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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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VINE VOICEon 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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on December 13, 2012
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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on April 26, 2011
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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VINE VOICEon 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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on November 20, 2015
This book captures a period in history that led up to WWII. The hero of the book, a young boy, befriends Max Schmeling the great German boxer who split two bouts with Joe Louis. The story describes the disenfranchisement of a Jewish family during the 1930's. It's painful to read but is told in a straightforward and honest manner.
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on December 14, 2015
ive read this book years ago on my nook but since I saw over here on kindle on sale it was worth the rebuy the book gives you a good vivid picture of what life must of been during world war II and also I like that it has comics and boxing theme to the book which makes it an interesting read
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on January 25, 2014
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would have read a book about boxing. I did, however, and I loved it. Since it looked like a children's book, I read some of the reviews before I bought it. Basically, it is for young adults, but it can also appeal to adults. This is the story of a 14 year old Jewish boy named Karl Stern in the 1930's. At that time the persecution of the Jews in Germany was getting worse, with Karl being beaten up by his classmates and/or the Hitler Youth. Karl's father happened to be friends with Max Schmeling, the champion boxer of Germany. Due to an agreement between Max and Karl's father, Max agreed to take Karl on as a student boxer. Karl worked out on his own, and also at the Berlin Boxing Club. This book is historical fiction which I love especially when it is well written. I highly recommend The Berlin Boxing Club for both children and adults. If a book about boxing can interest me (since I have very little interest in the sport) then, it is a good book.
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on July 28, 2013
The Berlin Boxing Club will be a classic. "Not all Germans are the same. It is only politics. It will pass." Every time Karl tries to talk to an adult about what is happening in his neighborhood in Berlin in 1934 that is what they say. Even his Jewish parents. Karl decides if he can become the greatest young boxer in Germany, it will change people's impressions of Jews. Max Schmeling is a family friend, and he arranges for Karl to train at his gym. Since no one at the gym knows Karl is Jewish, he continues to compete even after Hitler enacts the Nuremberg Race Laws. As things go from difficult to desperate to dangerous, many Jews, including Karl's parents, still say, "It will pass." By the time of Kristallnacht in 1938, Karl's father has lost his art gallery, the family has been forced to sell off all of their possessions so there is no money to escape, and most of their friends have already emigrated or been arrested. Teens will be engaged by Karl's determination and harrowing experiences. Some will be enthralled by the detailed descriptions of boxing training and fights. Adults will be dismayed at how naive Karl's parents are even as their family and friends are being arrested. The Berlin Boxing Club takes the reader to heart of Berlin in the 30's and into the lives of Karl, his family and his family's friends.
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on November 7, 2015
I'm drawn to stories during the nazi regime in Germany as I
was a lad at that time, also I did some amateur boxing during
my school years so I am attracted to stories about fighters.
It is a five star book according to my interests.
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