Saturday, March 27, 2010

Book Review: Soldier X by Don Wulffson

Based on a true story. 16 year old Erik is drafted into Hilter's army in 1944 and sent to the Russian front as an interpreter thanks to his fluent command of the language. When his unit is overrun, an injured Erik decides his only chance for survival is to masquerade as a Russian soldier.

This has one of the best prologues I've ever read. Two pages - but they pack a punch. I read them aloud to Daniel, and he's hooked!

The prose is simple and unadorned here - ideal for a story which gives such insight into the horrors of war. Erik is a great protagonist. Even though he is a German, he is also Russian. Even though he is a soldier, he is also still a child. He is able to look beyond the surface - the uniform, the language - and see the person inside.

In a time when one was considered lucky just to survive, in addition to his setbacks, Erik is allowed by fate to experience genuinely happy moments, and even to fall in love. The story reminded me a little bit of the movie Europa, Europa - though that was a jew masquerading as a Hitler Youth. Both are really incredible true stories.

SOLDIER X is available in paperback. Find out more about it at the publisher's website.

16 comments:

~The Book Pixie said...

I am completely fascinated by the WWII period, particularly involving Germany and the Holocaust. I've had this book on my wishlist for quite some time now and really can't wait to read it. Thanks for the review. :D

~Briana

bermudaonion said...

Wow, that sounds like a powerful story. I can't imagine drafting a 16 year old.

Readingjunky said...

Thanks for reminding me about this one. It is on my classroom shelf and was quite popular a number of years ago, but no one has checked it out lately. I'll have to "booktalk" it next week and get them reading it again.

RJ

Staci said...

This is a popular book at my school. My son really got into it also!

Jody said...

This looks so fascinating!

Elise said...

This book sounds great! There is so much fiction based on that period, a lot of which can be similar and not entirely factual. This doesn't sound like that, and I also like the fact that it is from the point of view of a 16-year-old. Great review, thanks.

Elise
http://onceohmarvellousonce.blogspot.com/

Beth S. said...

Going on my "to-read" list right now!

Library Cat said...

I try to always read Holocaust related books, especially those for YA and younger. Visit my blogs at Sunday Sidelines and Holocaust Resources.
Thank you for the great review.

Kristi said...

I love books from this historical period and setting. Thanks for he recommendation - I will be adding it to my Goodreads now!

limo hire said...

Luckiest one..impressive..

Marie said...

Wow, sounds like a neat book! Great review.

Kathleen said...

I enjoy reading books set in this time period and this sounds like a good one!

Zibilee said...

This sounds like one hell of a book! I am interested in this time period, but don't think I have ever read a story quite like this one. Thanks for the great review, this one jumps to the top of my list after reading your post!

Anna said...

Okay, I'm going to have to get my paws on this book! I hope it's okay to link to your review on War Through the Generations.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

2Steps4rmH311 Luv said...

I first read this book in eighth grade and I honestly hated reading back then, but this book somehow got me hooked. I was unfortunately un able to finnish the rest cause the school library had wanted the books back lol. so for years i had to search for it but now that i have a job I was able to order it through Amazon.
This book is just so amazing and the manurisum that it was written in allows you to vividly imagine what was going on as you read and just the story in general is so awe inspirring that i was feeling the pain of the charactes as if i was in it myself.
you so far have the nicest review ive seen out of the other eight that I have read. : )

2Steps4rmH311 Luv said...

When I first read Soldier X, I was in 8th Grade and it was required that our class read it, well i honestly hated reading books back then and didnt really care much for this kind of stuff but as the class started reading it i was hooked , unfortunate i was unable to finnish reading the whole thing cause other teachers had wanted their class to read the the book,
This Book was just incredible to read once again for the second time in a long time. beautifully, vividly, written in great detail. sad funny and inspiring aswell as full of compassion.
So years later i was finally able to get a hold of it through amazon, just last week.
You by far have the best review of it out of all the other revies that I have read. : )