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Ordinary Heroes

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,492 Ratings  ·  306 Reviews
Stewart Dubinsky knew his father had served in World War II. And he'd been told how David Dubin (as his father had Americanized the name that Stewart later reclaimed) had rescued Stewart's mother from the horror of the Balingen concentration camp. But when he discovers, after his father's death, a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancée, and learns of his father's co ...more
Hardcover, 371 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2005)
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Freda Malone
Mar 23, 2016 Freda Malone rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Save for the preface of this intensely written novel, I can honestly say without a doubt it was one of the most horrific fictional tales I’ve read about WWII. Much of the facts were present as the writer clearly explains the research he did before publishing this novel. It was enlightening chaotic! So much of WWII was confusing as it was with most wars that came ‘before’ and ‘after’. I still get nauseous when I hear about prisoners of any war, unjustly starved, tortured, and killed, just for bei ...more
Larry Bassett
Jun 03, 2012 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first time to read Scott Turow and I understand that this book is a departure from his normal writing of mystery/thrillers. He has written several nonfiction books including one on the death penalty and another on his first year at Harvard Law School as well as this historical fiction offering. There is a contingent of lawyers who have added writing fiction books to their achievements. Turow is a skilled writer and he puts his legal knowledge to good use.

Turow appears to give away the
Dec 12, 2013 Correen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The horrors of war, the limitations of law, the contradictions of society. Life is not as it appears. Turow writes of human values, of law, an of human nature. He develops his characters well and tells interesting stories, and is worth reading.
Bookmarks Magazine

Retired reporter Stewart Dubinsky last made an appearance in Presumed Innocent (1987). Here, the self-lacerating Dubinsky delves deep into his family's wartime history__one loosely based on Turow's father's experiences. For critics, the question is whether a legal-thriller writer can succeed in another genre__and the answers vary. Out of the courtroom, Turow remains an effective storyteller whose characters (Gita in particular) and details of war create immediacy and intrigue. However, his usual

Larry Hinman
Jan 21, 2012 Larry Hinman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Scott Turow's novels are thoughtful and illuminating explorations of the inter lives of men of my generation. Some might say that this would make them very short novels, but not so! This particular novel is, at least geographically, far from Turow's usual locale of Kindle County. (I assume he chose that name before Amazon;s use of it.)

One small example: the main character, in the middle of trying to sort things out in his own life, is tailing with his best friend: "...trusting Biddy [his friend
Jan 02, 2011 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never read this author. I'm impressed - good for those who enjoy this type of WW2 espionage-ish thriller; the characterizations are realistic and the story engrossing, better than the usual.
Mar 11, 2012 Tatiana rated it really liked it
I can’t explain how I connect music to books. I heard The Fray’s “How to Save a Life” on the radio in the car this afternoon and it took me back to when I was reading Ordinary Heroes. The more I thought on the link, the more Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” also came to me as associated with it. Hmm.

It’s been years (2006, I think) since I read Scott Turow’s WWII novel about a son’s journey into his father’s and mother’s pasts through letters and other written artifacts. Unlike a lot of the reviewers
Pam Carrie
Nov 01, 2012 Pam Carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Scott Turow's descriptions of the physical and mental pain faced by WWII soldiers reminded me that all wartime soldiers must come home with varying degrees of post-traumatic stress syndrome. It is difficult for some and impossible for others to assimilate back to the "normal" world.

