Monday, February 24, 2014

Nonfiction Monday: Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb

Nonfiction Monday is a weekly meme in the Kidlitosphere that invites bloggers to read and review a nonfiction book on Monday as a way to promote high-quality nonfiction titles.  For a complete round-up of Nonfiction Monday posts, visit the blog!

Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb

In the aftermath of World War II, many Nazi leaders were made to account for their transgressions and accept punishment for their role in the Holocaust of over 6 million Jews through the Nuremberg Trials. Some of the most horrific actors, however, managed to escape Germany, fleeing to other countries and assuming new identities in hopes to evade capture and accountability.  One such man was Adolf Eichmann, the head of operations for The Final Solution - the rounding up and shipping off of Jews to death camps. After the war, Eichmann fled to South America and lived there for many years without anyone’s notice. After a team of Israeli spies are tipped off to his whereabouts a massive covert operation spanning several years begins.  The goal: take Eichmann alive and willing to stand trial for his crimes in Israel.  And don’t let anyone find out about the plan until he’s been safely transported to Jerusalem.

Filled with suspense and research backed by interviews, tons of photos, forgeries and kidnapping diagrams, you’ll quickly understand why this title won the 2014 YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award.  A must for any collection for 12-18 year olds*.

*Oh, and the trim size only adds another reason to love this book.  I can't be the only middle school librarian who squeals with delight when a nonfiction book is published in trade size (like a novel) instead of picture book size, can I? I can't get my kids to read the ones that look like picture books, but they will eagerly checkout something that *looks* like "adult" nonfiction.

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  1. Nonfiction disguised as a novel! Perfect! I found that NF written this was is so much more accessible (even to grown ups) I recently gifted The Boys in the Boat to my husband and he loved it! Would also recommend Anubis ( Egyptian mythology) a superb NF also in paperback style.. I think it would be a good fit for kids who love mythology.
    -Reshama @ Stackingbooks

  2. I thought both the content and the format of this book were excellent (and thanks for sending me the ARC a while ago, Alicia!).

    My only caveat is that, because of its short length and bright-colored cover, it looks just a little too children's-y, as opposed to YA-y. A parent of a 9-year-old asked me last week if it would be okay for her kid, and I said I wouldn't necessarily recommend it...primarily because of the second half, where readers get to hear Eichmann trying to defend himself in his own words (including his insistence that he likes Jews and his quotation of a major Hebrew prayer), and have to reconcile his wartime actions with the pathetic creature he's become. Some 9-year-olds would be fine with that, but as a general rule 12+ seems like a better bet.

    p.s. glad to see you back on the blog!