Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: The Nazi Hunters

The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi
By Neal Bascomb
Published 2013 by Arthur A. Levine Books

It sounds unbelievable - a notorious Nazi simply disappeared one day, and everyone believed he was in hiding somewhere. A determined group of men, including Israeli spies and survivors of World War II, would stop at nothing to track him down and bring him to justice. But it happened in real life and this thrilling book is going to tell you how it all went down.

I waited, very impatiently I'll admit, for this book to arrive at our library just prior to the Youth Media Awards announcement. I really wanted to read all the Morris and Nonfiction Award shortlist titles prior to the announcement. I was thrilled when it finally showed up and even more excited once I started reading it.

This book is perfect for non-fiction readers, readers fascinated with history (particularly during wartime), and those who think they don't like reading chapter books. I'm impressed with Bascomb's ability to create a pitch-perfect level of tension surrounding events that have already occurred. Though I don't think many kids will have heard this story before, it still can be difficult to create suspense around a plot when the outcome is already known. Bascomb does a terrific job of this. This book reads like a thriller novel and I can definitely see myself handing this to kids who love non-fiction but are being encouraged to seek out longer reads (like most children's departments, our non-fiction section is chockful of extremely thin volumes). This book does a great job including archival photographs and has good back matter. My only problem was keeping the many people involved in Eichmann's capture straight in my head - there were quite a few of them. In terms of audience, I'd probably recommend this for 5th grade and up. Very well done, and deserving of its award win.

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