Reading for a Lifetime Together

The Boy Who Dared By Susan Campbell Bartoletti
April 11, 2012, 3:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Matthew Stehnach

The Boy Who Dared is historical novel based on a real person named Helmut Hübener, the youngest person to be sentenced to death during World War II. Although most of the story is told through flashbacks, which can be confusing at times, the book still gets its point across and shows the difficulty of living in Germany during World War II. Helmut is in a Berlin jail during this time as he is charged with treason and now awaits his execution.

The book begins with memories of him as a young boy growing up with his family, and dreaming to become a soldier  and fight for Germany. However this changes when he grows up, Helmuth becomes a well educated man and is very opinionated about the Nazi government when he sees a close friend of his mercilessly murdered by Nazis. He does not understand why other Germans do not oppose such violent acts. Helmuth thinks that if no one else in Germany will stand up against this, then he will. Helmuth begins to listen to forbidden enemy radio broadcasts, using these radio broadcasts he gathers information and uses an old type writer he hands out flyers of the news denouncing Hitler in his town. A fellow apprentice of Helmuth’s turns him in to the Gestapo later, where Helmuth is arrested, beaten, and tortured.

Bartoletti’s portrayal of Helmut Hübener’s life is at once educational, entertaining, and sobering. It presents a view of Germany from the inside, from a teenager who grows up watching the horrible drama of the Third Reich unfold. Overall, I give this book a four, as there is only so much knowledge you can learn about World War II and Hitler, eventually these types of books become slightly bland. However this is the first book I have read where it is about a non Jew who grows up in Germany and their views on Hitler.


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