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post written by Esther Filbrun

Resist by Emily Ann PutzkeTitle: Resist
Emily Ann Putzke
Major Themes: World War II, Resistance, Germany
A fascinating story about a man who led a small resistance group in Germany during the Second World War.

A few months ago, I came across Emily Ann Putzke’s blog, and also heard about her up-coming book, Resist. Later, after following her blog for a while, I signed up to be an advanced reader when she was asking for volunteers. I found the story to be very interesting, and well-written.

Hans Scholl never meant to directly go against his country and government, but as World War II comes into full swing and he sees the destruction and horror that Hitler is inflicting on his countrymen and conquered enemies, he has no choice but to speak up. Along with another close friend, he decides to start an anonymous leaflet—The White Rose. He knows the risk—the death penalty if he is caught—but the urge to do something, anything, in order to bring people to the light cannot be stopped. Then his sister finds out what is going on, and he must find a way to spread the leaflets further—beyond just German cities into adjacent countries and eventually all of Europe. How can he do this with just three people? What will happen when he is caught? Will his hard work, dreams, future and life be wasted on the deaf ears of his fellow countrymen?

Here are a couple quotes I liked:

“It was a crime to have a conscience. It was a crime to feel an ache in your heart for humans being tortured and starved to death.”

“How can anyone respect us when we don’t respect human life?”

I loved Resist. There were also some things I really didn’t like about the book. It’s definitely a young adult read—not for children or young teens. I’d say 16 and older probably, because of some of the content. (It’s quite graphic and potentially disturbing at times.)

The main things I didn’t appreciate:

  • The amount of swearing in the book (for example, “hell” being used in a dirty way—although that’s not the only word used), and the fact that the characters took God’s name in vain at multiple times. I especially didn’t like the latter part, because the characters claimed to be Christians—it seemed inconsistent with their Christianity. I was not able to keep track of all the places where words I don’t appreciate were used.
  • There are multiple instances where the German brutality was described. The chapters titled “Eickenmeyer”, “Poland”, “Miriam”, “To Russia”, “The Prisoner”, “I Scorn the Fatherland”, and the Epilogue are ones that I marked as being especially graphic—although I’m pretty sure I didn’t mark everything.
  • The Catholic church is mentioned a couple times; at one place he attends mass, and is thinking about becoming Catholic, and later a character becomes Catholic right before he dies.
  • There are several instances of social drinking—one time Hans got quite drunk, and smoking is also mentioned multiple times. Both are presented as if they’re acceptable behavior, which I disagree with.

Overall, the story in Resist was well written and gripping—especially toward the end. I’d never heard of Hans Scholl or his friends before, to my knowledge, and there was obviously a lot of work that went into researching and writing an accurate story. As far as I know, everyone in the story were real people—and being able to bring them to life like this takes talent. This book has great historical value. Even with all the things I didn’t agree with, I think this would still be a book I’d want to have on my shelf (although I might mark out all the words I don’t appreciate).

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

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