Run Like Jager by Karen BassRun Like Jager by Karen Bass

Run Like Jager

byKaren Bass

Paperback | April 16, 2008

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about

Kurt's opa--or grandfather--has never been willing to talk about his time as a German soldier and Kurt has a deep feeling of anxiety about what he might have done during the war. He thinks of films he's seen, like Schindler's List, and hopes his grandfather couldn't have been involved in atrocities. Spending a year in Germany seems like a good chance to find out more, or at least to improve his German.

One day he visits the graveyard in the town he's living in (just outside Berlin) and an old man speaks to him, calling him by his grandfather's name, which was also Kurt Schreiber. In time Kurt gets to know this man, who is the only one who can tell him all about his grandfather's time in the war--because he was there.

Kurt learns about his grandfather's childhood in the Hitler Youth and his time in the German army on the Eastern Front. Herr Brandt doesn't try to minimize the horror of those times or to absolve himself of responsibility as a soldier, but through his story, Kurt comes to understand how as children and later as young men the two were drawn into participation in a war based on lies. This wonderfully written and carefully researched novel tells a story that illuminates history and fills in the texture and complexity that lie behind the bare facts.

Karen Bass has been interested in World War II since childhood. She began writing shortly after she was hired to manage a local library, and her stories and articles have been published in local newspapers, magazine and anthologies, and nationally in Writers Circle Nine and the Canadian Writer's Journal. Run Like Jäger is her first nov...
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Title:Run Like JagerFormat:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 7.31 × 4.79 × 0.72 inPublished:April 16, 2008Publisher:Coteau BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1550503774

ISBN - 13:9781550503777

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific first novel This excellent first novel is about a Canadian teen who delves into his German-born grandfather's Second World War secrets. Kurt Schreiber has quizzed his grandfather, also named Kurt Schreiber, about his Nazi past, but his questions have been met with stony silence. Kurt fears that his grandfather may have committed atrocities and this is why he refuses to speak. The teen has recurring nightmares and feels that he must get to the truth for his own peace of mind. The teen travels to Germany as an exchange student. Kurt chooses to study in Zethen, a town just outside of Berlin, where the elder Kurt was born. He is befriended by a local student named Marta and is bullied and taunted by another named Peter. Townspeople recognize Kurt's name and many remember his grandfather. Peter's bullying includes a taunt that Kurt is a coward just like his grandfather had been. Marta offers to help Kurt crack the mystery of his grandfather's past, and they go through old newspapers together at the library looking for clues. There is an article about an accident that provides more family names. When he visits the local cemetery in search of more clues, Kurt meets an elderly man who calls him by name. Herr Brandt was a close friend of Kurt's grandfather, and it seems the grandson bears an uncanny physical resemblance to his namesake. The teen is intrigued when he realizes that Herr Brandt and his grandfather were in the German army together and fought on the eastern front. Kurt senior's wartime past unfolds in vivid flashbacks through Herr Brandt's voice. Seamlessly interwoven with this compelling past story is a contemporary one of Kurt's growing affection for Marta, as well as an escalation of Peter's bullying. The past and present stories culminate in a page-turning ending. Karen Bass writes the day-to-day experiences of the grandfather as a youth with the kind of gripping detail that comes only from careful research. She shows the gradual progression of a regular teen propagandized into Nazi ideals, first as a member of the compulsory Hitler Youth, and then later as a Wehrmacht soldier. Disillusionment comes when the friends are stationed on the eastern front and witness brutality and kindness from both sides. The author unflinchingly reveals both Soviet and Nazi horrors. To her credit, Bass does not try to rationalize or explain away the evil that was Nazi Germany, yet she is able to provide much needed context. She shows there is no such thing as a good person or an evil person, but that all of us are capable of both courage and cowardice within certain circumstances. Run Like Jager is a superb novel that will appeal to parents and grandparents as well as teens. It could be used as a launching pad for a conversation that begins with, "What did you do during the war, Grandpa?"
Date published: 2008-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read! What a surprising twist on what I know about WWII. It felt like there should be sequel to this story. Many questions left unanswered in my mind. There is lots of material to write another "chapter" with. Very well written! Held me captive to the last page.
Date published: 2008-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AWESOME! I personally know the author and i cant wait to read her book!
Date published: 2008-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific Story!!! This is an exceptionally well written novel. It gave an unusual veiw of WWII, because some of it takes place from the perspective of a Nazi soldier. The characters are well, described, its almost as if they were real! All in all, this is a terrific book!
Date published: 2008-06-08