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Uncertain Soldier

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Erich is a prisoner of war working at a northern Alberta logging camp. Twelve-year-old Max goes to school -- reluctantly -- in the nearby town. The two would be unlikely friends, except that neither has anyone else to turn to. At the height of World War II, nobody wants to befriend a German.

It doesn't matter that Erich was forced into the military by his
Paperback, First, 265 pages
Published April 1st 2015 by Pajama Press, Inc.

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting story centered around a facet of Alberta history I'd never heard of before, namely the fact that German prisoners-of-war were housed in our province during World War II. Erich, one such POW who is decidedly not supportive of the German regime, becomes the target of some fanatic Nazi elements in the camp in Lethbridge where he is first sent. In order to escape the danger there, he is sent to work in a logging camp in northern Alberta where he becomes one of 10 German PO ...more
Edward Sullivan
An excellent historical novel offering an unusual, nuanced perspective on World War II. Compelling, complex and suspenseful.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Uncertain Soldier” a gripping story of intolerance, prejudice and friendship set against the historical backdrop of WW11 revolves around seventeen-year-old Erich Hofmeyer a German POW working as a lumberjack in a northern Alberta logging camp and twelve-year-old Max Schmidt born in Canada to a German immigrant and his wife who’s despised at school because of his ethnic heritage. Both taunted, abused and struggling to survive in a town filled with the grief, anger, and the bitterness of wartime ...more
Thomas L.
The intense, and suspenseful novel I have just finished reading titled "Uncertain Soldier" by Karen Bass has definitely kept me excited for more pieces of literature like this. This novel was a historical fiction, which I really like, mystery, and a little bit of romance to top it off. It follows the lives of two boys who are different, but very similar at the same time. Every chapter or so the point of view changes. Max is a son of a German immigrant, and Erich is German born, but is the grand ...more
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-read
----------------------------SPOILER ALERT----------------------------

I have just finished reading this amazing and thought provoking novel named Uncertain Soldier written by Karen Bass.This is a Historical Fiction Novel. It's about Erich a 17 year old German sailor in Hitters navy.After his sinks he finds himself captured in Canada. Max is a 12 year old son of German immigrants living in the fictional town of Horley, Alberta. Cora is teenage Canadian girl. Her relatives were killed in the Blitt
Gabriele Goldstone
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a unique setting for a young adult novel-a Canadian POW camp for Germans in rural Alberta. Even more interesting are the two points of, young Erich a German prisoner, the other, a local, Canadian-born youth with a German father. The tension rises and it's not until the spring thaw comes that they begin to melt. I love this writer's use of metaphor throughout the novel. Example: "His eyes were black marbles in his shadowed face."

I have a German friend whose father was in a POW ca
Sep 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Karen Bass is a masterful storyteller of historical fiction. She chose wisely to have this book unfold in the parallel stories of teenage German POW Erich and 12-year-old Max, son of German immigrants, in northern Alberta. Having two point-of-view characters doubles the impact of this tale that deals with bullying and injustice along with aspects of the Second World War that haven’t had much attention. I highly recommend this novel.
Rebecca Upjohn
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Compelling and powerful.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Uncertain Soldier

The fascinating story of Uncertain Soldier written by Karen Bass, is mainly focused on; Erich, a 17 year old German communication officer who got shipped to a Canadian camp during battle, and Max a 12 year old son of German immigrants, and on how they meet and become friends. Together they must figure out who the sabotager threatening the lives of their very own campers is? Secondly, Max needs help from his new German friend, to stop all the serious bullying going on at his sch
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
During the Second World War, a young Alberta boy, Max, the son of the only German immigrants in town, is relentlessly bullied by other kids in town because of his family origins, and finds a friend in the only place he can: Erich, one of the German POWs assigned to work a logging crew just outside town, who is himself tormented by other POWs for not being Nazi enough. Things get complicated when suspicious 'accidents' start injuring prisoners in the camp, and the more fanatical POWs pressure Eng ...more
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Book Review
Uncertain Soldier- Karen Bass

After an explosion in a submarine and a brutal beating in his old camp, Erich is a Prisoner of War, being held in a prison camp in Canada along with other Germans, some of which are suspicious of Erich’s English grandparents. Max is a young 12 year old boy that gets bullied each and every day due to his German bloodlines. In such similar situations, it is for certain their fates are entwined.

Uncertain Soldier is beautifully written and perfectly portrays t
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Uncertain Soldier
A review by a student
Uncertain Soldier is an enthralling, suspense-driven novel about the characters Erich and Max as they struggle to choose in what they believe. The bitter Canadians, who would love to see every single German being hung, or the Nazi supporters that would be equally pleased to shoot either one of them upside in the face if they dared to speak out against Germany.
Max has to deal with Richard, other bullies at his school, an indiffrent mother, and a near-hanging
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
In this novel called uncertain soldier there was three main characters. All three characters experienced various degrees of hardships due to the affiliation with Germany In that time period Erich a 17 year old German conscripted by the Nazi navy was taken prisoner in battle by the Canadian navy and served time in northern Alberta. Here he suffered at the hand of the Canadian lumberjacks. Max was a 12 year old Canadian citizen living with his family in Alberta. Because his parents were German bor ...more
Excellent YA read - historic fiction about a 17 year old German P.O.W. in WWII who finds himself in Northern Alberta for the rest of the War. Erich Hofmeyer manages to get himself onto a logging detail far from the main P.O.W. camp near Lethbridge in order to escape the more fundamental Nazi's at the camp who want to kill him for what they consider to be slandering the Third Reich and Hitler which makes him a traitor in their eyes. His crime, believing that the Germans were starting to lose the ...more
Tara Lazetic
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Nominated for the 2016 Red Maple Governor General Award

Erich was forced into a war he didn't want to be a part of.

