A gripping addition to the literature of the period and an overdue tribute to these unique Americans.




The inspiring story of the “Ritchie Boys” and their unique contribution to the Allied victory in World War II.

The Ritchie Boys, named for Maryland’s Camp Ritchie, where they trained, were primarily Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Germany, chosen for their language skills and knowledge of German culture. In a highly readable, often thrilling narrative, prolific nonfiction author Henderson (Rescue at Los Baños: The Most Daring Prison Camp Raid of World War II, 2015) focuses on the members of this elite, 2,000-man unit who escaped from Europe and by one means or another made it to the United States. Enlisting for military service, they were given specially designed intelligence training at Camp Ritchie. After their training, they went back to Europe as intelligence specialists and interrogators and performed a vital function on the front lines for the 82nd Airborne and Patton’s 3rd Army, among many others. Trained specifically in the details of the Nazi military’s order of battle, the Ritchie Boys had the skills to provide Allied forces with detailed knowledge of what they would encounter as they moved forward in the advance across Europe. While Henderson acknowledges the contributions of all the Ritchie Boys his researcher could identify, his account focuses on about a dozen men. He tells the individual stories of how these youngsters’ families were split up, especially after Kristallnacht in 1938, and they came here to make a new start, some with just a few dollars in their pockets. Some of the standouts from this impressive group were Werner Angress, who, without proper parachute training, jumped into Normandy with the 82nd Airborne on D-Day; and Victor Brombert, who provided intelligence for the counterattack in the Battle of the Bulge. Others were among the first into some of the most notorious death camps in Germany, and many went on to make equally significant postwar contributions to their adopted country.

A gripping addition to the literature of the period and an overdue tribute to these unique Americans.

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-241909-5

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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