Four Weeks in the Trenches

The War Story of a Violinist

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Author: Fritz Kreisler
Language: English
Wordcount: 14,396 / 48 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 54.3
LoC Category: CT
Downloads: 1,071
Added to site: 2004.06.30 8078
Genres: War, Biography, Audiobook

The first war book actually written by a man who has served at the front was written by a famous violinist. The material is presented with vigor and simplicity. One of the phenomena of war--the sudden transformation of the highly emotional, neurotic man of literary or artistic pursuits, accustomed to an atmosphere of refinement, culture, and luxury, into a primeval savage in the space of a few days--interests the author.

Show Excerpt

our companies, imparting the news to the men, who broke forth into shouts of enthusiasm. All the fatigue so plainly noticeable only a few minutes before, suddenly vanished as if by magic, and every one seemed alert, springy, and full of spirit. We energetically resumed the march in the direction of the distant rumbling, which indicated that the artillery of our advance guard had engaged the enemy. My regiment then was part of the main body of a division. A second division advanced on the road parallel to ours, about a mile and a quarter to our left. Both columns belonged to the Third Army Corps and kept up constant communication with each other through mounted dispatch bearers and motor cycles.

The cannonading had meanwhile come perceptibly nearer, and in the midst of the dense forest we again came to a short halt. Orders were given to load rifles, and upon emerging from the woods we fell into open formation, the men marching abreast, the companies at a distance of three hundred yards, with the batta


Average Rating of 4.5 from 2 reviews: *****
J.David Knepper

Fritz Kreisler was an officer in the Austrian Army when it first met the Russians in World War I. This short account of his time under arms describes the flexibility of people to deal with extraordinary circumstances.

His description of a senior officer's losing his son in battle is poignant. His discussion of how he and his command changed over the four weeks is detailed and very telling.

Kreisler tells how he used his musical gifts to help Austrian artillery find the position of hidden Russian batteries. Very interesting little story.


This is an unusual memoir, it tells the story of an Austrian fighting the Russians at the start of the first world war.

It's really well written and features some genuinely surprising events which I won't mention so as not to spoil it for you. The author really brings the events to life in a straightforward way but there's some great insights too.

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