GERMANY – BOOK – DER ROTE KAMPFFLEIGER – BY RITTMEISTER MANFRED FREIHERR VON RICHTHOFEN
This book was written by Manfred Richthofen in the Summer of 1917 with a severe head wound. He was never really the same and although adding to his number of victories he was a different man and more fatalistic.
When published in 1917 it was quite popular in Germany. It was sold in a paperback format. I have never seen a wartime hardback version although for the upper class there may have been one. When this copy turned up I at first thought it was a 1917 version. I was disappointed and surprised to see that it was published in 1936. This turned to puzzlement as the 1936 versions are hardback as this book and the other WW I aviation books were backed by none other than Hermann Göring the final commander of JG 1, PLM winner, early Nazi, and founder of the Luftwaffe.
But as I opened the book I was astonished. It was made from the actual pages of Manfred von Richthofen’s manuscript. If you are trying to translate it you will have a real hard time as his scrawl is difficult to read. This is the first time I have seen this version but you can see the pain as this man lay in the hospital and as he began to realize his mortality.