Sons and Soldiers
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 13 Jun 2018
Full Title: Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler
The WW2-era US military was an enormous machine, with most units each operating like cogs almost anonymously in order to collectively advance its goals, leading of most of the smaller organizations becoming little known with the passage of time. One group that suffered this problem was the "Ritchie Boys", a group of German Jews who fled their native country and found their way to the United States. After training at Camp Ritchie in Maryland, United States, they became German language, culture, and behavior specialists. Bruce Henderson's Sons and Soldiers detailed the stories of several "Ritchie Boys" from their lives in Germany to their war time experiences.
For a book containing multiple biographies, Henderson did a great job presenting the separate stories in a well organized manner. The author also successfully translated each of the main characters' feelings into words that my mind could readily register. Personally what I had enjoyed the most was the fresh perspective this offered, as the experiences of German Jews in US uniformed service were something that I had not come across previously. The author's telling of some of these Jews obtaining new surnames and refusing the "H" marker on their dog tags (which denoted them as members of the Jewish faith), both to guard against the possibility that they could be captured by ardent Nazis, really touched me, leaving an impression the danger these men had placed on themselves in the service of their new adopted country.
I had reviewed this book in its audio book format. Brett Barry performed well with his reading.
I would highly recommend Sons and Soldiers.
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945