The Nine: The True Story of a Band of Women Who Survived the Worst of Nazi Germany

St. Martin’s Press. May 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781250239297. $28.99. HIST
With this work of nonfiction, poet and author Strauss tells the story of a group of nine French Resistance prisoners, all women, who escaped the Nazis during a death march from a sub-camp of the Buchenwald concentration camp. The women come from different classes, backgrounds, and nationalities, yet their differences help them overcome the challenges they face in captivity and throughout their escape. Strauss recounts the women’s varied experiences: famished, freezing, and facing the daunting tasks of walking through Nazi Germany, crossing active battle lines, and finding friendly Allied troops. The women desperately want to return to France, family, and freedom, and they must use charm, wit, and their few resources to reach safety. Strauss, a great-niece of one of the nine women, weaves together her great-aunt’s story with stories of the other eight remarkable young women through research, interviews, and historical first-person accounts. She reflects on the impact of these women’s sacrifices on subsequent generations, and on the lack of political recognition given to womenresistance fighters in World War II. Photographs of the women both before and after the war help to add context.
VERDICT A fast-paced account that is strongly recommended for lovers of action-oriented narrative nonfiction, and for women’s history collections.
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