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Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.

Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#1 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 07 Aug 2017, 14:04

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The War Within, the Story of Josef" by Patricia Walkow.]

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4 out of 4 stars
Review by greenstripedgiraffe
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So much of my first knowledge of World War II centered on Hitler and the "Jewish problem." Stories of concentration camps and ghettos struck horror in my heart. I have never been able to understand how one people group could be so cruel to another people group. However, the more I have read, the more I have understood that Jews were not the only nationality to suffer at the hands of the Nazis. (I say "Nazis" in particular, as not all Germans were "Nazis" and not all "Nazis" were Germans.) One of the goals for the Nazis was to provide "lebensraum," or "living space" for the Germans, i.e., they invaded other countries and forced allegiance! Poland was one such country to be invaded by Germany.

The War Within—The Story of Josef by Patricia Walkow tells the true story of Joseph Walkow, a Polish teenager who was taken from his home by the Nazis, brought to Germany, and made into a slave laborer. Polish slaves were made to live in barracks and were farmed out as cheap laborers. They were not allowed to fraternize with Germans. They were given only starvation rations. They were killed for any slight reason, even so small as falling ill and being unable to work for a time. Through a somewhat freak accident, Josef's leg was injured. With no proper medical care allowed, gangrene set in, and Josef was in danger of dying. To the surprise of everyone involved, a German named Willie smuggled Josef to a doctor who amputated Josef's leg. To allow Josef to properly recover, Willie convinced the doctor to release Josef to Willie's care.

Willie's actions shocked Josef and terrified Willie's mother, Sonya. Would any of them survive the risks? Having a Pole in your house could mean loss of rations, imprisonment, even death. The War Within depicts the emotional trauma experienced by all the characters. Can Josef learn to trust others? Can Sonya learn to respect a Pole? What is Josef to do when he falls in love with Ella, a German? Even speaking to her would bring severe consequences.

I enjoyed The War Within on many levels. Although this is technically non-fiction, the writing style drew me in from the start. I loved getting to know the characters. The author allows you to see character transformations from fear to acceptance, from distrust to respect. Each character faces his or her own emotional battles and has to learn how to cope and even move on. I found the author's pace to be perfect. Events unfold naturally without being overly dramatic or forced. Even the significant amount of introspection did not slow the momentum, in my opinion. Although I was saddened to learn more about crimes the Nazis committed against humanity, I found it fascinating to get a peek into the interaction between two families that were technically enemies.

I am glad to rate this book a 4 out of 4 stars. Written in an engaging style, this book should be read by people of all belief systems. So many times we get caught up in conflicting philosophies, different skin colors, and other divisive issues, but as the author of The War Within wrote: "heart to heart, are there any enemies?" Although I feel this book overall has a wide appeal, it may not appeal to young readers, due to the subject matter.

******
The War Within, the Story of Josef
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#2 by kandscreeley
» 08 Aug 2017, 07:51

I do enjoy books discussing this era. This sounds like one I should really pick up. I have to be in the right mood to read about it, though. Like you, I can't understand how the Nazis did this to anyone - Jewish or otherwise. Thanks for the great review.
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#3 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 08 Aug 2017, 08:02

kandscreeley wrote:I do enjoy books discussing this era. This sounds like one I should really pick up. I have to be in the right mood to read about it, though. Like you, I can't understand how the Nazis did this to anyone - Jewish or otherwise. Thanks for the great review.


The compelling reason to read this book is hope—hope in the kindness of others during a dark period of the world's history. I hope you pick it up and read it :)
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#4 by Darakhshan Nazir
» 08 Aug 2017, 12:05

Book seems wow . Thank you for such a nice review
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#5 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 08 Aug 2017, 12:11

Darakhshan Nazir wrote:Book seems wow . Thank you for such a nice review


Thank you for reading my review and your kind comments!
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#6 by Dolphine
» 08 Aug 2017, 20:11

Thanks for the review,should add the book to my shelves.
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#7 by LadyClaire
» 09 Aug 2017, 00:09

It's invigorating to revisit the World War II through the eyes of much developed characters. Thanks for the review, Green.
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#8 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 09 Aug 2017, 09:44

Dolphine wrote:Thanks for the review,should add the book to my shelves.


Thank you! I hope that you have a chance to read this one! :D

-- 09 Aug 2017, 09:45 --

LadyClaire wrote:It's invigorating to revisit the World War II through the eyes of much developed characters. Thanks for the review, Green.


Thank you for your kind comments! Yes, I felt like I was transported through time.
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#9 by Mtsweni Nelsy
» 09 Aug 2017, 10:04

I didn't do much history in school and was never much interested in it, but by just reading your review, I feel drawn into learning morevabout the past World Wars and other historic events.

Nice Review, greenstripedgiraffe, and thanks for it.
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#10 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 09 Aug 2017, 10:34

Mtsweni Nelsy wrote:I didn't do much history in school and was never much interested in it, but by just reading your review, I feel drawn into learning morevabout the past World Wars and other historic events.

Nice Review, greenstripedgiraffe, and thanks for it.


Thank you! That is one of the best compliments I have ever been given! :oops2: I have a passion for history. It is not just dull dates and hard to pronounce names. There is a lot to learn from people who have lived in the past!
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#11 by Jem Tomarong
» 09 Aug 2017, 20:58

Every time I heard about Jewish people, even if it is only a story, it seems captivating to my eyes. Hitlers really wanted to annihilate all the Jews yet Jews are protected. Thanks for your review. Great job.
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#12 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 10 Aug 2017, 08:37

Jem Tomarong wrote:Every time I heard about Jewish people, even if it is only a story, it seems captivating to my eyes. Hitlers really wanted to annihilate all the Jews yet Jews are protected. Thanks for your review. Great job.


Thank you for your comments!
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#13 by KlareAllison
» 10 Aug 2017, 20:27

Books on Nazi Germany always have a way of unsettling me emotionally. Willie's kindness to Josef in the midst of sanctioned man's inhumanity to fellow man is remarkable. The fact that Willie takes the risk and gives care to Josef, who technically, does not have a right to life, makes the book a compelling read. Impressive review, congrats, Greenstripedgiraffe.
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#14 by greenstripedgiraffe
» 11 Aug 2017, 08:18

KlareAllison wrote:Books on Nazi Germany always have a way of unsettling me emotionally. Willie's kindness to Josef in the midst of sanctioned man's inhumanity to fellow man is remarkable. The fact that Willie takes the risk and gives care to Josef, who technically, does not have a right to life, makes the book a compelling read. Impressive review, congrats, Greenstripedgiraffe.


Thank you for your kind comments!! This story, though simply told, should be read, should be shouted, should be made into a movie!
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Re: Official Review: The War Within, the Story of Josef

Post Number:#15 by Jaime Lync
» 11 Aug 2017, 12:25

Great review! I wanted to review this book myself but I waited too long to pick it. Good to know you enjoyed it.
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