Sons and Soldiers
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 secret weapons in the battle to defeat Adolf Hitler: training nearly 2,000 German-born Jews in special interrogation techniques and making use of their mastery of the German language, history, and customs. Known as the Ritchie Boys, they were sent in small, elite teams to join every major combat unit in Europe, where they interrogated German POWs and gathered crucial intelligence that saved American lives and helped win the war.Though they knew what the Nazis would do to them if they were captured, the Ritchie Boys eagerly joined the fight to defeat Hitler. As they did, many of them did not know the fates of their own families left behind in occupied Europe. Taking part in every major campaign in Europe, they collected key tactical intelligence on enemy strength, troop and armored movements, and defensive positions. A postwar Army report found that more than sixty percent of the credible intelligence gathered in Europe came from the Ritchie Boys.Bruce Henderson draws on personal interviews with many surviving veterans and extensive archival research to bring this never-before-told chapter of the Second World War to light. Sons and Soldiers traces their stories from childhood and their escapes from Nazi Germany, through their feats and sacrifices during the war, to their desperate attempts to find their missing loved ones in war-torn Europe. Sons and Soldiers is an epic story of heroism, courage, and patriotism that will not soon be forgotten.

Sons and Soldiers Details

TitleSons and Soldiers
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJul 25th, 2017
PublisherWilliam Morrow
ISBN0062419099
ISBN-139780062419095
Number of pages448 pages
Rating
GenreHistory, War, World War II, Nonfiction, Military

Sons and Soldiers Review

  • Jill Meyer
    March 29, 2017
    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 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 Henderson, in his new book, "Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Stories of the Jews who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the US Army to Fight Hitler" (whew, that some subtitle!) traces the lives of about 10 men who were lucky to leave Germany as teenagers and found safety in the United States. Wanting to give something back to their adopted homeland, many joined the US army and found themselves assigned to Fort Ritchie in Maryland, where they received training in the work they would do in Germany with the occupying forces. As native-German speakers familiar with Germany, they were able to give a valuable service to the US Army. (The British Army also used German-born Jews, but this book is only about the Americans.) Henderson writes movingly about their mission and how they carried it out. Many were also looking for relatives left behind.Bruce Henderson's a very easy writer and the book is a pleasure to read. I also bet it would make an excellent Audible book.
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  • Emily Onufer
    May 16, 2017
    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 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 aware of. Henderson's research and writing capabilities do justice to these brave men's stories.
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  • Bahramo
    May 9, 2017
    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.
  • Janis
    June 21, 2017
    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 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 to these heroic veterans. (Pub. date is July 17.)
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  • Daniel
    June 21, 2017
    This is a pretty good book that I would probably give 3.5 stars to instead of 4 if I had that option. I had a hard time with the way that the author chose to introduce all of his characters, short pages that basically glossed over the horrors that they saw and had to endure before emigrating to friendlier nations that allowed them to join in the fight against Hitler and the Nazis. That said, it is a very inspiring story of those men who saw a chance to reclaim their world against the forces of e This is a pretty good book that I would probably give 3.5 stars to instead of 4 if I had that option. I had a hard time with the way that the author chose to introduce all of his characters, short pages that basically glossed over the horrors that they saw and had to endure before emigrating to friendlier nations that allowed them to join in the fight against Hitler and the Nazis. That said, it is a very inspiring story of those men who saw a chance to reclaim their world against the forces of evil and were very real heroes in every sense of the word. Most of them wanted to actually take up arms and fight but soon learned that they could do far more good in an intelligence and interrogating capacity as they understood the nuances of language and culture of the German people in ways that American born interpreters simply could not grasp in the time frame needed. There are some very sad parts to this book and some very real loss, but in the end it is about answering the call to do what is right and standing up in the face of incredible adversity to make a real difference in a dangerous time. Worthy of inclusion into the conversation with works like Band of Brothers, this was a story that needed to be told and that I hope more people will find out about. The "Ritchie Boys" as this book calls them deserve to be known and celebrated by this country.
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  • Lynn
    March 22, 2017
    In this absolutely riveting WWII story, we follow the lives of three young German Jews who escape Nazi Europe to grow up in America. In some cases, they came alone, when there were not enough Visas for the whole family. Their stories begin to converge after they join the Army to fight Hitler's growing menace. When their language abilities are revealed, they are sent to "Camp Ritchie" to be trained as Interrogators to extract information from captured Germans.Among pages filled with the horrors o In this absolutely riveting WWII story, we follow the lives of three young German Jews who escape Nazi Europe to grow up in America. In some cases, they came alone, when there were not enough Visas for the whole family. Their stories begin to converge after they join the Army to fight Hitler's growing menace. When their language abilities are revealed, they are sent to "Camp Ritchie" to be trained as Interrogators to extract information from captured Germans.Among pages filled with the horrors of war, these young men serve their adopted country, all the while worrying about families who may still be trapped in Europe, if they are even alive.A meticulously researched and well-written history that reads like a novel. I read this EARC courtesy of Edelweiss and Wm Morrow. Pub date 07/25/17
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  • Jim
    May 27, 2017
    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 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 own lives by doing nothing. This book is an excellent read!
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  • Michael
    April 6, 2017
    Outstanding book! So inspiring and moving. Enjoyed from start to finish. Such great insight into the brave men who fought for freedom for many. This book provided such a great personal view into families and what they had to endure. I highly recommend this book. I won this book in a GoodReads Giveaway.
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  • Viva
    March 21, 2017
    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 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 48 hours.2) The content:The book was very well organized. It followed the story of several German Jews as they were forced to flee as the Nazis rose to power in Germany. It described their early days in the US, their training at Camp Ritchie in the US, their wartime stories and the aftermath. Despite it being the story of several people, their narratives didn't get mixed up during the telling of it and everything was tied up neatly at the end. I think the best part of the book was the interrogation. It went into some depth into the techniques and experiences of the different Ritchie boys. In fact, so much so that I think it should be taught in interrogation school. I surely learned more about good interrogation than anything else I've read before. Now I wonder if there was a similar school for Japanese-American speakers.Overall, a very fascinating look into the lives of these Ritchie boys, the background of early Nazi Germany, the war from their point of view and a little of the aftermath of WWII. Highly recommended.I received this book as a free review copy.
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  • Sandra Slack
    April 20, 2017
    This book makes you stop and think about how strange life can be.It is a testimony to the strength of human perseverance in the face of uncertain life and nearly certain death.Very well put together, and interesting to read.Thanks for choosing me to read it in your giveaway.
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