Kirkus Star


Age Range: 12 - 18
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Gertrud, Fritz, and Jean were among many young people who confronted fascism in this little-known true story of teenage resistance in Nazi Germany.

Based on firsthand accounts and historical documents, Gaddy’s debut tells the story of the loosely affiliated nonconformist youth groups known as the Edelweiss Pirates. Meeting in secret, camping in the woods, and attempting to avoid mandatory recruitment into Hitler youth organizations, their resistance activities ranged from scatological pranks and vandalism to flyering and sabotage to simply playing guitar and wearing their hair long. Though largely composed of straight Christians, many from socialist and communist families, the groups welcomed gay and Jewish youth. This matter-of-fact narrative shows how youth can stand against an overwhelming tide of fascism. It implicatively asks readers, “what would you do?” while highlighting the actions of young people who refused to be complacent—and the consequences they suffered for it. It challenges common narratives that reserve praise for resistance for the politically centrist middle and upper classes. The author weaves a lesson in historiography into an already fascinating story, effectively utilizing black-and-white photographs, excerpts from primary sources, and images of historical documents in chapters that are divided into short, dynamic segments that will sustain readers’ interest.

An eye-opening account of tenacity that brings the efforts of young anti-Nazi activists vividly to life. (historical note, source notes, bibliography, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-5255-5541-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2019