From Publishers Weekly
Although the official history of the Jewish Brigade Group (a unit of some 5,000 Jews who fought with the British Eighth Army in Italy in the waning months of the conflict) has been written, Blum (Wanted! The Search for Nazis in America) breaks new ground by looking into the clandestine operations that occurred after the shooting had stopped. Once they learned the true extent of the holocaust, soldiers of the brigade began using intelligence reports to pinpoint the location of former SS officers and camp guards. The enraged Jewish troops took vengeance into their own hands, eventually slaying hundreds of Nazi death dealers. Blum follows the story of three men Israel Carmi, Johanan Peltz and Arie Pinchuk in detail, interviewed dozens of others, read unpublished personal memoirs and had Hebrew-language documents translated for him. During the war, the more daring Jewish soldiers formed a secret unit that appropriated British supplies trucks, weapons and food and diverted them to ships heading illegally for Palestine The plan included the "repatriation" of thousands of war orphans, who were clandestinely taken from displaced person camps and smuggled to Palestine. The underground Jewish Haganah figured prominently in these operations, which contributed directly to the creation of Israel. Blum, twice nominated for a Pulitzer as a New York Times investigative reporter, and now a Vanity Fair contributing editor, presents the material masterfully, building suspense and carefully documenting all the action. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Nov. 2)Forecast: A BOMC and Traditions Book Club alternate, this book should get a push from Blum's journalistic cronies. Rights have been sold in Germany, Holland and the U.K., and to Miramax. Blum's The Gold of Exodus is currently in development with Castle Rock.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-There is a perception that during the Holocaust, the Jews rarely physically fought back against the Nazis. The most avid readers of World War II books know that resistance did occur (the best known is the Warsaw Ghetto uprising), but it was not enough to change the course of the genocide. The Brigade tells a different story. A 5000-man "Jewish Brigade" was formed from settlers in Palestine, but it was not until the waning days of the war, in November 1944, that the British sent it to fight. This account is told from the perspective of three soldiers and relies heavily on interviews the author conducted with them. It takes readers from the early days of the brigade, through the frustration of the soldiers who were sitting out the war, to the combat operations of the closing days of the war in Italy. The Jewish Brigade had little impact on the outcome of World War II, but its existence was critical to the future state of Israel. Almost from the very beginning, it was involved in smuggling Jewish refugees out of Europe and into Palestine. This book is not a standard military history, but is written more like a novel. It is packed with detail but moves along quickly. It will have great appeal to those students who want to explore beyond the standard histories of the period.
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Robert Burnham, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.