One of the nicest aspects of working in a bookstore is that you frequently run across and read authors which are new to you. Heinrich Boll, a German who won the Nobel Prize For Literature in 1972 has been a great find for me. I first read "Billiards at Half Past Nine" almost be chance, picking up a copy in the bookstore. I find it interesting to read about Germany's experience in wartime and post WWII Germany. Next I read "The Clown". I have just finished reading two novellas which appeared between 1947 and 1951, entitled "Adam," and "The Train". We in America often view WWII from the perspective of Western Europe and the Pacific. Boll evokes the reality of the war from the German side of the Eastern Front (Great Patriotic War to the Russians). I looked up the Eastern Front on Wikipedia, and found that the "Eastern Front" was the greatest war ever fought by many measures such as "loss of life." The stupidity of the German military strategy under Hitler's personal direction was loyally carried out to the best of the ability of millions of ordinary people caught up in something they could not avoid.
My mother's side of my family is heavily oriented by a consciousness of great great grandparents who immigrated from Germany in the 1885-90's. They settled in Louisville and prospered by running a hardware store and lumber yard.