STARRED REVIEW
May 12, 2015

A seed of resistance

By Phillip Hoose

Set during the Nazi occupation of Denmark in World War II, The Boys Who Challenged Hitler is the true account of a group of righteously rebellious Danish teens who dared to defy their own government, as well as their deadly captors, to defend their endangered beliefs in humanity and freedom.

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Set during the Nazi occupation of Denmark in World War II, The Boys Who Challenged Hitler is the true account of a group of righteously rebellious Danish teens who dared to defy their own government, as well as their deadly captors, to defend their endangered beliefs in humanity and freedom.

Early in the war, 15-year old Knud Pedersen heard the echoes of combat nearby. He’d read in the newspaper that Nazi soldiers had attacked and invaded his neighboring country of Norway, but while the Norwegians were fighting, his own politicians in the Danish capitol were busy appeasing the Germans. Disgusted by his country’s stance, Knud decides to take matters into his own hands and assembles a group of underground schoolboy rebels to do anything they can to deter and delay the Germans. They call themselves The Churchill Club, after Great Britain’s fiery leader, and carry out most of their guerrilla attacks—destroying signs, stealing weapons, disabling cars—in broad daylight and aboard bicycles, because they have family curfews and school the next morning. But as the war grows more intense, how long can Knud and the boys evade capture? Will all their work make any difference in the grand scheme of the war? And how far will they take their sabotage?

Widely acclaimed author Phillip Hoose has written eight novels, including the National Book Award-winning Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, and he often turns his attention to historical events. He extracted the true tale of The Boys Who Challenged Hitler from 25 hours of interviews and nearly 1,000 email exchanges with Knud himself. Hoose’s unique eye for storytelling frames these immensely complex and monolithic issues through the lens of a young person’s perspective, making them interesting, relevant and fathomable.

 

Justin Barisich is a freelancer, satirist, poet and performer living in Atlanta. More of his writing can be found at littlewritingman.com.

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The Boys Who Challenged Hitler

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler

By Phillip Hoose
FSG
ISBN 9780374300227

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