Author(s): Bruce Henderson
Military | No Category
The story of young German Jews who escaped the Nazis, most often without their families, only to return a few years later to war-torn Europe as members of an elite secret U.S. Army unit. The young men who would become known as "The Ritchie Boys" arrived in America as "enemy aliens," and although they were allowed to enlist in the U.S. military, they were distrusted by everyone. So, in effect, they became outsiders all over again. Until one day in 1942, when the Pentagon woke up to the incredible asset they had on their hands. These men knew the language, culture and psychology of the enemy better than any Americans and had the greatest motivation to fight Hitler's anti-Semitic regime. The Pentagon came up with a top-secret plan to harness their expertise by training them in the art of prisoner interrogation. And so off they were sent, back into the belly of the beast, Jews returning to Nazi Germany to occupy the very front lines of battlefields across Europe. Many of them re-entered Europe on D-Day. Their mission, to extract vital intel from freshly-captured POWs about troop movements and command structures and so on, was hugely successful and provided key information that led to victory by the Allied forces. Meanwhile, few of these men knew what had happened to the families they left behind in Germany, families who had sacrificed to send them on to the safety of America. As the intelligence they gathered revealed increasingly horrific details about the Holocaust (most of which was only then beginning to come to light), they came to fear - and, in many cases, discovered - that the worst had befallen their own fathers and mothers and siblings.
Praise for Bruce Henderson: 'Bruce Henderson has told a wonderfully exciting story of one of war's greatest rescues with verve, style, and panache. I didn't even stop for coffee during my reading: it was so classically unputdownable' Simon Winchester Praise for Soldiers and Sons: 'Sons and Soldiers tells the remarkable story of how 2,000 German-born Jews were able to get the crucial intelligence that saved American lives and helped win World War II. ... The message of their courage and patriotism should not be lost in today's war on terrorism' Leon Panetta, Former Director of the CIA and Former Secretary of Defense 'A revelatory work about a group of Jewish men whose World War II journeys are so implausible and heroic it's difficult to understand why so few of us knew about them before now. A book of fear, flight and almost divine retribution' Steve Twomey, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Countdown to Pearl Harbor 'A first-rate account of one of the last, great untold stories of World War II' Steven P. Remy, author of The Malmedy Massacre 'A stellar addition to the literature of human survival and triumph' Colin Heaton, author of The German Aces Speak and The Star of Africa 'This coming-of-age saga is a story of patriotism and courage unlike any other from World War II. An unforgettable story and a great read, told in Bruce Henderson's poignant and powerful style' Bill Sloan, author of Their Backs Against the Sea 'Sons and Soldiers is the riveting - and long neglected - story of Jewish refugees from Nazi barbarism who fought an intensely personal war for America. Bruce Henderson has delivered a fast-paced and rich narrative' Douglas Waller, author of Disciples: The World War II Missions of the CIA Directors Who Fought for Wild Bill Donovan
Bruce Henderson is the author or coauthor of more than twenty nonfiction books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller And The Sea Will Tell, which was made into a highly-rated TV miniseries. General Colin Powell has called the Los Banos raid "a textbook operation for all ages and all armies." An award-winning journalist and author, Henderson is a member of the Authors Guild and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He has taught reporting and writing courses at USC School of Journalism and Stanford University.