As Stuart Dubinsky uncovers the journal kept by his father, David Dubin, he is amazed to learn about a part of his parents' lives that they never discussed. The wartime horrors and twisted political affiliations that
May 05, 2014 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this one up at my local library only because it was time for a bit of fiction, and Turow has been a safe bet, previously. I was surprised, and it turns out pleasantly so, to find that this was less a legal thriller than a story of wartime valor and intrigue. This one could be worth listening to a second time, just because it was such a pleasant experience.
Sep 25, 2013 M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-novels
This is a war story, but more than that it is the story of one man’s quest to better understand his father and in the process he comes to understand himself and humanity better as well. I like the way Mr. Turow weaves the questions who are we and why do we do the things we do to each other through the experiences of his characters. Although portions of this book highlight how cruel human beings can be, it also poses questions that left me thinking we can improve, and indeed excel beyond our wild ...more
Deb Cutler
In my opinion this book was compelling and managed to illustrate some of the complexities of a World War II. The plot worked well to introduce an "ordinary" person to the extraordinarily horrible aspects of the Nazi concentration camps. Many of us have read books by survivors and historians, but for sheer gut wrenching, rip-your-eyes-open introduction of the reality (or at least the feeling of reality) of the concentration camps, this book stands out. The plot held my interest and the characters ...more
Jarl Østerrgaard
Velskrevet roman om almindelige menneskers valg under ualmindelige omstændigheder
Nogle gange vælger jeg blot en roman, fordi forsiden ser interessant ud. Det var tilfældet med Scot Turows "Helt almindelige helte" og den bød på en rigtig spændende historie. Historien udspiller sig både i nutidens USA og i Frankrig under 2. verdenskrig. Den amerikanske kommandosoldat Robert Martin har i længere tid befundet sig ved fronten i Frankrig. Han opfører sig totalt autonomt, planlægger sammen med en lille
Sheri faulk
Aug 15, 2015 Sheri faulk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stewart Dubinsky knew his father had served in World War II. And he'd been told how David Dubin (as his father had Americanized the name that Stewart later reclaimed) had rescued Stewart's mother from the horror of the Balingen concentration camp. But when he discovers, after his father's death, a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancée, and learns of his father's court-martial and imprisonment, he is plunged into the mystery of his family's secret history and driven to uncover the truth a ...more
Oct 12, 2014 Samyann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like most war veterans, David Dubin never told his children anything about his time in the service, the horrors he witnessed. Now, he’s dead. While cleaning out a closet of his father’s old clothes, Stewart, his son, finds love letters and eventually a manuscript from the 1940s. His father loved a woman other than his mother. His father was nominated for a Silver Star during WWII. A court-martial was empowered to determine if David Dubin should be imprisoned. What else doesn’t Stewart know about ...more
Julie  Durnell
Aug 09, 2011 Julie Durnell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Julie by: Dave
An engrossing story set in WWII era. A work of fiction but also much historical fact. The atrocities of the Nazi regime and the concentration camps are horrific but are written of with compassion. The lives of the main characters are truly heroic during the raging battles in Europe and go on to lead very ordinary lives in the aftermath. This book is extremely well written and gives great insight to those who fought and lived through this time period.
As historic fiction about World War II, the story succeeds. The battles were real and the descriptions authentic. They put the reader in the midst of the danger and the carnage. The arrogance of the commanding officers is exposed as are the petty prejudices of the soldiers as well as their fear of combat and death.
Some of the information is based on facts and can be documented; some is made up out of whole cloth. There was a race to build a weapon that could split the atom and cause a level of
Jul 01, 2016 Ron rated it really liked it
This is going to be one of my favorite books of the year. A really excellent character driven story set in the present (2003-4) and during 1944-45 in World War II. There are a couple of mysteries in here as well as a legal thriller (Turow's specialty). I became quite attached to several of the characters which I regard as a sure sign of good writing. The story itself feels like a true one even though it is apparently entirely fictitious. Parts of the story are set within larger real events with ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life

"Stewart Dubinsky knew his father. David, had served in World War II, but had told very little about his experiences. When he finds, after his father's death, a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancee and learns of David's court-martial, Stewart is driven to uncover the truth about the enigmatic distant man he never knew. Using military archives, old letters, and David's own notes, he discovers that David, a JAG lawyer, had pursued a maverick U.S. officer in Europe, fallen in love w
Mar 27, 2011 Kendar88 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note: this is fiction - but feels like nonfiction.
Started a bit slow, but I really got into it when he parachuted into Bastogne and was suddenly emersed in war. The double storyline was cool and nicely woven. For a while I wondered why so much time was spent on the woman, but you find that out near the end and it makes sense. Nice story. Narrator did a great job too.
Jan 16, 2015 Gloria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This would make a good movie, but as a book I found it a bit hard-going. Stewart Dubinsky is a journalist who, after reading letters written by his father during WWII referring to his court-martial that Stewart never knew about, investigates his father's war career. The following story takes place during the last phase of the European advances by the Allies, and is the best part of the book. I found the actual historical commentary of the battles and the strategies a bit dry compared to the fath ...more
Robert Fritz
Oct 21, 2014 Robert Fritz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ordinary Heroes is a wonderfully written book about a time period when my own father was in WWII in the same locale where much of the action takes place... right before, during, and after the Battle of the Bulge. Turow takes an ordinary man and allows us to see fighting through his eyes. Many times when he has his main character mulling over events, it felt extremely true to life... I felt that I would be pondering the same questions. I realized early in reading it, that this is a book that I wo ...more
Holly Robinson
May 22, 2015 Holly Robinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WWII historical fiction with a different view of the war than most - this from a JAG officer sent on a mission that gets him in the middle of some horrific action. It's different than most of Turow's writing but I liked the story line and it didn't really have any points that dragged. The story starts in 2004 with the son of the JAG officer trying to find out more about his father's story. The pieces come together in letters and his father's own writings. This could have created a difficult stor ...more
The official description mentions

