Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler” as Want to Read:
Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  3,200 ratings  ·  499 reviews
Joining the ranks of Unbroken, Band of Brothers, and Boys in the Boat, the little-known saga of young German Jews, dubbed The Ritchie Boys, who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s, came of age in America, and returned to Europe at enormous personal risk as members of the U.S. Army to play a key role in the Allied victory.

In 1942, the U.S. Army unleashed one of its greatest secr
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published July 25th 2017 by William Morrow
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,200 ratings  ·  499 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such a well written and researched account of six young Jewish men whose parents were lucky to enough to get them safely out of Nazi occupied Europe to America. These men later enlisted in the US Army to fight for their adopted homeland and the families who were left behind in Germany.

I had never heard of the The Ritchie Boys and how two thousand German-born Jews were able to get the crucial intelligence that saved American lives and helped win World War II. This account follows six of these c
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs, first-reads
We immigrant newcomers were proud of the contribution we provided in the war effort, although it was not known about or greatly appreciated by many Americans. Even if we were only small pieces in an elaborate jigsaw puzzle that had to be assembled in order to win the war, we German-speaking refugees were like 'natural resources' in America's fight against Hitler and the Nazis." - Martin Selling

I had not heard of the Ritchie Boys, newly immigrated Jews who escaped Hitler and joined the military t
Jill Meyer
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think most readers of WW2 histories know a bit about the American and British soldiers who translated for the Allies in occupied Germany after the war. These men often did more than just interpret; many were hunters of war criminals and did other investigative work. Most of these men - native German speakers - were Jewish and had left Germany in the 1930's and early 1940's for safety in the United States and Britain. Many left family members behind who were lost in the Holocaust.

Bruce Henderso
Emily Onufer
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book for free through the Goodreads Giveaways program. This book was expertly written, compelling, and compiled a significant amount of research to tell a very important story. My only complaint was that at times, I felt there were too many characters to keep track of easily, and I sometimes found myself flipping back to remind myself of each character's background and story. This book would make a great film - it is a fantastic story that so many more people should be ...more
Steven Z.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
During World War II there was a little known group of men who were trained at Camp Ritchie, Maryland. Their extensive classwork and field training was designed to prepare them to interrogate German prisoners of war and gather intelligence to be used against Nazi forces. What became known as the “Ritchie Boys” was formed in mid-1942 and was made up of 1985 German born Jews who had immigrated to the United States in response to Nazi persecution particularly after Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, Kr ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was a goodreads giveaway winner of this very interesting book. I would give this a 4.5. For years I have been interested in reading about the Holocaust. This book takes a different take on those horrific years. "Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler" this book focuses on a group of Jewish boys who were sent to America to escape the Holocaust they were sent by family so they could carry on the family name. These tee ...more
Doug Phillips
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Spend any time in the “History of World War 2” section in a library or a book store (remember those?), and you’ll see a range of fiction and non-fiction works detailing aspects of the war experience. Bruce Henderson took me to a new understanding of relatively unsung heroes with “Sons and Soldiers”.

Without reading any reviews of this book (a purposeful strategy), I let the author lead me through this interesting work that consists of several very personal stories that all share the common thread
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
On par with The Boys in the Boat. This is a little known story that deserves to be well known.
Dec 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary book. This book follows the parallel lives of seven Camp Ritchie boys, from their immigration to America early in WWII, their enlistment into the Army, training at Camp Ritchie in military intelligence, return to Europe during Normandy and subsequent invasions, interrogation of German POWs, discovery of the concentration camps and finally the search for their Jewish relatives many of whom did not survive the concentration camps.

The latter portion of the book that covers the liberat
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! As someone who has read a lot about WWII, this is the first I've ever read of the Ritchie Boys.

