‘Sons and Soldiers,’ by Bruce Henderson
SONS AND SOLDIERS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE JEWS WHO ESCAPED THE NAZIS AND RETURNED WITH THE U.S. ARMY TO FIGHT HITLER
By Bruce Henderson
William Morrow, 448 pages, $28.99
As the Nazi noose pulled ever
tighter in Germany, many Jewish families prioritized sending their eldest sons to freedom. A few years later, some of these sons – inspired by both patriotism and the desire for revenge – embraced assignments in U.S. Army intelligence, where their knowledge of German language and culture proved invaluable.
Bruce Henderson’s unfailingly admiring “Sons and Soldiers” pays homage to their achievements. His sources include a handful of these so-called Ritchie Boys, as well as their descendants, their memoirs and a documentary about them. At times, his narrative — simply written for a general audience — achieves a rare intimacy, putting readers in foxholes and interrogation rooms.
Henderson divides his story into three sections. The first describes his protagonists’ early lives and their escapes from Nazi Germany. The second details their U.S. military careers, focusing on their resourceful, occasionally quasi-comic efforts to pry vital information from captured German soldiers. The final, briefest section covers the war’s aftermath, including the men’s
Ritchie Boy Fred Howard.