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This is a challenging and though provoking book, based on the Nazi run Lebensborn programme. Where Aryan women were used basically as breeding units for top nazi soldiers to provide as many children as they could for the Ayran race.
Max is born on April 20, 1936, making him the first baby to roll off the production line. He is also the narrator of this story which covers not just the Lebensborn program but also the abduction and “germanification” of suitably Ayran children from other countries and the lives of ordinary Germans as the war drew to a close. Real people and events are woven into the story.
Max is a lively narrator who is initially very euphoric about all things Nazi and who can’t wait to grow up and fight for the Fatherland. While he never knows his mother, he understands that she was selected and rigorously examined to ensure that she was a perfect Ayran specimen. He is indoctrinated in all things Nazi from infancy and therefore is very matter of fact about the abduction of Polish children – in his eyes they are lucky to be receiving a German upbringing. However things become murkier when he befriends Lukas, a blonde and blue eyed Pole who is secretly Jewish. Gradually his enthusiasm will wane and his disenchantment will grow over the course of the war.
This is also a historical read and you must remember or gain some knowledge as to the time 1936- 1945 which they are writing about, when these ideas and ideals where strongly held beliefs.
What a beautiful book, one of the best I have read. Anna is a very likeable character and the Swallow Man is a delight, they are both alone and afraid but together discover a way to cope with the terrible things are that going on around them in WWII. The synopsis says
An Extraordinary new wartime story that will captivate readers young and old. Meet Anna. Meet the Swallow Man. And follow their incredible journey together.
This is exactly what happens by reading this book you are taken on a journey which is thoroughly new and enjoyable.
Really liked the look (and back cover read) of this – but probably more for an adult audience than school students?
Epistolic (in letter form) prose that goes to and fro in time and place may confuse the less confident or mature reader.
Reminded me a little of the Bridges of Madison County in terms of content – well written with a reasonably complex structure.