Black Tulip

The Life and Myth of Erich Hartmann, the World's Top Fighter Ace

Erik Schmidt

The story of the top-scoring ace in history, a Luftwaffe pilot named Erich Hartmann who totaled 352 kills.
Date Published :
February 2020
Publisher :
Casemate
Illustration :
10 photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Hardback
ISBN : 9781612008240
Pages : 240
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order
$34.95

Overview
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Black Tulip is the dramatic story of history's top fighter ace, Luftwaffe pilot Erich Hartmann. It's also the story of how his service under Hitler was simplified and elevated to Western mythology during the Cold War.

Over 1,404 wartime missions, Hartmann claimed a staggering 352 airborne kills, and his career contains all the dramas you would expect. There were the frostbitten fighter sweeps over the Eastern Front, drunken forays to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, a decade of imprisonment in the wretched Soviet POW camps, and further military service during the Cold War that ended with conflict and angst. 

Just when Hartmann’s second career was faltering, he was adopted by a network of writers and commentators personally invested in his welfare and reputation. These men, mostly Americans, published elaborate, celebratory stories about Hartmann and his elite fraternity of Luftwaffe pilots. With each dogfight tale put into print, Hartmann’s legacy became loftier and more secure, and his complicated service in support of Nazism faded away. A simplified, one-dimensional account of his life—devoid of the harder questions about allegiance and service under Hitler—has gone unchallenged for almost a generation.

Black Tulip locates the ambiguous truth about Hartmann and so much of the German Wehrmacht in general: that many of these men were neither full-blown Nazis nor impeccable knights. They were complex, contradictory, and elusive. This book portrays a complex human rather than the heroic caricature we’re used to, and it argues that the tidy, polished hero stories we’ve inherited about men like Hartmann say as much about those who've crafted them as they do about the heroes themselves.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Introduction
Part 1: Inheritances
1. ‘The force that is devoted to death’
2. Harmony
3. The demolition function
4. Jugend
5. Into the Luftwaffe
Part 2: Hartmann’s wars
6. Kills
7. Against Stalin’s falcons
8. Recognition and attrition
9. Into captivity
10.The east and the west
11. Old gray ghosts
Part 3: Stories told
12. Marketing the Wehrmacht
13. The first, the last, the family
14: What we can say
Conclusion

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