Monday, April 11, 2011

WWII on the Axis Side: Don't Say a Word

I've mentioned my youthful obsession with WW II books.  Most book are written by enemies of the Germans, either Allies or Jewish refugees.  Occasionally there will be a book about a Hitler Youth, but they usually reform by the end.  There aren't many books about patriotic Germans who don't like what the government is doing but try to get along with honor and survival.

Barbara Gehrts' Don't Say a Word fits that description.  Gehrts explains in an afterward that her book is heavily based on her personal experiences, and the vivid descriptions and often clear viewpoint suggest that her memory is a good one.  She says she wrote the book after hearing a youthful debater dismiss the fear of violence as trivial, as she was appalled.  The story follows a German family in Berlin, at first protected by the father's position in the Luftwaffe but still precarious because they aren't Nazi's.  Neither are they heroic underground partisans; they are afraid to do much to help their Jewish neighbors or to let anyone hear their complaints about Hitler.  Their battles are small and believable, with spurts of bravery followed by hesitance and fear.  The father keeps his battles against Hitler as far from his family as possible, which means that they survive after his discovery and arrest.  I enjoyed viewing this new perspective, and seeing how the time lines of the war looked from inside the Reich.  I'm glad Alex at The Children's War reviewed this book so I knew to look for it.  B+

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This sounds excellent! I remember being so impressed with The Book Thief for showing us another side of World War II, and wishing there were more books that dealt with that side of things. Wonderful to see that there are!