Eighty-plus years after World War II, the stories of both civilians and soldiers continue to captivate us.
American Brush Off, by Max Willi Fischer, was published in 2020. In 1942, Lud Mueller is 17 and an average teenage boy. The son of German American immigrants family, he is as American as apple pie and baseball. Due to his lineage, Lud, his family, and thousands of others are labeled as “enemy aliens”. Forced out of their homes and sent to the Texas desert, they secretly become a collective pawn by the government.
Forced to deal with Nazi wannabes and a romance that goes south, Lud changes in ways that are unforeseen and life-altering. When the war finally ends, he is not the young man he was previously, but those at the top remain the same.
We all know about the Japanese internment camps. Up until this book, I had no idea that German Americans were treated in the same manner. As the protagonist, Lud is a compelling character. But I could not get into the story.
Do I recommend it? No
American Brush-Off is available wherever books are sold.
Grace’s perspective changes when she meets and becomes friends with Lola Schnitzler. Lola is Jewish. Her job is to teach Grace how to speak German. What starts off as a business relationship turns into a friendship. The problem is that the official line from her husband’s superior is to remain neutral.
Dr. Ho changes his mind after the one-two punch of a pogrom and Kristallnacht. He is determined to save as many as he can. But with pressure coming from those above him and Nazi leadership, he has a decision to make. He can either stop what he is doing or listen to his conscious.
This book is amazing. Dr. Ho is listed among the Righteous Among the Nations and truly deserves it. He not only saved thousands of lives, but he also opened the door for the descendants of those who he saved to come into existence.
The narrative switches between the three main characters: Grace, Lola, and Dr. Ho. Though it is writing-wise, a difficult task, the author pulls it off flawlessly. As the tension ratchets up, the protagonist’s options become more dangerous. The question is, who will get out alive, and whose lives will be taken?
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Night Angels: A Novel is available wherever books are sold.