There are two components to my praise of this book:

1) The writing was well written and easy to read. Very often non-fiction books are boring, long winded or written text book style but this book was written to be read. Once I picked this up I couldn't put it down and had it in my hands or on me waiting to be read for the best of two days. Despite being over 380 pages, I finished it in about
Benjamin baschinsky
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mr Henderson weaves a great story with a healthy amount of research.
I thought it might get redundant, however he advances the story with ease.
For those who like little known stories of World War II, this it it !!!
Rebecca Hill
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Before the beginning of World War II, a new power was rising in Germany. It was a party that had only one doctrine, and it was willing to annihilate anyone that stood within their path to achieve what they saw as a true and pure race. One where they were the dominating force, subjugating the rest of the world to their will. As the Nazi party rose within the country, and German nationalism rose, there were just as many living with the Germany territories that were afraid for the future. While man ...more
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book follows the story of some of the Ritchie Boys. They were a number of Jewish teenagers who escaped Nazi Germany in the 1930's and made their way to the United States. There they wound up joining the armed forces and were sent to Camp Ritchie Maryland where they were trained for IPW - Interrogation of Prisoners of War. The book then follows them through D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and on to the liberation of concentration camps.

The book is well written, endlessly interesting and what
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Author Bruce Henderson has once again created a fascinating narrative – in this volume, the story of young German Jewish men who, having escaped Germany, served in the U.S. Army interrogating German POWs to gather intelligence. He follows several of them as they cross Europe, often on the front lines, and describes their successful efforts to collect vital information for the war effort – as well as their efforts to find their own families after the war. A sobering story and an excellent tribute ...more
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m a sucker for books like this. Best of all, I wasn’t familiar with this aspect of the war (the subtitle sums it up), so it was a new adventure. Remarkable stories, remarkable men.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wish-list, history
This is indeed an untold story. The Richie Boys portrayed in this book are German-Jews who escaped from Germany in their youth and came across to America. When we entered the war these same boys wanted to help their adopted country fight Hitler.

The US Army were signing up men who could speak fluent German to join the US troops and help interrogate captured German soldiers. At first I thought that's all they would do, interrogate, but they did so much more. Besides parachuting down on D-day, dri
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Love when I read a WWII book from a new perspective I’ve never read before! Loved these boys and their stories. It taught me new things about those trying to immigrate in the 30’s and about the poor German soldiers who didn’t want to be there. Great read, great narrator. It tells the story of many different boys and so keeping them all straight did prove slightly difficult just because I was listening, but in the end it didn’t really matter and he actually did a great job of giving you a little ...more
This is such a powerful story that was both engaging and fascinating. The book is quite long, but it didn't feel that way. Immediately, I felt like I belonged in the world of the Ritchie Boys, and I could connect with them right away. The story is at times raw and painful, at times inspiring and thought-provoking. The writing makes the characters and plot shine, and ultimately, it is an excellent historical read. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in reading WWII American-Jewish h ...more
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Incredible story. Inspiring & occaisionally frightening. There are sections that transport the reader to a place where you may break out in a cold sweat... a must read for all history lovers. ...more
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Originally published at Reading Reality

The part of World War II history that is outlined in Sons and Soldiers is history that should be more widely known. But just like the story of the Navajo Code Talkers, has been shrouded in secrecy until relatively recently. Hopefully, Sons and Soldiers will be the first book of many to relate this important and fascinating piece of history, and the story will become as well-known as it ought to be.

Using diaries and interviews from a representative sample of
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
A fascinating book about a handful of young Jewish men who escaped Nazi Germany, signed up with the U.S. army, and returned to Europe during WW2 to help interrogate German prisoners. This was definitely a worthwhile read. True, there were some sobering and stomach-churning scenes in which the atrocities of Nazi cruelty to Jews were detailed. But I need to be reminded of just how horrible the Third Reich was. At other points, the book was filled with interesting stories and adventures and chance ...more
Tim Johnson
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Didn’t know this story of Jewish boys who escaped Nazi Germany but returned as American soldiers in WW2. Loved it!
Jackaline Rutter
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This just might be the best book I’ve read. Had me in tears. Scary this was not that log ago.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When Gunther Stern was in school in Germany, the students were assigned to cut out pages from their books and replace them with new pages. He realized the pages being taken out of the books all dealt with major accomplishments by Jews. Later on, while he was in college in the United States and was called “Guy,” he had the opportunity to interview German novelist Thomas Mann, winner of the1929 Nobel Prize in literature , who told him "dictators can never be appeased because they will never be sa ...more
Valerie Campbell Ackroyd
Meticulously researched, compulsive war memoirs

I would not have chosen to read this book myself as I am not one for reading soldiers’ memoirs. I find them too heart rending and have always leaned toward pacifism since reading Vera Brittain;s searing “Testament of Youth” about World War I. This book was chosen by my book club and as I started reading it I was so completely taken in by the stories of five (I think?) young Jewish German boys who escaped to the US shortly before World War II, then v
Jenny Kim
Aug 20, 2017 rated it liked it
My current rating is somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars.

