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By Ethel Cooper

Caroline Ethel Cooper was born into an old, established Adelaide family on Christmas Day, 1871. Intelligent, well-educated and somewhat eccentric, she was not one content with the normal round of activities deemed 'proper' for young ladies of her class. She began travelling the world at the age of twenty-six and had been living in Leipzig and studying music for some years when war was declared in 1914. Most non-Germans left as quickly as chaos would allow: Ethel chose to stay 'so as to have a complete record of how one country has gone through it'.

Ethel was in the habit of writing to her sister Emmie, who lived in Adelaide, once a week. Although she knew she would not be able to post her wartime letters until the end of hostilities, and although by keeping them she placed herself in considerable danger, they were her one constant link with the outside world, and she continued to write to Emmie for the next four and a half years.

Some of the letters were smuggled out to Switzerland and posted in 1915. The rest Ethel hid, safe from the prying eyes of the police who often paid her unexpected visits. They are an acutely perceptive and compassionate record of the German people's reactions to the increasingly harsh wartime conditions and the political upheavals caused by events on the battlefields.

Detailed as the letters are they leave some questions as to Ethel's real role in Leipzig unanswered. However, there is no denying that this remarkable woman has left one of the most fascinating account of the First World War.

Hardback - 311 pages

Published 1982

Very good condition
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  • Seller location: Hamilton, Waikato, NZ

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