The book starts in the middle of World War II. It looks like the Allies are fighting a losing battle. In England, a plan is concocted to create a commando of unlikely recruits: young Jewish men who are refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe. None of them have had any previous military training. Most have been classified as “enemy aliens” due to being born in either Germany or Austria. In addition to being suspected of possibly spying for the other side, these young men have lost everything: their families, their homes, and everything/everyone they held near and dear.
Known as the X Troop, they take on new identities, are trained in secret, and have one goal: to defeat the Nazis. For these soldiers: the fight is personal. They are fighting for their homeland, fighting for the ones they love, and for justice.
The best way to describe the narrative is sort of real-life Inglorious Basterds. It was an amazing book. Dr. Garrett writes in a way that is accessible, readable, and, most importantly, a history lesson we should all learn. It reinforces the idea that European Jews were not just lambs to the slaughter. They fought in whatever capacity they could. From a personal stance, it gives me hope that there are good people out there, even in the midst of antisemitism, hate, and prejudice.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
X Troop: The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II is available wherever books are sold.
P.S. Today is Memorial Day in the States. May the men and women who gave their lives for this nation (even with its imperfections) forever be a blessing. Z”L
It takes a creative mind to take an old story and retell in a new and different way.
Quentin Tarantino‘s new movie, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, has just hit theaters. Set in Los Angeles in the late 1960’s, Rick Dalton’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) career was once red hot. But that limelight has faded. His best friend/assistant/former stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) is always by his side. While Rick and Cliff try to revive their careers, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is Hollywood’s latest it-girl. But there is danger lurking behind the bright lights and glittering facade. The Manson family is out to commit murder.
This is not the first time that Tarantino has played fast and loose with history. His 2009 film, Inglorious Basterdsalso played fast and loose with history. What I liked about this movie is that both Rick and Cliff are flawed and likable characters. They just want to return to the success they once had. As Sharon Tate, Margot Robbie tells the story of the real life woman, not the murder victim that we think of today.
If I had to name my favorite aspect of this film, it was the chilling effect of the scenes with the Manson family. Though we know now what plans they had in store, the general public knew nothing about the murders until it was headline news.
I recommend it.
Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is presently in theaters.
Warning: May contain spoilers. Read at your own risk if you have not seen this movie.
Quentin Tarantino is known for making a very specific style of movie.
His 2009 not quite historically accurate World War II movie, Inglourious Basterds, is his own take on World War II.
The movie intertwines two different stories. Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent) is a Jewish woman, whose family was murdered by Col Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz). Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) is an American servicemen whose company consists all of Jewish-American soldiers. Their task is to kill Nazi soldiers.
Only escaping with the clothes on her back, Shosanna hides in Paris as the owner of a movie theater. Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Bruhl) is a Nazi soldier who is being turned into a hero by the Nazi propaganda machine. Zoller takes an interest in Shosanna, not knowing her true identity. The Nazis plan to use Shosanna’s theater to premiere the movie about their war hero and the Basterds see the opportunity to complete their assigned task.
Is this movie historically accurate? Other than the massacre of Shosanna’s family, no. It is a typical Tarantino movie blood and gore? Yes. But that is what makes it so good. Movies are meant to entertain us, and this movie is entertaining. And I will admit that as someone who lost family in the Holocaust, I can’t help but feel that the destruction of the movie theater is payback, if only on screen.