This insightful, compelling account is an excellent introduction to Bonhoeffer and a perceptive look at what makes someone...

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THE PLOT TO KILL HITLER

DIETRICH BONHOEFFER: PASTOR, SPY, UNLIKELY HERO

The story of theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s brief but notable life is related in the context of his resistance to the Nazis and association with the 1944 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

McCormick discusses formative experiences that shaped Bonhoeffer’s theological views: visiting St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, studying with such influential American theologians as Frank Fisher and Reinhold Niebuhr at Union Theological Seminary, worshipping at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, and his friendship with Rabbi Stephen Wise. Bonhoeffer’s resistance to Hitler intensified with the systematic persecution of Jews and the co-option of the German Church. In protest, Bonhoeffer co-founded the Pastor’s Emergency League and, later, the breakaway Confessing Church. As a member of an organized conspiracy to overthrow Hitler, Bonhoeffer was a courier and spy passing information to Allied representatives about Nazi atrocities and resistance activities. He was executed in 1945 for his involvement. Novelist McCormick pens a gripping narrative, adeptly developing Bonhoeffer’s character and exploring his struggle to reconcile his pacifism with being part of the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. Some subjects, such as the Confessing Church and figures like Pastor Martin Niemöller, warrant further explanation, however.

This insightful, compelling account is an excellent introduction to Bonhoeffer and a perceptive look at what makes someone stand up for what’s right. (photos, timeline, source notes, bibliography) (Biography. 11-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-241108-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history.

MOTOR GIRLS

HOW WOMEN TOOK THE WHEEL AND DROVE BOLDLY INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel.

Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling.

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2697-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead.

THE PERFECT HORSE

THE DARING RESCUE OF HORSES KIDNAPPED DURING WORLD WAR II

Letts adapts her bestselling 2016 work of the same title for young readers.

As World War II sweeps across Europe, the fates of several master horsemen become entwined. In Poland, Andrzej Kristalovich, head of the national stud farm, sees his life’s work disappear when Russian soldiers capture his horses. Nazi Germans, invading next, restore some of the animals in order to breed them for the Third Reich. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Olympic medalist Alois Podhajsky is desperately trying to care for the Lipizzan stallions at the famed Spanish Riding School even as the invading Germans capture the Lipizzan stud farms and move most of the horses to Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, at an American Army base in Kansas, Maj. Hank Reed is overseeing the cavalry’s transition from horses, no longer useful in warfare, to mechanized vehicles. These threads come together at the end of the war when Reed orchestrates a complex rescue of both sets of horses. This is not a particularly successful adaptation. It’s shorter than the original, but both the storyline and timeline are fragmented, making it difficult for the putative audience of 8- to 12-year-olds to follow, and extraneous details fail to advance the main narrative. Aside from a map and archival images (both not seen), there is no timeline or other visual aid to help organize the narrative. Characters are all white.

If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead. (author’s note, characters, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64474-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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