The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb.
The Nazi Hunters tells the story of how, in Argentina in May, 1960, a crack Israeli spy team captured the infamous Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi war criminal responsible for the deaths of millions of Jews and other people during World War II, and took him back to Israel to stand trial for war crimes. The story could have been an exciting and thought-provoking read, but unfortunately the pacing of the story was uneven and off-putting. I never got to know the members of the Israeli team well enough to remember which was which, and the author was unwilling or probably unable to help to understand the mind and motives of Eichmann and his family members either. This book is adapted from Bascomb’s adult nonfiction book, Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World’s Most Notorious Nazi. Maybe more somehow would have been better, and I would have developed an interest in these characters by reading the adult version.I don’t think teens will be intrigued by this YA abridgment, and I’d point anyone who was interested in another direction.
Wild Animal Neighbors: Sharing Our Urban World by Ann Downer.
The author focuses on various animals, one per chapter, that have adapted to living in urban areas and tell the story of how they have managed to co-exist with humans in cities –or not. The animals Ms Downer highlights are: bears, raccoons, mountain lions, crows, coyotes, flying foxes, turtles, and alligators. The alligator chapter interested me the most because the gators in question live and sometimes stroll down the sidewalks in Houston where I live. However, her diagnosis of the “alligator problem” seems inadequate: “For the residents of Houston, the best weapon against gators may prove to be greater understanding and appreciation of these amazing creatures—and a lot of caution and common sense.” Really? I can agree with the “caution and common sense” part, but I plan to follow the Pearland (suburb of Houston) Parks and Recreation Department instructions: “Don’t tease the gators, don’t feed the gators, and if you hear an alligator hiss, you’re too close.” My appreciation for alligators, and other wild animals in cities, will be strictly photographic in nature, thank you. Other people’s photographs.
Code Name Pauline: Memoirs of a World War II Special Agent by Pearl Witherington Cornioley.
If one were researching the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) and/or the French Resistance during World War II, this memoir would certainly be a helpful resource. However, just for reading, it’s a little dry, and the author leaves out key transitions and information that would make her story more understandable. There’s an odd sort of summary at the beginning of each chapter, and then the chapter itself backtracks in time and fills in more detail for each episode in the life of this intrepid heroine. Fans of Code Name Verity might enjoy reading about a real WWII agent and comparing her adventures to the fictional ones. I just wish someone else had written and organized the story of Ms. Cornioley’s life as a resistance fighter to make it more coherent and more evocative of the spirt of the times.