STARRED REVIEW
August 2015

Choosing sides in war-torn Germany

By Dan Smith
History remembers the various resistance groups that cropped up during World War II, but few people know about the Edelweiss Pirates, formed by German young adults aged 14 to 17. A factually accurate portrayal of this group serves as the backdrop to My Brother’s Secret, the gripping tale of 12-year-old Karl, a staunch supporter of Hitler and the Hitler youth group to which he belongs.
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History remembers the various resistance groups that cropped up during World War II, but few people know about the Edelweiss Pirates, formed by German young adults aged 14 to 17. A factually accurate portrayal of this group serves as the backdrop to My Brother’s Secret, the gripping tale of 12-year-old Karl, a staunch supporter of Hitler and the Hitler youth group to which he belongs.

The best day of Karl’s life is when he’s recognized for having the potential to make Hitler proud—but this day is also his worst, as his family learns that his German soldier father was killed on the Russian front. Following this soul-shattering event, Karl begins to question the wisdom of blindly following Hitler, but he finds it difficult to get any real answers in this untrustworthy environment where children are encouraged to turn in their parents as enemies of the state. Karl inadvertently runs afoul of the local Gestapo, putting himself, his friends and his family in grave danger.

My Brother’s Secret weaves a heart-stopping tale that doesn’t avoid the overt brutality and subtle coercion present in Nazi Germany. Young readers will learn a great deal from this up-close and personal story.

 

This article was originally published in the August 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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My Brother’s Secret

My Brother’s Secret

By Dan Smith
Chicken House
ISBN 9780545771559

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