For intermediate students of German . . .

Aus erster Hand:

Letters by Famous German-Speaking Men and Women

The 28 German letters contained in this book were written by German-speaking men and women of some prominence. The first letter takes you back more than two hundred years, while the last dates from only about 60 years ago. Out of hundreds of letters that I examined, I chose these because I believed they would have broad appeal and because they were, in general, without unmanageable grammatical and lexical complexities.

The letters express a wide range of emotions and attitudes, from disdain to compassion, from delight to disillusionment, from longing to fulfillment, from hope to hopelessness, from diffidence to self confidence, from criticism to congratulations. Topically, the letters deal with death, the French Revolution, scientific investigation and discovery, theater, medicine, business, politics, the military, psychology, and morality, to name only some. As sources of knowledge, the letters are gold mines.

Most of the letters are too difficult for intermediate students to read with ease until they have taken time to acquaint or reacquaint themselves with  some of the words. For that reason, each section of each letter is preceded by a vocabulary list. Troublesome words not contained in these lists are glossed. A rather thorough explanation of major points of German grammar is available in discrete sections interspersed throughout the book. A glossary containing some 1400 German words has also been provided. 

The book contains 28 letters--13 found on my web site as well as 15 additional letters. Each letter is followed by questions in German about the contents of the letter, by English sentences to be translated into German by the student, and by a research suggestion or a suggestion for discussion. This 73-page, 8 1/2" x 11" book has a soft cover protected by a plastic overlay. The price of the book is $14, including postage within the U.S. and handling. If you order more than one copy, you may subtract $1 from the price of each book after the first. 

To order, please write to me at I will  send you my address, and you can then mail me a check or money order (no cash or credit card numbers, please). Don't forget to include your address. I will try to send your book or books to you on the day your order arrives or on the following day. Shipment is expected to take four to seven days. 

July 2013

Click here to read the introduction.

Click here to see the table of contents.

Click here to see a typical page.

Click here to see a page of the glossary.


  "I have to tell you again how much I am enjoying your German books—all three of them!  It’s obvious that you put a lot of care and thought into preparing them, and I’m finding them to be much more helpful than the other resources I have found. You make learning German an absolute pleasure!"

Laura L. Russell, Houston, TX

"I was wondering if I could buy a copy of your book Aus erster Hand. ... I have two of your other German books and they have been fantastic. As an adult learning German I really appreciate a straight forward approach to grammar and the chance to translate from English to German."

Jodie Aberdeen, Zurich, Switzerland

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