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The Berlin Boxing Club Hardcover – April 26, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061579688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061579684
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Sharenow delivers a masterful historical novel.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“A story with well-drawn, complex characters, gripping history, and intense emotion.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“A fine one-two punch with the author’s previous powerful work, My Mother the Cheerleader.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Readers will be drawn [in] by the sports detail and by the close-up narrative ofthe daily oppression.” (ALA Booklist)

“A meaty, readable account of the perils and pitfalls of daily life in Nazi Germany.” (The Horn Book)

“This beautifully written coming-of-age story puts a human face on both the victims and the tormentors during the holocaust while revealing on a national level the political importance and implications of the historic match between black boxer Joe Louis and German hero Max Schmeling.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))

“I held my breath as Karl Stern, fierce and thoughtful, fought his way through the Nazi Wolf Pack and his own insecurities to save his family and become a boxer and an artist.” (Robert Lipsyte, author of THE CONTENDER and CENTER FIELD)

Praise for MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER:“Readers will be held fast by the history told from the inside.” (Booklist (starred review))

Praise for MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER:“Powerfully written.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

Praise for MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER:“Teens should remain riveted right through the devastating conclusion to Sharenow’s promising work of historical fiction.” (Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover

Fourteen-year-old Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But to the bullies at his school in Naziera Berlin, it doesn't matter that Karl has never set foot in a synagogue or that his family doesn't practice religion. Demoralized by relentless attacks on a heritage he doesn't accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth to everyone around him.

So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl's father to give Karl boxing lessons, Karl sees it as the perfect chance to reinvent himself. A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but as Max becomes the mentor Karl never had, Karl soon finds both his boxing skills and his art flourishing.

But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. Karl longs to ask his new mentor for help, but with Max's fame growing, he is forced to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, leaving Karl to wonder where his hero's sympathies truly lie. Can Karl balance his dream of boxing greatness with his obligation to keep his family out of harm's way?


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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He said it was a very good book.
Jim
I am a 14 year old and am having to read this book for a summer project for school.
Teylor Bruno
This book was a good YA historical fiction read.
Melissa A. Palmer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Book Lover 9 on September 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I could not put this book down. What I most liked about the book was that although it detailed the anti-Semitism in pre-World War II Germany, there were glimpses of what life was like before the Nazis starting gaining power, so the reader could understand why people could not believe what was happening, or that it would pass. This key component helps establish this huge sense of loss and incredulousness on the part of the Jews in Germany. While the ending left a lot up in the air (whether Karl's parents survived), a happy ending would have been too contrived, and a sad ending would not have been a satisfying conclusion to a great story.

While not as literary as "The Book Thief," it has some of the same elements that made that book so wonderful: a great main character - Karl Stern ended up being a hero; well developed secondary characters like his family, the men at the boxing club, his girlfriend, "The Countess," and, of course, Max Schmeling; interesting intertwined stories that included the ban on "degenerate" art, the world of boxing, and Karl's interest in comics books; and a sense of history.

I just read "In the Garden of the Beasts" about the US Ambassador to Germany in the early 1930s, and I would recommend reading that in conjunction with "The Berlin Boxing Club" to get two different angles on what was going on in Germany.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ogr8ys1 VINE VOICE on June 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I received this book through the Amazon Vine Program and my initial reaction upon looking at the cover was disappointment seeing it was a teen novel. Well, there is truth in old sayings, "Never judge a book by it's cover." The book follows the path of a young teenager through the power grabbing years of the Nazi's. The protagonist does not relate to his heritage and does his best to "blend in" by hiding in plain sight, however when he is exposed to be of Jewish heritage he is forced to learn to fight back against overwhelming odds by making an unlikely alliance with a world class boxer.
The descriptions are brutal and the writing reminds me of another excellent book that my son read for 9th grade called "The Book Thief" and my guess is that many of the readers of that book will be reading this one and they and you won't be disappointed. An excellent read for any age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Knapp on December 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Great historical fiction novel starring Karl, a Jewish 14 year old, who can pass for Gentile and has been raised in an agnostic home. He lives with his parents and younger sister in Berlin at start of Hitler's power. Karl is bullied by the Wolf Pack, who humiliate him because of his heritage, and eventually taken under the wing of boxing great Max Shmeling, who gives Karl a training routine and teaches him to box. The story looks at a brutal time in history, with an eye toward mid-teen readers, as Karl struggles with resentment of his family's reduced circumstances, teenage lust for a neighbor, tempered by a mature work ethic and a good heart. The story, while somber, is not without points of humor, and the chapters are punctuated by occasional drawings when Karl's artistic side comes out. Fans of Sharenow's book MY MOTHER THE CHEERLEADER (also excellent) will see parallels in the writing style, as Sharenow takes a hard look at an ugly time.
About me: I'm a middle school/high school librarian
How I got this book: purchased it for the library
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Buck Winthrop VINE VOICE on May 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Although Karl Stern never really considered himself a Jew..(He never even went to a synagogue)the bullies at his school set out to terrorize him and Karl sets out to prove himself worthy.

Robert Sharenow is a terrific writer. I was drawn right into the story from the start causing me--like Karl to have mixed emotions as the plot thickens. It asks but does not really anwser many questions and I found myself thinking a lot about the book when I was away from it and always eager to get back to it. When I finished, I went back and read the ending again and wished I could talk to the author.

This is a REALLY good book and I hope it finds its place...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Books31 on April 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Berlin Boxing Club is not only a stunningly well written book, it is also a brutal and engaging story that will leave readers in stunned silence while they fervently search for the next page that will never come.

The Berlin Boxing Club looks into the world of Jewish Germans during World War II, but instead of focusing on the world of religious Jews, The Berlin Boxing Club instead focuses on Jews who are instead Jews by heritage but not by religious affiliation. The story focuses on a number of important elements; from their family's persecution, to a coming of age story revolving around the world of boxing, to understanding who someone is, not based on what they look like but instead based on the courage of their actions and the strength in their convictions.

Of course besides having a captivating and moving story, The Berlin Boxing Club also contains fantastic characters and action. All the characters, from The Countess, to Karl, to Max, are robust, realistic, and well written. Of course besides the good, Berlin Boxing Club, also demonstrates how the German people were swept up into the thick of it all. It does not paint them all as monsters, instead it paints some as hideous creatures who enjoy the suffering of others, some who choose to take advantage of those who are downtrodden, and most of all it shows the majority of people too scared to defy these groups, and so because of their own fears give in to the cruelty and discrimination that goes on.

All in all The Berlin Boxing Club is a fantastic book. It is gripping, realistic, full of both action and emotions, and is truly a superb story. This book should be read in classrooms along with other holocaust books such as the Diary of Anne Frank. And will find an audience among boys, girls, and adults; as the characters and story are developed enough to capture anyone who is willing to listen to its tale.
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