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Courage, Rescue, and Mystery During World War II

by Louise Borden

Age Range: 11 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-618-50755-9
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

An exceptional individual is brought at last to the up-close-and-personal attention of young readers.

Raoul Wallenberg, born into a distinguished Swedish family in 1912, was destined for greatness. Outgoing, intelligent, artistic, fluent in multiple languages and deeply imbued with strong moral courage, he traveled the world from a young age. A sense of his life’s purpose developed while on business in Budapest in the mid-1940s. There he witnessed firsthand the Nazis’ brutal treatment of Hungary’s Jews. Eventually assigned to the neutral Swedish legation in Budapest, Wallenberg, on his own and with fellow outraged diplomats, labored tirelessly and at great personal risk to provide special documents and to adopt other measures that brought thousands of Hungarian Jews under royal Swedish protection, thus sparing them from deportation and death. Borden describes this hero’s extraordinary life and exploits in free verse, which makes for fast-paced, exciting (though sometimes choppy) reading. Her research has been impeccable, and she has included a wealth of personal and historic detail. The contemporary photos, documents and maps are excellent and place events in lucid context. Readers will be fascinated by the story of this laudable man—and shocked by his ignoble capture and mysterious imprisonment by the Russians at the end of the war. Details about Wallenberg’s final days remain unknown.

Moving and inspiring; Wallenberg’s is a name to remember for all time, and Borden has done an admirable job of ensuring readers will. (epilogue, author's note, bibliography, sources) (Biography. 11 & up)