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

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4.37  ·  Rating details ·  2,686 ratings  ·  430 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
...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published July 25th 2017 by William Morrow
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4.37  · 
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 ·  2,686 ratings  ·  430 reviews


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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
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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
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Emily Onufer
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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Lori
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
Tammy
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.
Dan
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
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Viva
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
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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
John
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
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Abigail
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
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Janis
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
Nissa
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
Bahramo
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.
Craig
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.
Judie
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
Julia
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
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Nancy
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
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Marlene
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
...more
Jim
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
Gordon Grose
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review: Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler, by Bruce Henderson. (New York: William Morrow, 2017).

Six young German Jewish boys with their families, for the most part, escape the growing menace of Hitler’s National Socialist regime. Intent on first restricting, then destroying, all of Jewry, Hitler sets in motion not only his plan to murder as many Jews as possible. But with supreme irony, it also motivates those Je
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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
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Bruce Katz
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
A wonderful book. I had never heard of the so-called Ritchie Boys or indeed that there had been young Jewish males who were able to escape Nazi Germany and then go back later as interrogators with the American army on D-Day and after. Because they were native German speakers and familiar with German culture, society, and idioms, they were brought into a special program that trained them on interrogation techniques. They were mere boys when they left. Most of them had to leave their families behi ...more
Cheryl
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fans of history books will be thrilled with this book. Sons and Soldiers is a true, rare gem! A treasure of a read. This is the first time that I have heard the word Ritchie Boys. Reading how the boys came to be separated from their families to have a chance to live and fight for freedom is amazing. You can't help but think of today's times and the disrespect that people have for the United States. Way back as people migrated to the United States, they learned English and came to love this new w ...more
Michelle
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A part of WWII history that is heart-wrenching and inspiring. This story is a must read! Manny’s story tugged at my heart the most, as I imagined the pain his mother went through sending him away praying for his safety and that it wouldn’t be a forever goodbye (and though he was safe, they never saw each other again). The story of these German-born Jews who were fortunate to emigrate and escape murder and how they chose to go back and fight as American soldiers is difficult to do justice. But th ...more
Diana
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/interrog ...more
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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
“nearly 60 percent of the credible intelligence gathered in Europe came from Ritchie Boys.” 0 likes
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