Max is forced to go to a school where everyone shuns him about something he can't control.

When Erich is captured and shipped to one of Canada's war camps, there he gets to know the people who live in the village bordering the logging camp. There he meets Max. Now there is someone sabotaging the German workers in hopes of them being shipped back to the dangerous war camp which is
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is important for us to face the past mistakes that we have made. This is a story that allows us to begin this process.

Max lives in a small Alberta town where he is the only child of German descent. WW2 is raging overseas and he finds himself increasingly being bullied by the older boys. He gets no support from his father who believes he should stand up for himself and be proud of his German heritage.

Erich is a German P.O.W. imprisoned in a camp near Lethbridge. He is targeted by the Nazi pris
Bill Bunn
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Got around to finishing this one last evening. It's a great read. Loaded with Alberta history, the story offers a glimpse at the tensions WWII had on Albertans and the Prisoners of War who came to be housed in this province.

The story follows two characters. A younger boy named Max and an older teen named Erich. Max is a the son of recent German immigrants to Alberta. Erich was forced to enlist in the German Navy as a 17 year-old. His ship is sunk, and he's rescued by the Canadian Navy. He's now
Check out more reviews on my blog!

Uncertain Soldier follows two boys in Alberta during the 1940’s. Max is a Canadian seventh grader of German descent, and Erich, a German prisoner of war who doesn’t believe in Nazism. When no one wants to befriend a German, they turn to each other.

As a whole, this book is great. The writing, the plot, and the characters make for an amazing read all around. The writing is amazing, and it accents the story elements perfectly
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Told from the points of view of two protagonists, Uncertain Soldier tells the stories of Erich, a German Nazi captured at sea and Max, a 12 year old Canadian son of a German immigrant. Both are facing the racist and increasingly violent attitudes of the local Alberta population. Erich is sent to a logging camp where the prisoners are treated fairly well in exchange for long hours in the bush cutting down trees. Max lives in the nearby town and he is being bullied relentlessly for his German heri ...more
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
I liked the idea of this book, two boys burdened with labels they do not want and cannot escape. Erich is a German prisoner of war detained in Alberta; Max is from a German immigrant family. In the small Alberta logging community where they meet, too many brothers and sons have been lost to the Nazis for most townsfolk to view the boys as anything other than enemies.

The Alberta setting was nicely drawn, and this little known bit of history -- that German prisoners of war were shipped to Alberta
Nicole Luiken
May 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fascinating window on Alberta history: some German POWs were sent to northern Alberta to work in a logging camp. Needless to say tensions were high, with many Canadians having relatives still fighting or dead in the war and angry at the "Jerries" as well as factions within the POWs themselves. I sympathized both with Erich (a young German soldier but no Nazi) and twelve-year-old Max, a German-Canadian boy, but Max especially got under my skin to the point where my reading slowed down a little be ...more
James Nadin
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jun15
I picked up this book because it looked interesting and it was about war. I am very interested in war, that is why I continued on with reading this book. I would recommend this book to Asia because I think she would like the action adventure side to this book. Erich starts out cutting logs as a prisoner of the Germans during WWII. He gets in a bit of trouble when the guards find a letter that his grandmother wrote to him in English, and he gets beaten up. He gets accused wrongfully of misbehavin ...more
Cheri Linton
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
This novel set in a POW camp in Lethbridge, Alberta, 1944 starts slow but powers up as a young German prisoner searches for answers as to the identity of the Canadian causing injuries and near misses to the POWs. Erich has been a victim all his life first at the hands of his brother, then the prisoners at both camps, some of the Canadians and towns people who blame the Germans for the war. Although, Erlich is brave, he tries to keep his head down and avoid trouble when that is not an option. In ...more
Heather Aubie
Apr 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: ola-red-maple, 2016
I did love this book and enjoyed discovering what I didn't know. I found that my students had a hard time getting into the book and they are the intended audience. I was patient enough to get through the beginning to understand what was going on and once I realized the struggle my students were having, I gave them some background when they borrowed it.
Rachel Seigel
Jul 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this story and learning about how WWII touched Canada, but I felt like it was heavy handed at times & trying too hard to impart a message about acceptance and understanding. Still, a great classroom tool for learning about a little discussed part of Canadian history. ...more
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chsbc-nominee
Really liked it. I think Karen Bass's writing is getting more & more polished. She deals with subject matter I've never read about, and gives a fresh perspective on some 'take-for-granted' knowledge. Like the inclusion of the kid, and of the aboriginal character. ...more
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked how it took place during World War II because it's an interesting topic to write a story about. It wasn't an amazing book and if I could I'd rate it 3.75 stars. It was still fun to read though.
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
(4.5 stars)
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Took some time but it was worth it in the end. 3.5/4
Jenny Huang
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
85% — 4.25 stars
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Karen's high school teacher told her she should be a writer, but it took quite a few years for that thought to take root. She began writing shortly after she was hired to manage the local library. Run Like Jager is her first novel. Since then she has published Summer of Fire and Drummer Girl, all with Coteau Books. Her newest novel, Graffiti Knight, was released in August 2013 (Pajama Press).

A fou

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