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Loyal To A Degree (Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Both books, focas on two young boys growing up during Hitler's reign of terror. Understanding the difference between the upbringing of children then & now, and the German standards of behavior of their children is quite interesting.
I do recommend this book & book 1 for anyone who is interested in WWll, sociology of the time regarding children and adults, and the terror experienced to read both Children to a Degree #1 and Loyal to a Degree #2. I'm going to get the third book in the series, Trust to a Degree from the Amazon Kindle store right now.
This describes the breakdown of leadership and its impact on both the civilian population and the boys and old men used in the final stages of Hitler's scorched earth policy. As in life, there are some heroes and some really rotten guys.
I appreciate the descriptions of Berlin and how it was for the civilians and children as the Russians advanced into the city. Even, perhaps especially, the consequences of indoctrinating young children into rigid concepts of duty, loyalty and faith in their leaders while fully intending to get them killed to save nothing. A city they tried to destroy for both the Russians and the Germans. All the while ensuring there's no childhood, no discovery of identity, no individual thought or action allowed.
What happened to these children? Who did they grow up to be? Unlike adults, they had no context to explain the horror and no concept of refusing to obey.
This sheds some light on what happened to a couple of them.
I first read "Children to a Degree" so this was the natural sequel even though it was written first.
While the dialog is still a bit stiff I found myself getting used to it, just like when you're in a foreign country for 3-4 weeks - by the time you leave you hardly notice your stilted conversation until you converse with a natural English speaker...
The story conveys very clearly without getting to labored or gruesome the hardship and violence of WW2 in NE Germany. As I mentioned in my review of "Children..." my uncle was born in the same year as the protagonist and author, and my father two years later. So I try to picture them in the scenes. I can't really. How can you picture 14-15 year old kids doing the "work" of soldiers? And that is surely what they did. Not only carrying weapons and killing the enemy, but executing very high level and far reaching tasks, like training the Volksturm.
My biggest complaint is that it's not really a standalone book. It's really Volume 2. WARNING - if you don't want to buy the next book, don't buy this one. The next to last paragraph is typical of the last paragraph of a page-turner chapter. The final paragraph is really a rather lame attempt to summarize what the next book must surely be about.