I thought every conceivable stories/and perspectives of WWII has been done but I was wrong. This book provided a new perspective and insight not covered, that of Jewish children/young adults in Germany who escape the persecution by immigrating while there was a chance. The author selects a few of them to tell their stories before Nazi came into full power, their escape to United States and how they ended up playing essential roles in defeati
I hadn’t heard of this unputdownable narrative nonfiction work or the Ritchie Boys, until I saw this was on the new shelf at my public library. (My dad rarely talked about his service in World War II. He was drafted, because as a German Jew he was an “enemy alien,” and would not have been allowed to enlist. As a German, French, Dutch and more speaker, I remember him telling me he was asked to join a program. But he didn’t want to, except that’s not how the Army worked or works.)

The book is abou
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Okay, wow. There are so many points of view and facets to WWII and this one had me riveted. Admittedly, I mixed up the men until I drew pictures in my head, but it didn’t matter as much as the overall picture. Essentially, there were quite a number of German Jews that immigrated to the US, joined the military, then were trained as interrogators. Nobody knew the nuances, the culture, the psychology better than a former German rejected by his own country?

The author tells each story in different se
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading in every History class in America starting TODAY! I had never heard of The Ritchie Boys and their WWII connection. It appears that the US Military thought that maybe some German speakers would be able to help interrogate in the filed & get timely info for the battle commanders in WWII. The Army started looking for young men who could help, and the Ritchie Boys were born. Mainly German born Jews, who became Americans risked their lives by fighting/interrogatin ...more
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was a Goodreads winner of this book. A book about all the cruelty and savagery during WW II but also some aspects of humanity. That human nature is not just black and white but mixed with a lot of gray areas. I have read many books about the war, concentration camps and about the Nazis but this is unique in telling us the story of the Jews who fought with the U.S. Those men are courageous individuals who took a stand by not allowing themselves to become passive bystanders just to save their ow ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Jersey Brothers: A Missing Naval Officer in the Pacific and His Family's Quest to Bring Him Home
  • Dead Reckoning: The Story of How Johnny Mitchell and His Fighter Pilots Took on Admiral Yamamoto and Avenged Pearl Harbor
  • Iwo Jima: World War II Veterans Remember the Greatest Battle of the Pacific
  • Never Call Me a Hero: A Legendary American Dive-Bomber Pilot Remembers the Battle of Midway
  • Alien Secrets (Solar Warden #1)
  • Return to the Reich: A Holocaust Refugee’s Secret Mission to Defeat the Nazis
  • The Force: The Legendary Special Ops Unit and WWII's Mission Impossible
  • Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel
  • Flyboys: A True Story of Courage
  • One Child in Berlin
  • Night of the Assassins: The Untold Story of Hitler's Plot to Kill FDR, Churchill, and Stalin
  • The Emperor's Wolves (Wolves of Elantra #1; Chronicles of Elantra #0.1)
  • Red Sky Over Hawaii
  • D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II
  • Killing the SS: The Hunt for the Worst War Criminals in History
  • Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the 116 Days that Changed the World
  • Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives In World War II
See similar books…
Bruce Henderson is the author of more than twenty nonfiction books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller And the Sea Will Tell. His latest book, Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler, will be published by William Morrow in July 2017. An award-winning journalist and author, Henderson has taught reporting at USC Sc ...more

News & Interviews

You know the saying: There's no time like the present...unless you're looking for a distraction from the current moment. In that case, we can't...
54 likes · 24 comments
“nearly 60 percent of the credible intelligence gathered in Europe came from Ritchie Boys.” 1 likes
More quotes…