Official Review: Beware the Wolves by Victor Moss

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Official Review: Beware the Wolves by Victor Moss

Post by kislany » 07 Mar 2018, 12:14

[Following is an official review of "Beware the Wolves" by Victor Moss.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Beware the Wolves by Victor Moss is a fictionalized account of his parents’ survival during WWII in Russia. The story starts with Captain Vladimir Moskalkov looking at a burned-down village. During the war, it was one of Stalin’s decrees that residents evacuate and burn their villages to avoid them being captured and used as bases by the advancing Germans.

Vladimir was not only a captain but also a medic, so his first duty was always to the wounded and the sick. Finding medicine was an ongoing struggle during the war when medical supplied were as scarce as bread itself.

Disobeying a direct order from his superior, Vladimir, with a few comrades, sneaked out to search the destroyed village for supplies. He was lucky, as he found some much-needed medicine, but his act of defiance angered the Colonel who, out of spite, sent him to the battlefield, in the direct line of fire, to care for the injured.

And so starts Vladimir’s real journey during the gruesome and merciless war. Sometimes the story would switch to the past where the author described how Vladimir met Vladyslava, a fellow medical student, who would become his wife. Some chapters were also told from Slava’s point of view, allowing us to experience her own struggles during the war while waiting for the return of her husband.

The story is compelling, and while I have read countless WWII fiction and non-fiction books over the years (I was born in Eastern Europe, so this topic is quite close to me), I thoroughly enjoyed reading Beware the Wolves. It often reads like an action-packed war novel, although you are never allowed to forget that the war was real and you were reading about the lives of two real people deeply affected by it. I found it quite hard to read about Vladimir’s capture by the Germans, his long march to one of the Nazi concentration camps, and his life under terrible conditions at the camp. This part was really heartwrenching.

At times, I was amazed by the atrocities humans could inflict on their own race. But then I remembered that these things indeed happened. Some people, under the right conditions, can become true monsters.

While the end of the book reads almost like a fairy tale, I kept thinking of the millions of others whose fates were sealed by enemy bullets or later at the Nazi camps. Not everyone was as lucky as the Russian couple who, eventually, managed to immigrate to the US, which is where their son, the author, was born.

I found the story difficult to put down once I started reading it. The characters felt real with all the sorrow, pain, and moments of happiness they felt during the war. My only complaint would be about the ending. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the ending, but I found it slightly rushed. While the rest of the book went into painstaking details about the day-to-day lives of Vladimir, and to a lesser degree, Slava, the end wrapped the story quite fast. I am assuming that we will get to learn what happened with the couple in the second book which picks up their adventure right where Beware the Wolves ends.

The book was properly edited and was, generally, well written. I found only a few grammatical and punctuation errors, such as “Tanya, is a Feldsher” where there should be no comma, and some missing periods at the end of a few sentences. Therefore, I give Beware the Wolves 4 out of 4 stars and recommend it to anyone who loves reading historical fiction and non-fiction books, especially those focusing on WWII.

Beware the Wolves
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Post by ayoomisope » 08 Mar 2018, 02:51

Love your review. I've gotten the opportunity to read a few books on the accounts of real people during the war here on OBC. I agree the pain and trauma can feel so real while reading these stories. I would love to read a Russian's account though -- a new perspective.
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Post by KFree_Reads » 08 Mar 2018, 07:58

I really like the sound of this one. I'll definitely give it a try. Thanks for your thorough review!

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Post by kandscreeley » 08 Mar 2018, 08:26

Wow! This one sounds like something I would really enjoy. The author sounds like he has a great deal of strength for having survived something so horrendous. It's never easy reading about someone's life during war time, but I think it's our duty to never forget. Thanks for the great review.
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Post by rik17 » 09 Mar 2018, 02:22

I always get attracted towards books that tend to present personal emotions within situations that are very real. Thanks for the closely observed review!

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Post by Yolimari » 09 Mar 2018, 02:38

This story sounds like one I would really enjoy reading since I love history. The Nazis were terrible but so were the Soviets. People do not know that or forget because the emphasis in school and college is on the Nazis. Thanks for the review!
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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 09 Mar 2018, 21:03

Niceeeeee! I like the depiction of reality even through a non fiction book and it seem this one has hit right. Definitely in my book list besides I have a knack for reading WW2 stories. Thank you for your detailed review!
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Post by NL Hartje » 10 Mar 2018, 01:35

I have recently read three Vietnam War era books and was surprisingly interested in each. Your review leads me to believe I might enjoy the WWII era as well. Thanks so much!
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Post by Miriam Molina » 10 Mar 2018, 03:56

Hi, Kislany! So your review repertoire now includes wars (aside from dragons, of course).

Vladimir, Vladyslava, and Victor all speak Russian to me. The Germans have brutalized many races. And the US has been a safe haven for many victims (Is this still the reality these days?).

I wonder which parts of the story are fiction. I also wonder who the wolves are now.

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