt introduction to her personal family history, and it’s clear that she has taken great pains to present a truly authentic account of events. For his part, Adolph Kuellmer comes across as a very genial man put under great strain. A truly fascinating read.