In the final months of World War II fourteen-year-old Alex, worried about the fate of his brother fighting in Europe, falls into the hands of two Nazi spies intent on sabotage.
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Chester Aaron lists his credentials as the following: mill-worker; boxer; combat infantryman; college student; x-ray technician; union organizer; civil rights activist; sheepherder; professor; farmer; writer. His time as a professor took place on the campus where the events that inspired his novels Whispers and Murder by Metaphor took place A native of western Pennsylvania, he served in the armored infantry in Europe from 1944-45 and advises he has been unarmed ever since. Mr. Aaron has managed to attract some small attention as a grower of and expert in the long-neglected field (which does not include his own) of garlic. When not winning awards for his writing, he has been known to appear on PBS and NPR to discuss the subject. He currently resides in the lovely Sonoma Valley near Occidental, California.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-8-- Even though 14-year-old Alex lives in a small Connecticut fishing town, thousands of miles from the fighting, World War II seems to permeate all aspects of everyday life. His parents work at the submarine base, and his beloved older brother is fighting the Germans. But the war really comes home to him when he and a friend find a body on the beach. When the boys learn that the dead man is probably one of a team of Nazi saboteurs, Alex is guilt stricken; he has allowed his impoverished friend to take the contents of the man's wallet, and then thrown the rest of the evidence away. While trying to own up to his mistake, Alex is caught by the other two Germans, and is blackmailed into helping them. The story is placed securely within its setting and era; the regularly interspersed radio reports are an effective device. Alex's emotional turmoil is extremely well described, and his motivations and actions are believable. Aaron is not afraid to portray a senile old woman, although Alex cleaning her up after her incontinence might seem a bit too good to believe of a boy that age. The plot, though, is awkward, unconvincing, and strained at times. The title turns out to be untrue--Alex is not instrumental in the capture of the saboteurs in any direct way. What does happen might be more realistic, but is not satisfying. It takes the decision out of Alex's hands, and prevents the character, and readers, from experiencing a pivotal moment of understanding. The book ends abruptly, and readers are given a tacked-on, impersonal afterword chock-full of facts that are either unnecessary or should have been included in the regular narrative. Alex is a good kid, but readers will be left wondering exacly what war he won. --Annette Curtis Klause, Montgomery County Department of Public Libraries, MD
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Walker & Co, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110802780989
Book Description Walker & Co, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0802780989