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Ordinary Heroes: A Novel | [Scott Turow]

Ordinary Heroes: A Novel

Stewart Dubinsky knew his father had served in World War II. And he'd been told how David Dubin (as his father had Americanized the name that Stewart later reclaimed) had rescued Stewart's mother from the horror of the Balingen concentration camp. But when he discovers, after his father's death, a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancee, and learns of his father's court-martial and imprisonment, he is plunged into the mystery of his family's secret history.
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Publisher's Summary

Stewart Dubinsky knew his father had served in World War II. And he'd been told how David Dubin (as his father had Americanized the name that Stewart later reclaimed) had rescued Stewart's mother from the horror of the Balingen concentration camp. But when he discovers, after his father's death, a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancee, and learns of his father's court-martial and imprisonment, he is plunged into the mystery of his family's secret history and driven to uncover the truth about this enigmatic, distant man who'd always refused to talk about his war.

As he pieces together his father's past through military archives, letters, and, finally, notes from a memoir his father wrote while in prison, secretly preserved by the officer who defended him, Stewart starts to assemble a dramatic and baffling chain of events. He learns how Dubin, a JAG lawyer attached to Patton's Third Army and desperate for combat experience, got more than he bargained for when he was ordered to arrest Robert Martin, a wayward OSS officer who, despite his spectacular bravery with the French Resistance, appeared to be acting on orders other than his commanders'. In pursuit of Martin, Dubin and his sergeant are parachuted into Bastogne just as the Battle of the Bulge reaches its apex. Pressed into the leadership of a desperately depleted rifle company, the men are forced to abandon their quest for Martin and his fiery, maddeningly elusive comrade, Gita, as they fight for their lives through carnage and chaos the likes of which Dubin could never have imagined.

In reconstructing the terrible events and agonizing choices his father faced on the battlefield, in the courtroom, and in love, Stewart gains a closer understanding of his past, of his father's character, and of the brutal nature of war itself.

©2005 Scott Turow; (P)2005 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[Turow has] set new standards for the genre, most notably in the depth and subtlety of his characterizations...the kind of reading pleasure that only the best novelists, genre or otherwise, can provide." (The New York Times)
"Turow makes the leap from courtroom to battlefield effortlessly." (Publishers Weekly)
"No one writes better mystery suspense novels than Scott Turow." (Los Angeles Times)
"Scott Turow not only knows what his readers want, he delivers just about perfectly...Turow is the closest we have to a Balzac of the fin de siecle professional class." (Chicago Tribune)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (747 )
5 star
 (310)
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3 star
 (108)
2 star
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Overall
4.2 (166 )
5 star
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (166 )
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 (86)
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Janet C. Walker Summerville, SC 11-18-05
    Janet C. Walker Summerville, SC 11-18-05 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    246
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    4
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    "Excellent"

    For someone who grew up in the fifties steeped in war movies just like the son of our heroes, this is a great read. I never could figure out why parents of that era seldom spoke of the events during the war. It was apparently quite horrible but fascinating at the same time. This one is well worth the book credit.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David N. Pevsner 11-28-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book, even better performance"

    Loved the book and loved the performance. I actually chose this book not because it was a Turow work, but because Edward Herrmann is my favorite reader and I thought it?d be a real pleasure to listen to his treatment of a novel. His nuanced performance of this work is typically flawless. I was frankly leery of a Turow book, having never been able to really get started with Laws of Our Fathers, which was disappointing after having loved Personal Injuries. This novel was a wonderful surprise. Though at first glance one might think it's just another war serial, Ordinary Heroes looks at the basics of human existence in a very unique way. I very much liked the dual first person narratives...quite inventive. It?s a great device that allows the author a very ?readable? vehicle for his take on how our own experiences shape our lives in often unexpected ways, as well as the lives of those far removed from the immediate events we?re living through. I suspect that I would not have enjoyed this book nearly as much had I tried to read it. The richness imparted to the work by having Herrmann bring the characters and scenes to life is not to be missed. All in all, Ordinary Heroes is one of those where the long march to the end is very satisfying, and yet when you get there it?s somewhat sad?having spent so much time with these terrific characters, it?s a shame to have to go our separate ways.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob V. 11-28-09
    Bob V. 11-28-09 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One genius magnifies another"

