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The Brigade: An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation & World War II
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The Brigade: An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation & World War II

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  504 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
An epic true story of three men & one woman who set out to fight a war & in the process help to create a nation.
11/1944. The European war is drawing to a close when the British government agrees to send a brigade of 5000 Jewish volunteers from Palestine to Europe to fight the German army. Among these soldiers are Israel Carmi, a veteran of the Haganah underground,
Hardcover, 1st, 336 pages
Published November 6th 2001 by HarperCollins (NYC) (first published 2001)
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Jan 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Artfully written account of the Jewish Brigade's history during the Second World War fighting as part of the British Eighth Army in the Italian campaign against the Germans towards the war's end. I found this to be a real page turner as the book's exciting episodes unfolded.

Blum's skill lies with his merging of both the Brigade's own history and the individual stories of three of its members. All of which is based on extensive and painstaking research of published and unpublished histories as w
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ww11
This is a highly rated book for a reason.
The BRIGADE story is an EPIC story. It is a TRUE story that many don't know about. You see, the BRIGADE is not just any group of soldiers ---- they are all Jewish - 5000 strong. They were recruited by the British as volunteers.
The author - Howard Blum - highlighted three Jewish friends that spearheaded the war on the Germans. It wasn't always pretty when they found the hunted Germans during the war.
It was even worse after the end of World War 11. Findi
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Kent Horner
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
The true story of a British brigade (5000 troops) made up entirely of Jewish soldiers, (Israel was not a nation yet) being able to fight against the Germans in WWII sounded interesting to me. The opportunity given these soldiers to go into combat with the Third Reich, the nation who had every intention in annihilating their existence, was short lived because they were not given that opportunity until the war was all but over. However when the war was over they set out to find and kill the SS “b ...more
May 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
Interesting and entertaining non-fiction about the 5,000 or so Jews who fought at the end of WW2 against the Nazis. While they only got into a few combat missions at the end of the war--it's what some of them did AFTER the war that really makes this a worthy read for WW2 buffs.

A small group of men post-war did two things: smuggled thousands and thousands of Jews out of Europe and into Palestine (soon to become Israel) and formed a death squad that would locate Nazis in hiding and then execute th
Erik Graff
Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: WWII, Jewish state formation fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
I've read several of Blum's engrossing books now. This has been the most moving, it being the story of the 'Jewish Brigade' within the British army during the closing months of WWII as seen primarily from the perspectives of three of its members, all of whom also participated in the smuggling of Jewish refugees into Palestine after the war.
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books about WW2 Ive ever read. I love how the Jewish people can finally be recognized for helping destroy the third Reich.
David Stark
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Howard Blum’s The Brigade follows three soldiers of the Jewish Infantry Brigade Group through the late part of World War II and into 1948 as the Israeli Defense Forces fought to protect the new State of Israel. The Brigade also follows the changing roles of the main characters from soldiers, to assassins, and finally to rescuers of Jewish refugees, and finally to defenders of the State of Israel. One of the biggest themes in the book was that of redemption, especially in the case of Captain Jona ...more
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An outstanding narrative of the little known saga of the Jewish Brigade during and after WW II. Blum does an excellent job of keeping a reader riveted to the story, focusing on three friends who served in the Jewish Brigade. I found the details of the Brigades activities after the end of the war especially interesting. Although I am not Jewish nor Israeli, the story of the exodus of Jews from Europe to Palestine after the war ended forms the foundation for the modern state of Israel. After the a ...more
Jun 03, 2009 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the content of this book. The true story of this group's attempt to smuggle the Jews of our Europe in the last days of WWII was something I had not heard much about before. I liked the fact that the author decided to tell the story from the perspective of three individuals, it made the reader connect more with the story. The author did very good research and obviously paid a lot of attention to getting the facts correct.

I did think that the writing style lacked somewhat. It was
Kurt W. DeAngelis
How a war ends and a nation begins ... The Brigade should not be missed.

First hand account by leaders of the Jewish Brigade offers a unique view of life under British rule, Anti-Semitism within the ranks of the British Army, the final battles of WWII, the creation of the nation of Israel and the daring exploits undertaken to bring it about. I have great respect for the three heroes the book centers around and the thousands of others who risked so much.

Wonderful read ... time well spent.
Bobby R. Childree
Excellent Jewish History

This is not a historical fiction novel, although it may read like one. Blum has done the almost impossible task of digging out even the storylines from revealing sources. He has cobbled one excellent story from the stories of three separate real men, and the story appears to be of one thread. These very men and hundreds more just like them were responsible for the birth of the modern nation of Israel. Without the personal sacrifices of these men and many thousands more, t
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting tale of the Jewish Brigade sent by the British to fight in the European campaign at the close of the Second World War. They were kept out of much of the fighting by the British high command but this details how they learned to fight which would serve them well in the battle for Israeli independence. It tells of the struggles of many of the men to deal with Nazi atrocities and the search of one for his sister and her tale of survival after the murder of their parents.
Patricia Kitto
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well researched, well written, honest, and a story that needed telling. I thought I had read pretty much everything about WWII but obviously I still have a lot to learn. A little less now having read this book.
J.T.K. Gibbs
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow! A part of WWII I wish was in more history books. We read so little about how others, not only the GIs, were NOT victims but took an active part in saving themselves and building a life for all Jews. Bravo!
Aug 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.75. The Jewish Brigade is a part of WWII that I knew nothing about. The book is well researched and well written with first hand accounts from the 4 main characters.
Bill Klanderman
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really fascinating book. Jewish heroes during WWII. The Brits were not entirely without fault in the lead up to the emergence of the State of Israel.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a fabulous book!!!
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Students of Zionist history will have heard of the British organized Jewish Brigade, recruited in Palestine and deployed to Italy in 1944 and 1945. Thousands of Jewish soldiers trained under the British and played a combat role in the Italian campaign against the Germans. Their training and experience would prove a valuable asset to the Haganah in 1947 and 1948 as the new State fought for its existence. Howard Blum's telling of this chapter of pre-State Jewish history is built on the narratives ...more
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-history
The end of the nineteenth century brought the rise of the Zionist movement that inspired Jews from Europe to immigrate to Palestine. This did not sit well with the Ottoman Turks who controlled the area, but it was supported by Great Britain, who would push the Ottoman Empire out of Palestine during the First World War. After WWI, the League of Nations awarded Britain a formal mandate to administer the region. This “British Mandate” was in effect from 1922 until the state of Israel declared indep ...more
Mar 08, 2012 marked it as to-read
Sounds like it will be good! The description is:

