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Monday, September 30, 2013
The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb: Narrative Non-fiction
The men that played pivotal parts in the "Final Solution" were a group of high-ranked Nazis, given the task to eradicate the Jews. They were the faces of darkness and evil, burned into the memories of the Jewish people who went through the process of genocide. Adolf Eichmann was one of those faces burned into survivors' memories. As head of operations for the "Final Solution, he showed no emotion as he lied to Jews and sent them to be killed without a second thought. At the end of the war, Eichmann went into hiding and was never seen again...until thirteen years later...
While some people actively sought out where he was, there were others who happened to stumble upon the information, and once Eichmann was identified, Israel began an incredibly detailed plot to find, capture and bring him to justice on Israeli soil. This is their story.
But Bascomb also writes a multi-layered non-fiction book that shows different viewpoints of Jewish survivors, leaders of nations, Nazi war criminals and their families, and innocent people who played a pivotal role in Eichmann's capture. It's also a book about spies and one of the best kept secrets of the time. From Germany to Israel, the United States to Argentina, Bascomb takes the reader on an epic journey to find justice to many who still bore the tattoos of survival. While teens today look at World War II as history from a long time ago, the day Eichmann was sentenced for his war crimes was only a mere fifteen years since the ending of the war and the horrors and scars the Nazi party left behind.
Taking cues from traditional history of World War II, Bascomb builds on it with the most sensational news and retribution the Jewish nation of Israel went through in the early stages of building a nation. The spies who undertook this effort not only underwent physical stress and turmoil, but it also took an emotional toll on them by forcing them into Eichmann's life and looking into the eyes of the man who killed their families and friends.
This is one of those non-fiction books that will reach out to YA readers and keep them riveted until the last page. And when they're doing reading, this story will take them online to find out more. That's the first thing I did after reading the citations (which are interesting in and of itself). It's hard to wrap my mind around this hatred and cold-heartedness of the Nazis, and there were moments in the book that chilled me, but that's what a good book will do. HIGHLY recommended!