Sunday, August 23, 2009

By Order of the Kaiser

By Terrell D. Gottschall
ISBN 1-55750-309-5337 pages, 6" x 9"Hardcover, $36.95
When my editor suggested that I review this tome, I was expecting a dull, boring and less than satisfying read. Was I wrong! This book was a most interesting read and I enjoyed it tremendously!
A biography of Admiral Otto Von Diederichs, it covered his entire career. Diederichs started out in the Prussian Navy in 1865 and finished with the Kaiser’s German Navy in 1902. Admiral Diederichs served in the Baltic and later on the China Station. His resume included the founding of the German Naval base at Tsingtao, China. His most important role was his involvement of long term planning in the Navy and his many battles with Admiral Tirpitz. Both of which impacted the performance of the Navy in the First World War.
The aspects of the Navy on the China Station were particularly interesting. Involvement of the European powers in China and the relationships with the Chinese government were not always cordial but lessons in difficult diplomacy.
Gottschall covered Diederichs’ relationship with United States Navy Admiral Mahan in great detail. This troubled relationship could be covered in its own volume.
My only complaint about the book is the lack of maps concerning the various areas featured in Diederichs’ career. A chart of the China Station would have been particularly helpful.
Dr. Gottschall’s background is in nineteenth-century European history and diplomacy and his skills definitely show in this volume. Well written, well researched this work is recommended for all readers, amateurs or professionals. I look forward to reviewing his next effort. (RWB)

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