" rescued Stewart's mother from the horror of the Balingen concentration camp"

"Balingen concentration camp"??? Didn't know there was one around Balingen while living in the neighbourhood, but then again the camps and the whole history is not what Germans are exactly proud of, and they remain unmentioned in polite social discourse unless one mentions or questions and naturally evokes a hostile defensive response.

Still, we would think it is extremely unlikely ther
Doreen Fritz
Oct 28, 2014 Doreen Fritz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rb-book-club
In a sharp departure from his usual fare, Turow explores the era of WWII and the relationships between son and parents in this novel. After his father's death, Stephen Dubinski is going through his dad's closet when he finds a box of letters from a former fiancé and reads about a military court-martial that he (Stephen) had not known about. His mother is unwilling to talk about the war years other than to say that his father (David Dubin) had rescued her from the Balingen concentration camp at t ...more
Feb 02, 2015 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The middle and latter parts of this World War II tale take place at the scenes of the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of German concentration camps a few months later. It is a father-son story, with the father never talking to his children or anyone else about his wartime experiences as an officer in the U.S. Army. The reader isn’t let in on his secret and completely valid reason until his son figures it out at the very end of the story. It is a well-told story with a cast of interesting ...more
Dec 01, 2014 Zoë rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Finely crafted characters, historically accurate storyline, and a complex plot all work together to make this a marvelous read. I often thought of my father-in-law, as this book was told from the perspective of a son as well as through the letters written by the father. My father-in-law told innumerable stories about his war experiences, it was central to who he was as a person. There is much to be learned about life through these ordinary heroes. I applaude and appreciate Scott Turow for writin ...more
Feb 21, 2015 Josephine rated it did not like it
Read like the story of a man's journey to understand his father's World War II experiences. The switching between present day, recollected past and historical events unfolding became a difficult mental aerobics. Then I realized that this was actually a work of fiction, so there was no reason to torture me trying to understand who's point of view and when the events occurred. I was also totally saddened that this wasn't history. Even if it was factionalized, I wanted it to be based o actual event ...more
I guessed the big surprise before it was revealed, so when it was let loose, it was non climatic. This was a little bit of a disappointment to read, as I have enjoyed many Scott Turow's novels prior to this one. All in all, the book jumped from one generation to another, from one period of time to the present and it was a little difficult to keep my watch straight as it were. It kept itself on a straight course as much as it could with time hopping though, so I did get what it was he was trying ...more
Apr 11, 2015 Coleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finding this Turow book on a bookshelf while on vacation, I could not help but wonder why I had not read it already. After I started reading, I thought I might have read it, but as I went on, it seemed I had not? World War Two story of a Jag officer, David Dubin, who finds himself on the European front chasing Robert Martin, an OSS runabout. The book is 'written' by Dubin's son after his death as the son wants to find out why his father was court-martialed. The story contains all of the flair an ...more
Florence Millo
Jun 24, 2015 Florence Millo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stewart Dubinsky, a middle-aged reporter, knew his father served in Europe during WWII, but the war was a subject off-limits in the Dubinski household. Upon is father's death, Dubinski discovers that his father had been court-martialed and imprisoned, and sets out to find the decades-old answers. The story that follows is an emotional and painfully realistic drama of the horrors of war in the European theater.

In early 1944, and Dubinsky's father, David Dubin, is a young lawyer assigned to the U
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Scott F. Turow is an American author and a practicing lawyer. Turow has written eight fiction and two nonfiction books, which have been translated into over 20 languages and have sold over 25 million copies. Movies have been based on several of his books.

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