    I am a white-knuckle flyer who desperately needs a distraction while in the air, but who gets a headache when he tries to read. This gem of a book and its narration by a talented actor of the highest caliber gave me flight without fear. I got so engrossed in the story that the thunk of retracting/deploying landing gear, the bumps of clear air turbulence and the whine of revving engines faded into the background of my consciousness. After my arrival at the Thanksgiving gathering I probably did not spend as much time with my dear in-laws as I should have because I kept trekking back to the guest room to listen to what would happen next. I agree with those who appreciate Mr. Herrmann's voicings which for me required no more than the usual suspension of disbelief in my theater of the mind. Once this was accomplished the story flowed seamlessly from beginning to end. Mr. Herrmann has on occassion expressed his concern about being typecast as a comic actor. I can see why, for some of the scenes he portrayed caused me to laugh out loud (much to the consternation of those around me.) There was a contextual problem in voicing this book which made it almost impossible for the narrator to avoid giving away one of the surprises in advance, but it was more of an "Aha, I knew it!" than a spoiler. For me this audio was a bargain even at the premium price. I wish you all the happy and satisfying listening experience that I believe this audio will provide.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glen Glen Alen, VA, USA 11-29-05
    Glen Glen Alen, VA, USA 11-29-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Very Entertaining"

    A fantastic book. Believably and intelligently conveys the desperation of 1944-45. The romantic story is good and the story of Dubin's personal evaluation and eventual awareness is great. The supporting characters are familiar without feeling clich?. Edward Herman's narration is superb. Definitely well done.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walter York, PA, USA 11-28-05
    Walter York, PA, USA 11-28-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    15
    1
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    "Awesome!"

    This books is so well written and suspenseful. I have been an audible listener for a long time and this is the first book I found worthy of a full 5 stars. I particularly like this book because I am a WWII buff. Great book!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerry South Russell, OH, USA 11-18-05
    Gerry South Russell, OH, USA 11-18-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ordinary Heroes"

    13 great hours of listening enjoyment. The story is well told, the characters unigue and the feelings are real. The death camp chapter should be manatory reading for all in favor of war as a solution to our problems. Robert Martin should be the lead in a great adventure movie, a better James Bond then James Bond. I wasn't a Scott Turdow fan but this book makes me a #1 fan.

    16 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Singin' Again 04-17-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A True Winner"

    I almost didn't listen to this book. Something about the way it started made me think I had just made a bad choice. I couldn't have been more wrong and am so glad I returned to listen. First, the book provides a wonderful way to learn about WWII and the Battle of the Bulge in whih I had always been interested since I had an uncle captured in that battle. Somehow, beyond my college course in World History, I had never made it back to really read and understand that pivotal battle. This book provides a clear view of the horrors of that battle and that war woven into an excellent account of the historical facts of the Allies' travail after Normandy. What is so neat is that this is all set in the entertaining and captivating intrigue of a mystery and love story, both of which will keep you guessing to the last page. The author really outdid himself on this one providing a banquet for the reader that includes insights into complex human relationships, social inequality, issues of honor and integrity, historical events, mystery, sacrifice for true love and a world that would be forever changed by the second global war. Rich and resounding, it is a must read for practically everyone.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie San Jose, CA, USA 12-19-05
    Debbie San Jose, CA, USA 12-19-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More than Ordinary"

    I found this book a very rewarding listen. The story is totally believable, full of drama and passion. It brings living in wartime to life. One of the best books I have heard or read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gloria Guard Philly 12-18-05
    Gloria Guard Philly 12-18-05 Member Since 2003

    Gloria

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprising for Turow"

    Despite the description, I expected a typical Turow fast paced thriller and I was instead drawn into an intense WWII experience, through the eyes of the writer's father. This novel moved quickly, with smooth transitions between then and now, and kept my interest as well as being very touching.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Mcafee Texas USA 04-16-08
    Daniel Mcafee Texas USA 04-16-08 Member Since 2005

    danmc

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Good Listen!"

    Overall, this is a very good book, I think enjoyable for both war buffs and non-war buffs.

    The characters are well developed and the story is very interesting.

    Some reviews indicate it's just another take on Saving Private Ryan and other WWII stories, but I didn't see it that way at all.

    Yes, it covers many of the same historical events, D-Day, Battle of the Bulge, etc, but it has its own story lines.

    The book is can't put down more often than not, but it does drag on during a couple parts (mostly with the lead female character, Gita). The only other thing that kept me from giving it a 5-star rating was the narrators reading of Gita. He was terrific other than his female french accent, which sounded more like an 80 year old Israeli man accent and was quite annoying and whiny at times.

    Overall Highly Recommended!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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