Hardbound, large format
My Alsace is one of the most beautiful children’s histories ever written. Would that all history texts children encounter were this richly illustrated and written with as much heart. My own training is in History; I very highly recommend this book.
Here’s the background story:
Alsace is a region in the east of today’s France that has changed hands four times between France and Germany during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. When Hansi (born Jean-Jacques Waltz) was born in 1873, it had been two years since the Prussian army marched into Alsace, and the province remained under German annexation until the end of World War I.
Hansi recalled his years at the German school in Colmar as among the worst of his life. Above all, he hated the history lessons, in which the teacher forced the French students to learn about Prussian conquests and the defeat and humiliation of French Alsace.
In 1912, Hansi decided to write his own history of Alsace for children. He wanted to show them how much pride they could have in their past and to hear the story from their own side. His history portrays Alsace from the time when the Celts ruled the land through Middle Ages, the Age of Revolution and the German occupation through World War I. It is notable that Alsace is the birthplace/home of St. Odile, a saint often studied in Waldorf Education. My Alsace offers a beautiful, concise portrait of Alsace at the time of St. Odile.
The first edition was published in Paris with great success. However, because of its satirical gibes at all things German, Hansi was given a heavy fine and a warning from the German authorities in Colmar. Soon after, he was sentenced to a year in prison for “insulting the German officer corps.”
The present book is a hand-picked selection of L’Histoire d’Alsace and L’Alsace Heureuse by Hansi. It is full of his trademark colorful and detailed pictures of Alsatian life, as well as his critical and humorous portrayals of the occupying Germans.