Great book, but I was a little mislead by the title. I expected the ENTIRE book to be about how Denis Avey broke into Auschwitz and the tale of his experiences there; turns out it’s just a small part of his story and did not happen until almost half way through.
But that’s not a criticism; the story of his life was very interesting! The first half of the book recounts his time fighting in Libya and Egypt, his harrowing POW experiences, how he escapes a ship that was torpedoed in the Mediterranean, and how he ultimately found himself in a work camp in Poland - E715, near Auschwitz III. That’s were he meets the man with whom he will switch places on two occasions - ‘breaking in’ to Auschwitz.
Although his stay in Auschwitz was very brief, what impressed me the most was his drive and determination to do it – to be a witness and see things for himself. Amazing. His account was compelling, but honestly so is every survivor’s telling of their horrific concentration camp experiences.
I found myself more interested in his after-war life and how his story became public only about 60 years later. The search for people he knew during the war leads to the telling of the life story of Ernst/Ernie, a man he met in the camp and for whom he procured cigarettes. Turns out, those cigarettes saved Ernst’s life… I won’t get into the details of how, you have to read the book for that, but it felt like a great full-circle.
Although I found this book really interesting, “Mindless Eating” remains at the top of my Food-Book heap; that book was great!
No one will argue that being informed on the topic of healthy eating won’t help you make better choices. Being educated on the subject and recognising just how much and how often you are being manipulated will benefit you – but the bottom line for me is: it’s all about the choices you make.
No matter how clever (or sneaky) “The Industry” is, no matter how good the marketing is, YOU are responsible for what you put in your mouth. If you reach for the chips instead of the apple…. well….
I don’t have a lot of sympathy for adults, making healthy choices is a challenge! I get it! - but just because it’s difficult should you just give up? I have a hard time believing that people are that clueless and don’t understand that broccoli as a side dish is a better choice than tatter tots or that a walk to the corner store is better than driving. You may not like it, you may not do it, but you KNOW it and if you are struggling with your weight it can’t be a mystery.
When it comes to kids however, then it all seems a little more insidious to me. Saturday morning cartoon advertizing sugary foods, vending machines selling junk in schools… easy to tell an adult to control themselves and learn more about what they are doing, but the kids are at the mercy of the adults. To quote the author: they are caught in the middle; they don’t have the ability to self regulate.
If mom says dinner is a plate of chicken nuggets… what’s a kid to do? (I’m not talking about the occasional treat – I mean 3 times a week on a regular basis). I said earlier that I have a hard time believing people are that clueless when it comes to food, but maybe these kids who are not being fed properly from the start are growing up into clueless adults!! I hope not. If that is the case, then I would agree the “The Industry” could help in lots of ways.
Dear Lord! You hear stories about bumbling cops and botched investigations where incompetence is rife and egos rule the roost… but on some level you hope (pray!) it’s all an exaggeration. I guess clichés exist for a reason.
The book itself lost me through some passages, after a while I started losing track of who said what to whom - but what remains is a truly sad story on many levels.
I admire how John Walsh come through it all and became a trail blazer in a field that needed someone like him to come around. On some level, you can say Adam didn’t die in vain.
(p.s.: I miss AMW!)
I liked it better than Book 1 (The Kommandant's Girl), but I still could not help picking it apart.
I can’t say it was completely predictable, but I wasn’t surprised by any of the multitude of plot twists. Sure they were exciting, but I didn’t consider any of them gripping; to me the whole book felt like a string of contrived scenarios rather than edge-of-your-seat suspenseful drama.
Nevertheless the story was fast-paced and interesting; I’d recommend it as a fun distraction.
Overall the story is a good one, but I still had trouble with a lot of it.
My biggest issue is that I just didn’t buy the chemistry between the Kommandant and his Girl, and since that’s the entire point of the book it made it hard to get into. I had to suspend my disbelief and just take her word for it that she was “hot for the Nazi” as opposed to really sensing her dilemma.
I also found the ending too contrived; I don’t want to give it away, but suffice it to say it was all a little too neat.
Nevertheless I was interested in the characters enough to get the sequel (The Diplomat’s Wife), and I am starting it right away.
I love this series! The more episodes I read, the more I want to read; I am glad there are many more instalments ahead.
This one had me rolling my eyes on multiple occasions because it was a little heavy on the lucky coincidences, but so what – I still enjoyed it.
On to book 7!
The more instalments I read, the more I love Molly and her escapades!
On to book 6!
How many books like this have I read? They are always good. Human resilience is amazing… and sadly, so is cruelty.
This recollection of suffering and surviving through hard times was just as riveting as the others, and therefore another must-read.
…all the pondering!! It’s a bit much and can become rather tedious at times.
Aside from that one and only complaint, I’m having a great time working my way through the series; so glad I came across it! On to Book 5!
It’s hard to criticize the content of someone’s personal recollections of what they experienced in harrowing times. It's interesting, I'm interested.
I think these things are important to learn about and remember. In some itsy bitsy way it’s giving meaning to their lives.
The narration of this audiobook however was so poor that sadly it’s about all I am taking away from it. Monotone, staccato, no emotion, unvarying in pitch, no intonation, mechanical… such a shame; it ruined the book for me.
Yet again Sawyer hits ANOTHER home run!
What a great story! I just loved it – glued to the developments and did not want to put it down.
I expected nothing less from this author; terrific!
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