"November 1944. The British government finally agrees to send a brigade of 5,000 Jewish volunteers from Palestine to Europe to fight the German army. But when the war ends and the soldiers witness firsthand the horrors their people have suffered in the concentration camps, the men launch a brutal and calculating campaign of vengeance, forming secret squads to identify, locate, and kill Nazi officers in hiding. Their own ferocity threatens to overw
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Terrific book about the Jewish Brigade from Palestine at the end of WWII. At the end of the war the British finally (and reluctantly) allowed a brigade of Jewish soldiers to go to Europe to fight. Many of those were in Haganah, the underground Jewish resistance against British rule in Palestine - who not only wanted vengeance against the Nazis but also to get back to Palestine to fight for their own freedom. Their heroics and personal battles for redemption and meaning are riveting. What some tu ...more
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
A very interesting book that reads in part like a personal memoir and in part an historical record. The thorough research and interviews of the main subjects of the book allowed the author to present this book in a very dramatic manner. This book fills a gap in the history of WWII by telling the story of the Jewish Brigade. While their contribution to winning WWII may have been a token one, this experience legitimized the Brigade's place as a fighting force representing a Jewish nation to-be. Th ...more
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Epic story of Jewish soldiers in a British battalion during the end of WW2. They were sent to Italy, thinking they would stay out of the way by the brits, but they ended up being at the crossroads of refugees, nazi's on the run, and top level secrets.

The 3 men highlighted in this book are balls to the wall, all in, do whatever it takes men. The kind you want in your side. They exterminated hidden nazi's, and freed thousands of Jews lingering in refugee camps. On the whole, this is one of the mos
Nicole Crosby
If this book was just about the Brigade, I probably would have given it 4 stars. But there were parts about the soldiers family, particularly Leah Pinchuk, that I thought were far more interesting than the main book. I found myself disappointed when the chapter flipped back to the Brigade and left Leah. That being said I think everyone should give this book a chance. Not many know there was a Jewish Brigade fighting the Nazis, and this book educates on the matter in a comprehensive and interesti ...more
Dana Woodaman
Sep 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing and inspiring book about the Jewish Brigade that fought the Nazis at the end of WWII - and no, I had never heard about them either.
But there is a lot more to this book than just the fighting, there is also the story of how, after the end of the war, members of the Brigade saved thousands of displaced Jews from rotting and probably dying in displaced person camps.
I could not put this book down, and can't recommend it highly enough.
May 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
About 2.5 stars. While the story of a brigade of 5,000 Jewish soldiers fighting the Nazis at the end of World War 2 was interesting, I enjoyed the more personal stories of their family members and why so many felt the need for a homeland after the war. This story also relays the brigade's secret plans to move the Jewish survivors to Palestine despite the British prohibition on settling in Palestine.
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is PG-13 due to two "f" words but I didn't really mind since it was a true account. Maybe I should have but that is just me. This was a very interesting account of a small Jewish brigade that was finally allowed to fight the Nazis towards the end of the war. I would have given it 5 stars but, since I've read historical accounts by Erik Larson, other authors just don't seem to bring the same spark to the narrative.
Apr 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Quite a book. I've read several books by Howard Blum and have enjoyed them all. This one, like the others, is an amazing story well told. The book follows three men in the Jewish Brigade of the British army during WWII. It's amazing to follow their path into combat, revenge and finally redemption. It's always difficult to read about the Holocaust, but reading about how it affected these men and how they dealt with it is surprising and powerful.
Chase Metcalf
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Excellent story of the Jewish Brigade in the British Army in World War II and its activities in Germany following the war as it first sought vege nance and then redemption. A truly riveting tale centered around a small number of characters who felt compelled to fight for there people against the Nazis and then the British. Well written and compelling this book reads like a spy novel as much as a history.
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Howard Blum is the author of New York Times bestsellers including Dark Invasion, the Edgar Award–winner American Lightning, as well as Wanted!, The Gold Exodus, Gangland, and The Floor of Heaven. Blum is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. While at the New York Times, he was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He is the father of three children, and lives in Connect ...more
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“Now was the moment for the Jews to turn the tables. To repay not just the Nazis, but all the centuries of persecution. Perhaps the time had finally come for Jewish soldiers to unleash all restraints.” 0 likes
“Deutschland Kaput! Kein Reich, Kein Volk, Kein Führer! Die Juden Kommen!” Trucks veered out of line to smash into men bicycling on the other side of the road. At night, soldiers looking for revenge sneaked into villages, assaulting women, burning houses.” 0 likes
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