Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hoose, Philip. The Boys Who Challenged Hitler.

Hoose, Philip.  The Boys Who Challenged Hitler.  Macmillan/Farrar Strauss  2015  198p  $19.99  ISBN 978-0-374-30022-7   hs      Nonfiction  E-BN       

Phillip Hoose tells the story of a group of teen-aged Danish students who took on the German war machine.  Their actions soon made them heroes in Denmark and did much to encourage the development of a sustained Danish Resistance.  Denmark became a “protectorate” of Germany in April 1940.  The Danish government accepted the occupation and the populace was fairly complacent.  Life continued quietly as compared to neighboring Norway, where there was heavy fighting.  A small group of teen-aged boys from the northern city of Aalborg were appalled by their countrymen’s lack of opposition and decided to take action themselves.  They called themselves the Churchill Club.  Hoose tells the story from the viewpoint of Knud Pedersen, the 14-year-old leader of the group.  The book reads like a thriller, with its vivid first-person narrative giving great immediacy to the activities of the boys.  For almost a year, they carried out guerilla-style attacks during the day, relying on their innocent looks and youth to protect them.  They stole weapons out of German coats in restaurants and from the German barracks and committed acts of sabotage both small and significant whenever and wherever they could.   Even after they were exposed and captured, some managed to continue their efforts by slipping out of prison each night.  Their actions soon made them heroes in Denmark and did much to encourage the development of a sustained Danish Resistance.  The inspiring chronicle of the boys’ wartime exploits is enhanced by fascinating sidebar information, black-and-white photographs, an epilogue that details the lives of the participants after the war and their honoring by Churchill himself, a bibliography, chapter notes, and an index.  This is a spectacular addition to the annals of books about World War II.  This book is highly recommended for all high-school collections.

Summary: Phillip Hoose tells the story of a group of teen-aged Danish students who took on the German war machine.  Their actions soon made them heroes in Denmark and did much to encourage the development of a sustained Danish Resistance.  The inspiring chronicle of the boys’ wartime exploits is enhanced by fascinating sidebar information, black-and-white photographs, and an epilogue that details the lives of the participants after the war.         


Denmark-History, World War II                               --Susan Ogintz

No comments: