Friday, October 16, 2009
The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
If you read this author's outstanding nonfiction book called Hitler Youth, then you have heard of Helmuth Hubner, the German teenager who was executed by the Nazis for daring to speak against Hitler. In this historical novel Bartoletti takes the facts of Hubner's life and works them into a story that will be eye-opening to many readers. You know from the beginning that Helmuth is imprisoned and could be executed at any time. Through a series of flashbacks you see how he grew from a trusting boy to a teenager who saw through Nazi propaganda and lies and dared to speak against them. Helmuth's weapon was his own intelligence and ability to write. His crime was distributing pamphlets that spoke against Hitler. Readers will see how he secretly listened to British radio broadcasts, selectively involved a few of his friends, and ultimately was betrayed but never lost his courage or moral outrage. Looking back we all like to think we would have done the same, but I think very few people could have shown his bravery. Recommended for readers with an interest in World War II or history in general. This doesn't have war action like Soldier X or Soldier Boys, but it goes a long way in explaining the terrifying conditions in Germany and the reasons for Hitler's rise to power.